Why ‘Nashville’ Is the Best Drama About the Music Industry


Nashville has had an interesting trajectory in its four-season run (so far) on television. After its cancellation on ABC, the Connie Britton-led drama found a new home on the network where it truly belongs, CMT (Country Music Television.) With so many great music-based series to compare it to, like Empire, The Get Down, Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll and the recently cancelled Vinyl, how does this country music drama stand out? Let’s discuss what makes Nashville the best drama about the music industry.

Nashville has grown a huge following, including viewers who aren’t even necessarily fans of country music. The drama and stories being told on this show are far more compelling than the genre that serves as a backdrop — which you may or may not like. When ABC announced that the show was cancelled after season 4, the fan response was so massive that other networks began looking at picking up the series. Luckily, it found its home in the most fitting of places, the Country Music Television channel.

So what about the other music-related shows? Don’t get me wrong, Empire can be annoyingly addicting and the grittiness of Vinyl alone should have awarded it a second season. Shows about the music industry are generally all entertaining, but in different ways. With Empire, it’s become more of a gimmick than anything else. We don’t watch it to gain a genuine understanding of how this business operates, because everything in this show feels so caricaturized. There might be a grain of truth in each storyline, but the show has become more of a soap opera than anything else. That’s not to say it’s a bad show, it’s just not the best on this subject.

What makes Nashville so good is how it touches on so many aspects of the music business that we as consumers don’t often see or sometimes even think about. How does a new artist emerge against seasoned veterans? How does breakout talent manage to avoid getting ripped off by record labels and representatives? What can artists do to stay in the spotlight when they’ve passed their prime? Sure, Empire and other shows tackle some of these issues as well, because they’re easy and interesting stories to tell. However, no other show seems to do it in such a grounded and seemingly realistic way as Nashville does. This is probably the series’ biggest strength — how honest it feels.

Nashville is incredibly insightful about all the inner workings of this world. It doesn’t focus on the glamor of being a music icon, but sheds light on its pitfalls as well as the many different people behind the curtain who are doing the real leg work. Even if you’re not into country music, the show will teach you something about music in general that you never would have thought of.

Do you think Nashville is the best drama about the music industry? Tell us why, or share which show you think is better, in the comments below!

Nashville season 5 premieres with a special 2-hour episode on January 5 at 9/8c.

(Image courtesy of ABC)