What We Hope To See On Nashville This Season

Photo: Courtesy of CMT.
CMT's revival of Nashville is five episodes in, so we're starting to get used to what's changed since the show moved from ABC. Some of the differences are obvious — the camera angles, for instance. But the storylines are changing, too, and being on a country music channel is letting Nashville showcase the industry in a different way than it did before.

Last June, Nashville creator Callie Khouri told Taste of Country that the new season would "deal with is the collapse of the music business and just how hard it is." The CMT episodes so far have been true to this promise. Rayna (Connie Britton) and Highway 65 are in such financial trouble that they turn to Silicon Valley mogul Zach Welles (Cameron Scoggins) for financial help, even though Rayna doesn't always agree with his creative direction. It's a different side of the business that we didn't see as much of before — the behind-the-scenes work at a record label is a lot less glamorous than the music itself.

In its first four seasons, the show's most noteworthy quality was the fact that the music seamlessly guided the storylines along. The fifth season is still finding its footing here — there are song-driven plot lines, but they're being handled differently.

Scarlett (Clare Bowen) and Gunnar (Sam Palladio), for instance, are promoting "All of Me," a single that's markedly different from their earlier songs. It's a lot more mainstream-friendly than their sound on songs like "Longer." But for a duo that's still looking for a replacement tour after Autumn (Alicia Witt) dropped them, it makes sense. "All of Me" might not bring tears to our eyes with a montage, the way some Nashville songs do. It did, though, set up the tension between Rayna and Zach over his choice of director for the music video. And Scarlett and Gunnar do still have a lot of issues to work through that aren't going to be fixed by changing a song lyric about eye color.

Click through to see what we hope CMT has in store for the rest of this Nashville season.
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Will Lexington should be a central character.
Will's (Chris Carmack) character development was on of the fourth season's strongest points. After all he's been through, it's high time his music was featured more prominently in the show.

It was disappointing when Will signed with Luke (Will Chase) instead of Rayna last season. Highway 65 was struggling, and Luke was the one who dropped Will in the first place. It was nice to see Luke change his mind about signing Will, but now that he's not a character on the show anymore, Will should consider renegotiating his contract to sign with Rayna instead. And even if he doesn't, we still deserve more of his beautiful voice.

So far this season, Will's been stuck with ridiculous storylines about not wanting to commit to Kevin. It's not totally out-of-character for him, but Will deserves more screen time, and more music, too. (I will say that Will's "Burn to Dark" is a lovely song, and overlaying it to Rayna's contract signing was a nice touch.)
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Photo: Courtesy of CMT.
Juliette needs a show-stopping career comeback, preferably at the Opry.
"On My Way" was sweet, but Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) needs more than that if she's going to make a powerful comeback back into the country scene.

"Don't Put Dirt On My Grave Just Yet" brought Juliet the boost her career needed after a public "scandal" involving a misconstrued quote about religion (hey, this is country music, after all). We need the season-five equivalent of that — a powerful, DGAF number to remind audiences that she's here to stay.
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Photo: Mark Levine/CMT.
Deacon and Rayna need to address their issues, and not in a concept album.
It's a gross understatement to say this couple has been through a lot. And when they went to couples' therapy in the past, they brought up a lot of real issues in their marriage.

Deacon (Charles Esten) has a troubling past of emotional abuse and violence with his drinking — an issue that made Rayna's daughters not want them to get married. It's going to take a lot more therapy sessions to unpack their past, and that's something they need to do privately before pouring all of those emotions into the concept album Rayna wants to create.
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Photo: Mark Levine/CMT.
Maddie needs to actually apologize to her family and put in the effort to make things right.
Last season, Maddie (Lennon Stella) lied on the stand about her relationship with Deacon, not to mention the fact that she was consistently rude to Daphne (Maisy Stella). So far, we've seen her slowly coming around, but after everything Maddie put her family through, we need a full-on apology, complete with tears. And Maddie and Daphne need at least one song together.
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Photo: Mark Levine/CMT.
Guest characters should have payoff for the show.
Randall was a red herring for the ongoing storyline about Rayna's stalker. But what purpose was there for the amount of screen time devoted to Ashley (Bridgit Mendler)? To inspire Avery (Jonathan Jackson) to gaze regretfully upon old photos of the unsuccessful Avery Barkley Band? Adding new faces isn't a bad thing, but we need to know why we should care about characters like Autumn and Zach.
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If Avery is actually wistful about performing, we need to go back to the Triple Exes.
Okay, this is more of a pipe dream. But the three of them were so cute on tour together. Remember how Scarlett's Twitter revelation led to "My Song?" And if it's really what Avery wants, any song that involves all three members of the Triple Exes will be infinitely better than "All Of Me."
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Rayna and Juliette should appear in the same scenes or even perform together.
Alright, this is almost assuredly not going to happen. The show's two leads rarely appeared together when the show was still on ABC. And we already got the (small) shot of the pair together when Juliette was in the hospital, which is more than we expected. Still, we can dream.
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