Nashville moseys on over to More4 tonight and while it may not be getting much fanfare, this is a show that not only should be on your radar, but already planned in your weekly watching schedule.

While a drama following the trials and tribulations of a pair of country music stars might sound like something so alien it might as well be in runes, Nashville has one thing in absolute spades. Fun.

Nashville sees a pair of country music singers battling it out for domination of the charts. One, Rayna James is a certified legend in the scene, but is now struggling to sell albums thanks to the new wave of country music being spear headed by Juliette Barnes, an autotuned starlet who’s more likely to use a set on lingerie to sell records than she is to pick up a banjo.

It’s a story that’s been around so many times that it’s even getting tired of its own shadow, but with Nashville, it’s coat of paint is so shiny and bright that you really can’t see the mileage.

The dialogue is spunky, clever and lively throughout and the mixture between melodrama, toe-tapping country numbers and the odd comedic flourish. That is shares more than a passing resemblance to Revenge at some points makes Nashville all the more enjoyable.

It’s all brought to life by the performances at its core though. There’s a reason why both Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere are both nominated for Golden Globes, because both give fantastic performances as the Yin and Yang of the country music world.

While we almost expect Connie Britton to be fantastic after her brilliant performances in Friday Night Lights, she’s still an utter delight as fading star Rayna James, bringing a character that would have been so easy to make a tired cliché into a warm and often hilarious character. Making her the centre of a show for once was a decision that pays back tenfold.

It’s Hayden Panettiere that’s really shocked us though, as she shines as the ultra-bitchy Juliette Barnes. Leaving her Heroes cheerleader persona behind (thank goodness), she’s utterly unrecognisable in this new guise.

It all builds up to a fantastic overall package, making this tale of a fading star trying to stay relevant almost single handed compelling viewing and makes it just one more of the great American imports that Channel 4’s brining over.


Nashville starts tonight at 10pm on More4.

FemaleFirst Cameron Smith

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