The Disney Review: Nashville and The Neighbors

Written by Jeff Heimbuch. Posted in Disney, Features, The Disney Review

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Published on October 06, 2013 at 12:01 am with 11 Comments

NashvilleSeasonOneDVD

Nashville: The Complete First Season isn’t the type of show I’d usually watch. In fact, I would stay far, far away from it if a review copy hadn’t shown up at my house a few weeks ago. But, upon giving it a chance, I was actually pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable the show was.

ABC took a familiar plot line with the show and just gave it a new setting: the country music scene. The basic plot is that the aging country star Rayna James has a career on the downward curve. In order to make herself relevant again, her label teams her with current country star Juliette. Of course, the show would be boring without conflict, and conflict there is: the two hate each other. To further complicate matters, both are vying for the attention of Rayna’s guitar player Deacon. As you can imagine, hilarity ensues.

Look, on paper, it really seems like this is just another soapy drama show. But honestly, given a chance, it turned out to be more than that. ABC was wise enough to use the show to look at both ends of the spectrum: from the superstars who are extremely popular all the way down to someone whose career is just starting out at the very bottom rung. Scarlett, who happens to be the niece of Deacon, is getting discovered and on the road to stardom. It’s a nice juxtaposition between the famous and those not yet there.

Oddly enough, I was surprised at how well acted the show was as well. Connie Britton as Rayna really knocks it out of the park. And Hayden Panettiere as Juliette matches her scene for scene, really showing off her acting chops here. Color me impressed.

Of course, the show is littered with original music, and it really shines. I’m not a country fan, but even I couldn’t resist tapping my foot along to some of these tunes. Kudos to the song writers for that.

I’m glad that the show stood out, because the extras included on the disc are unfortunately very dull. A handful of deleted scenes and bloopers, a featurette about the titular city, and the music behind the show round out the package. It’s OK, but nothing ground breaking.

Regardless, though, I’m happy I gave the show a shot. It surprised me!

WIN A COPY!

And you can win a copy for yourself! I have a copy of Nashville: The Complete First Season to give away to one lucky person. Just leave a comment below, and Ill choose one next week to win a copy.

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Also up this week is The Neighbors: The Complete First Season, another ABC show. To be honest, I hadn’t even HEARD of this show before it showed up to review. The basic gist is that a family from New Jersey (my old stomping grounds!) moves to a gated community that is made up entirely of aliens. From space.

Yes, that does sound like a pretty formulatic sitcom story right there. But surprisingly…it works. The show has a lot of SMART laughs, which most shows these days don’t have anymore. Taking a page from Third Rock From The Sun, the show does a lot of pop culture references, but does them right, and it makes for some hearty laughs from me. I’m surprised this show didn’t get more play on ABC because it really is better than most other stuff on TV right now.

Regardless, I definitely recommend the show. It really is one you can watch with the whole family, because as cliché as it sounds, it does have something for everyone.

While it doesn’t have a lot of extras, it does included a gag reel and some deleted scenes that are likely to keep the family busy for a bit after finishing all 22 episodes in the season.


By Jeff Heimbuch

The Disney Review is written and edited by Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor

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About Jeff Heimbuch

Jeff has been in love with all things Disney since a very early age. He writes From The Mouth Of The Mouse and The 626 every week for MiceChat. He also collaborates on The Disney Review every weekend. Aside from that, he is one half of the devastatingly good looking duo of the weekly vid/podcast Communicore Weekly (the other half being fellow MiceChat columnist George Taylor), which you can find at www.communicoreweekly.com Jeff is also writing a book with former Imagineer and Disney Legend, Rolly Crump. You can find out more about the book at www.itskindofacutestory.com

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  • Internitty

    Personally I love the TV series Nashville, I find the characters believable and relatable. I absolutely love that they use real locations around Nashville including the Blue Bird Cafe, Nashville Guitar Company even gets a look in in one episode, if you are a musician or a fan of vintage instruments like me this is a must visit place when visiting Nashville …but I digress.

    The biggest stand out is the music, I listen to a little basic country, Johnny Cash, John Denver and some bluegrass in the form of Steve Martin but the music in this series is so accessible the two soundtracks (soon to be 4 thanks to the 4 CD release in the UK) have become permanently homed in my CD player. It is not heavy country “twangy” country, in fact some songs sound more pop than country.

