ABC's Nashville premiere was no Dallas

ABC's Nashville premiere was no Dallas

If that old '70s soap Dallas stuck one of its oil rigs deep inside Dolly Parton and knocked the Queen of Country up, their lovechild would be Nashville! - Perez Hilton

Uh, yeah. In case you didn't catch last night's premiere of the much-touted new ABC series Nashville, know this: It was nowhere near as cool as this fantasy of a Ewing-rig Dolly insemination. And importantly, no one got shot, there was no dream sequence, the hour-ending cliffhanger was, I dunno, more of a dune-dangler, and besides, y'all, BARBARA BEL GEDDES IS DEAD!

Nonetheless, critics are gushing over the show, as critics are wont to do when they don't really have much else to say about something. And so, we have a whole lot of tagline-worthy takes on the premiere. "Must-see." "Best new drama."

Nashville's premiere grasps for a hook faster than a hungry catfish, and it obviously saw its first hook in the setting itself. The episode kicks off at the Opry -- the voice of Eddie Stubbs is even there! -- and with production assistance from Gaylord Entertainment and an executive producer in Gaylord exec Steve Buchanan, it comes as little surprise that the show doubles as heavy-handed tourism ad for Music City, U.S.A. There's the requisite singin' waitress at the Bluebird (but it's not Samantha Mathis). And oh look, there's the Loveless Cafe... And when leading woman Connie Britton is exasperated at the end of a long day, she asks her guitar player/ex-lover to join her at Tootsie's for a drink, as if anyone but tourists and bachelorette parties hang out at Tootsie's.

And in case that hook don't stick, here's another easy one: Women are feral alleycats who will claw each other's eyes out in pursuit of success and men, mostly because they're jealous and they're haters. Oh, and women over 40 are washed up.

Before the episode even rolls its opening credits, about nine minutes in, this whole scene pitting hot up-and-comer Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) against yesterday's news Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) has played itself out, and we're delivered this bottom line that will, I guess, carry the show until it's canceled in three weeks or until its seventh season and twenty years of syndication, or until who knows. No need for character development, no use for any background. Nope. Women are feral alleycats, and women over 40 are washed up. Tale as old as time.

And as for the music? This ain't no Glee; in this show about catty women, music largely fades into the background. Let's hope in future episodes it plays a more integral role -- maybe some more cameos by musicians who can (or even better, can't) act. I'm envisioning... Moe Bandy. And Mel Tillis. But for now, perhaps in an attempt to blend seamlessly into the narrative and appear true-to-crappy-pop-country form, the music falls a little flat, though there's a brief show-stopper in a song sung by that Bluebird waitress who is not Samantha Mathis, which was in real life recorded by The Civil Wars.

With legends like T Bone Burnett and Buddy Miller lending a helping hand with Nashville's music, there's plenty of reason to expect big things, and it's said upcoming episodes will feature songs by Elvis Costello, Lucinda Williams, and Dan Auerbach. Singles from episodes will be released on iTunes and on the ABC website, thanks to a partnership with Nashville label Big Machine. Plus, it's rumored a soundtrack might be in the works.

Nashville finally grows a pair when Britton, as washed-up woman-over-40/jealous hater "Rayna Jaymes," tells her label to kiss her rhinestoned patootie, and we meet her plutocrat father, Jim Jones Cy Tolliver "Curly Bill" Brocious Lamar Wyatt, played by the inimitable Powers Boothe.

Tighten these hooks, and we just might have a good show on our hands. And we can only hope that happens, because aside from an occasional tiff, real country stars sure do play nice. There's no bloodshed outside Music Row studios, and Faith Hill hasn't taken to Twitter asserting that Alan Jackson tried to sleep with her daughter.

But is Nashville nice kind of like Minnesota nice? Yeah, we're pretty sure that's what Faith was doing here.

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