Knee-jerk review: ABC's "Nashville"

1. Well, now that was interesting.  
2. It has the hallmarks of a "Desperate Housewives"-style women-centric soap opera, what with the complicated romantic triangles and problems-with-bring-rich hand-wringing and the snarky woman-on-woman insults.  All that plus seedy politics and unrequited love tragedy.  We smell a winner.
3. But there's also a grit and realism here that lends a degree of gravity.  This isn't perhaps the four-star genius "The Good Wife," but it isn't self-conscious fluff.
4. You probably don't have to like country music to enjoy the show, but it certainly helps.
5. And you can imagine the music-license goldmine ABC stands to enjoy if this show takes off and spawns iTunes singles.  The one presumably original song in the pilot was catchy.
6. Honestly, we didn't think Hayden Panettiere had it in her.  She worked it.  Who knew Claire-bear could so convincingly play a maneater?
7. Powers Boothe, as always, cuts a commanding presence, even with the sorta girly cosmetic work he's apparently had done.
8. Makes us want to visit the Bluebird Cafe.
9. Part of the fun is trying to work out which real-life music star the fictional characters are emulating.  If she's Taylor Swift and she's Reba McEntire, then who's the other girl?  That kind of thing.
9. It's a tough lesson in Hollywood: you're only as good as your last project.  What have you done for me lately?  Second tough lesson: there's always someone younger and hungrier waiting backstage.
10. You really can't ask for more from a drama than to feel immersed in a strange world, whether it's the hospital of "ER" or the White House of "The West Wing" or the small-town football locker room of "Friday Night Lights."  This show offers what seems to be a genuine glimpse at the inner workings of the Nashville music scene.  It feels genuine anyway.
11. Connie Britton, it seems, can do no wrong.
12. Bonus points for the involvement of Callie Khouri, screenwriter of one our most favorite films, the brilliant Thelma and Louise.
13. Solid.

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