    The music is being written by a who’s who of modern country music writers and produced primarily by T. Bone Burnette (who also produced Elton John’s new album The Diving Board) After each episode all the new songs are available on iTunes, season one had just over 50 songs and season two, only 2 episodes in, already has 5 great new songs.

    Hayden Panettiere as Juliette has a wonderful singing voice as do all the cast, all of who sing their own songs (no Singing In The Rain trickery here ;) )

    Clare Bowen plays Scarlett and not only has a lovely singing voice but also does a great Southern American accent (she is in fact Australian)

    The end of season one cliff hanger is intense, multiple story lines come to a head and you’re left aching to know what happens next, fortunately you can tune in and catch season two now screening.

    I look forward every week to this show, it has something for everyone I feel, great music, good stories, characters, actors, locations what more do you need?

  • Internitty

    The Neighbors, I got a little over 10 episodes in and couldn’t take it anymore. Episode one was great and I thought YAY a cool new scifi sitcom then the downward spiral began, even the Theremin and excellent soundtrack were flushed by episode 2. I’m afraid I have to disagree about it being smart comedy or anywhere near as good as 3rd Rock from The Sun. I was stunned it was picked up for a second season but each to their own, this is only my opinion.

    • mratigan

      Same here. I was really shocked they renewed the show.

      • KENfromOC

        Too bad you didn’t keep watching The Neighbors as, I think anyway, it has really sustained well. I too thought how long could they keep this gag going, but they have. Last week (Sep 27) it was so well done that the main gag turned out to not only fool the characters in the show, but fooled us watching– didn’t see the final outcome coming at all!

        It is really an off- the- wall nothing else like it comedy that even I didn’t think would last when it was first promoted last year. Glad to see they stuck with it as I am so tired of the typical “filmed before a live audience” situation comedy crap!!!

  • Country Bear

    I love Neighbors and was really impressed with Nashville.

    Neighbors is bizarre to be sure. But it is so off the wall that I couldn’t stop laughing at it. I found the entire first season to be a delight and looked forward to every episode. The characters are well acted and completely unbalanced! It has taught me to expect the unexpected each week. I also haven’t seen many sit-coms on tv in the last few years that have made me laugh out loud uncontrollably. Love the neighbors! I am a little nervous about the second season though as the first episode was solid but the second episode was a total bomb. I think they were trying to pack too much into the episode. Hopefully this was a “miss” and not an omen.

    Nashville is a really well done drama. It’s what Dallas would look like if it were a musical. The characters are very well thought out and the music is amazing (I’m not a big country fan). The performers are pretty to look at for both sexes and they are portrayed as very real people. I think the overall setting and authentic treatment that they give the business is something we haven’t seen much of before. Though the evening drama is not a new theme, this show seems very fresh.

    I wish both shows a successful run. Thanks for reviewing these items.

  • sonnyk155

    Simon Templeman has been watchable since I first saw him on Northern Exposure in the 90s. Hayden Panettiere…I could watch her sweat in a sauna and be happy. First saw her in Ally McBeal.

  • disney4me2001

    I love “Nashville”! Unfortunately I kind of fell off the wagon and missed the second half of the season, but I’m definitely planning on catching up. Though I have to admit that I’m not sure I would have given this show a shot if it hadn’t been for that fact that Hayden Panettiere is in it. I loved her on “Heroes,” so I was glad to hear that she had found a new series, and decided to watch it.

    I haven’t seen enough of “The Neighbors” to really form much of an opinion on it, but from what I have seen, it does seem like a pretty funny (but quirky) show. Glad that it got renewed for another season- hopefully I’ll have a chance to see more episodes!

    • Internitty

      The second half of season one of Nashville is stronger than the first half so well worth catching up with.

  • Internitty

    After reading all the positive comments about The Neighbors I decided to give season two a try and watched the first three episodes today. I have to say there has been a vast improvement in the writing since I gave up on season one and I enjoyed the episodes so I will watch the show regularly in hopes they can keep this quality up.

  • Longaway

    If ABC had any sense, The Neighbors would be on Wednesday nights, between The Middle and Modern Family. Of course, if they had any brains Better Off Ted would still be on the air to provide an even better pairing for The Neighbors, but…

  • julesofhearts

    Totally agree with you about Better Off Ted, Longaway! That show was amazeballs! I have only seen two of the Season 2 episodes of The Neighbors, but I did enjoy them. Sounds like I didn’t stick with Nashville long enough! It was hard since my hubby can’t stand even the most pop-sounding country. Looks like I will have a new show just for me!