5 questions raised by ABC's 'Nashville' and 'Last Resort' promos
ABC's new comedies may look all kinds of sketchy, but their new dramas are looking all kinds of buzzy.
Sunday night supernatural soap "666 Park Avenue" already has devilishly good guilty pleasure potential, and the network's other two fall dramas boast quality casts and strong pedigrees.
"Nashville" (premiering Wednesdays at 10 p.m.) keeps Connie Britton on TV following five seasons on "Friday Night Lights" and one on "American Horror Story," casting her as a fading country music star facing off with a younger rival ("Heroes" cheerleader Hayden Panettiere). It's written by "Thelma & Louise" Oscar winner Callie Khouri and directed by prolific documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler ("The September Issue," "The War Room").
"Last Resort" (premiering Thursdays at 8 p.m.) brings back beloved Emmy winner Andre Braugher ("Homicide: Life on the Streets," "Men of a Certain Age") as the captain of a ballistic missile submarine who disobeys a direct order to fire nuclear weapons at Pakistan. "Felicity's" soul mate Scott Speedman co-stars in the series from ace showrunner Shawn Ryan ("The Shield," "The Unit") and director Martin Campbell ("Casino Royale").
Here's what we're wondering after watching ABC's promos for both shows...
1) Can "Nashville" keep the "Revenge" buzz going?
Last season there was very little pressure on "Revenge" to perform Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ABC's heavily hyped pilots "Once Upon a Time" and "Pan Am" were on Sundays, and even "Charlie's Angels" garnered more advance attention in a Thursday slot. But then "Revenge" outdid all its fellow newcomers save "Once" in the ratings and stole the spotlight as ABC's breakout media-adored hit. That means greater expectations for "Nashville," and even more scrutiny for early glimpses at the show like this one.
2) How does military-set "Last Resort" fit into a night of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal"?
"Last Resort" doesn't have to do much to make ABC happy in its Thursday timeslot, but it does need to perform at a level that isn't damaging to aging lead-out "Grey's Anatomy." Are the two shows compatible at all? ABC chief Paul Lee claims the "Resort" pilot tested very well with women, and the promo is clear to emphasize this isn't just a show about manly men under the sea.
3) Will Connie Britton's "Friday Night Lights" history help or hurt "Nashville"?
It's a bit of a mixed blessing to have Mrs. Coach on your show. There's no doubt Britton is a crazy talented actress who should've won an Emmy (or two) for her incomparable work on "Friday Night Lights," but the fiercely loyal "Friday" fans may start to attack if "Nashville" doesn't live up to the same high standard. After all, Tami Taylor deserves the very best.
4) Should we set aside all thoughts of Vic Mackey and Frank Pembleton when watching "Last Resort"?
Just as Britton brings the positive baggage of "Friday Night Lights" to "Nashville," the iconic quality TV pasts of Braugher and Ryan will raise expectations for "Last Resort." But the promo reveals a drama seemingly free of the grit and edge that helped define "The Shield" and "Homicide," so it may be best to leave the past in the past and try to approach the submarine show with a fresh perspective.
5) Is ABC making a shameless play for the heartland with dramas about the military and country music?
Call it cynical audience-baiting if you like, but there's something intriguing about these series' unique concepts and offbeat milieus. Considering network TV dramas usually unfold in New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, it's actually refreshing to see two series set in unusual locations: an exotic island and Music City, USA. If nothing else, maybe we'll get some fresh vacation ideas out of it.
Watch and ponder the promos for yourself:
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
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