Posted by Grace C
Friday Night Lights had been on my TV radar for a while; friends in America had raved about it, stars had been bolstered by it and numerous recaps for other shows had referenced it as a beacon for unrivalled character portrayal. I finally had my opportunity to settle down and give it the attention it deserved over Christmas. It is safe to say it surpassed my already high expectations.
For someone who loves nothing more than well written, grounded character development without the distraction of overly dramatic plots (for the most part), Friday Night Lights is the perfect show. The keystone of its quality is in the cuttingly realistic portrayal of its main protagonists – passionate and caring, but no-nonsense, high school football coach Eric Taylor and his level-headed, patient and committed wife Tami. This powerhouse couple come to life with the understated talents of Kyle Chandler (Argo, Zero Dark Thirty) and Connie Britton (Nashville, Spin City). Their chemistry and consistency is the driving force that maintains the heart and soul of the show even through changing circumstances and the rotation of the show’s repertoire of promising young talent. Continue reading
I tuned into Nashville with low expectations, thinking I’d be watching a kind of soapy, sexy Jilly Cooper-esque Dolly Parton-themed Dallas-type show. Boobs, hair and country music (not knocking Dolly. Love Dolly. Anyone who doesn’t is clearly a fool). But much as I loved Dallas in its day for being such splendidly camp tosh, it quickly became clear that Nashville isn’t a glamorous soap at all. Well, not just that anyway. You have boobs and big hair, it’s true. And some splendid country music. But, actually, it’s a classy-as-heck drama and it’s beautifully written. And why this is so quickly became clear when I realised who the writer was – it’s the woman who scripted Thelma and Louise, Callie Khourie. And she’s done a cracking job here.
As you might expect, at the core of Nashville is the relationship between two interesting, complicated female characters. Country singing legend Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) has just hit forty, and her power is beginning to wane. Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) is a successful, thrusting minxy young up-and-coming star, with a huge teen following (including Jaymes’ daughters). Their male (shared) record label bosses want them to tour together with ‘joint billing’. But, of course, someone has to go on first, and they want it to be Rayna, which would be a huge come-down for her. Plus the women can’t stand each other.
But (and this is where the classic C&W backstory comes in) she’s saddled with huge debts because her husband did some dodgy dealings a few years before. Rayna has a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with her scheming, manipulative Daddy Lamar Wyatt (Powers Boothe), a quite JR-like patriarch, who wants to control her via her weak husband, getting him to run for Nashville mayor as his puppet candidate. Continue reading