Ellen Gray: 'Nashville,' 'Arrow,' 'Chicago Fire' latest new shows to debut

The best new show? "Nashville," on ABC, with Connie Britton (left) portraying a country singer who's competing against newcomer Hayden Panettiere (right). With Eric Close (center).
The best new show? "Nashville," on ABC, with Connie Britton (left) portraying a country singer who's competing against newcomer Hayden Panettiere (right). With Eric Close (center).
Posted: October 10, 2012

* NASHVILLE. 10 p.m. Wednesday, 6 ABC.

* ARROW. 8 p.m. Wednesday, CW 57.

* CHICAGO FIRE. 10 p.m. Wednesday, NBC10.

THE FALL TV rollout is not over yet. Three new dramas premiere Wednesday night.

One, ABC's soapy, song-filled "Nashville," is my pick for the best new show of the season.

Another, a superhero show called "Arrow," from Greg Berlanti ("Green Lantern," "Brothers and Sisters") is the best new show from the CW and stars Stephen Arnell as billionaire-back-from-the-dead Oliver Queen, whom comic book fans may know better as Green Arrow.

And the third, NBC's "Chicago Fire," from "Law & Order" producer Dick Wolf, is a generic but not unworthy firefighter drama - and easily the best new show for people who'd like nothing more than to curl up in front of the set and watch pretty people do heroic things.

There are, honestly, worse ways to pass any hour, but if you only have one, I'm hoping you'll choose to spend it with Connie Britton ("Friday Night Lights"), who stars as "Nashville's" Rayna James, a country music star fighting to stay on top in a changing industry.

Nipping at her heels: a brassy young crossover artist named Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere, "Heroes"), who isn't afraid to go after what she wants. Which seems to be whatever Rayna has.

If "Nashville" were just a show about some intergenerational catfight set to music, I'm not sure I'd be interested, and I'm trusting in both Britton and "Nashville" creator Callie Khouri ("Thelma & Louise") not to let that happen and to fulfill the promise of a pilot that offers music, politics and plenty of family drama.

Filmed - beautifully - in Nashville, Tenn., it draws from an ensemble that includes Powers Boothe as Rayna's rich and, yes, powerful father, Eric Close as her husband, who'd like to step out from her shadow, Charles Esten as her bandleader, with whom she has a past, Clare Bowen as an undiscovered talent who may have the key to Rayna's future and Robert Wisdom as a politician who's counting on Rayna's support.

Readers on 'Nashville'

This year's Everybody's a Critic panel of 20 Daily News and philly.com readers awarded "Nashville" an average score of 7 on a scale of one to 10, though opinions were divided.

"The pilot has it all - music, politics and lots of drama. I'm excited to see what happens next," wrote Laura Rhoads, of Haddonfield, N.J.

"Something I would not have thought of watching. But now . . . I will tell everyone I know to watch this show," wrote Howard White, of North Philadelphia.

"Not interested in country music and bad behavior [but] . . . the Nashville city scenery is beautiful," wrote Marcia Pruett, of Darby.


Contact Ellen Gray at graye@phillynews.com or 215-854-5950. Follow her on Twitter @elgray. Read her blog at EllenGray.tv.

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