Connie Britton ("Friday Night Lights," "Ameri can Horror Story") gets yet another great role. She stars as Rayna Jaymes in "Nashville" (10 p.m., TV-14), ABC's slick, smart and instantly addictive new adult soap opera set in the heart of the
country music business. Filled with catchy songs (written by professional songwriters and performed by the show's stars) as well as some credible characters, "Nashville" wastes no time laying down a series of overlapping melodramas. The reigning queen of country music for two decades running, Rayna has seen her sales slip and her concert venues shrink. She's threatened personally and professionally by bratty young sensation Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), whose appeal seems as much about long legs and cleavage as real talent.
Rayna's problems -- and the show's intrigue -- are hardly confined to the music business. Rayna clearly has daddy issues. She hates him. And that's difficult when he's Lamar Wyatt (Powers Boothe), Nashville's most powerful businessman. Rayna's husband, Teddy (Eric Close), has long suffered in her shadow, and his status as a provider took a beating when he lost his fortune in the financial crash. Things get stickier still when mover-and-shaker Lamar drafts Teddy to run for mayor, even after Rayna has pledged her support to a rival candidate.
If the pot weren't boiling hard enough, there's a songwriter torn between working for the chart-topping Juliette and the torch he's been holding for Rayna. There's a cute waitress who just happens to write poems and sing like an angel. Think she'll get discovered? And even the tantrum-prone Juliette has family secrets.
If tonight's pilot is stuffed with too many storylines and character introductions, "Nashville" is worth watching just for the music and the performances that soar but do not distract or overwhelm its plot development. The makers of NBC's "Smash" should watch "Nashville" to see how it's done. The folks behind the
mediocre new "Dallas" could learn a few things as well.
---You don't have to be 12 to like "Arrow" (8 p.m., CW, TV-PG), but it probably helps. The comic book adventure stars
Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, a spoiled tycoon's heir who discovers a conscience, special powers and martial arts skills after being cast away on a deserted island for five years.
He returns home to his
castle-like mansion to fight the bad guys as a hooded, bow-and-arrow-wielding crusader while maintaining his public facade as a decadent party boy. The
dialogue is obvious and the acting is spotty, but they never get in the way of the frequent explosions.
---Someday, someone will reinvent the police/EMT drama or outdo Denis Leary's dark firehouse dramedy "Rescue Me." That day has not arrived, but "Chicago Fire" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14) has. It's not ter-
rible, but you can't help thinking you've seen this a thousand times before.
---"Nature" (8 p.m., PBS, TV-PG) looks for Siberian tigers.
---A writer of smutty novels is
assaulted on "Law & Order: Spe cial Victims Unit" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
---On two helpings of "Modern Family" (ABC, TV-PG): college daze (9 p.m.), Phil's painful pro-
cedure (9:30 p.m.).
---"NOVA" (9 p.m., PBS, TV-PG) explores Viking sword-making.
---The scales of justice weigh the fate of a "Half-Ton Killer" (9 p.m., TLC, TV-PG).
---A grim banquet on "CSI" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---"NOVA scienceNOW" (10 p.m., PBS, TV-PG) examines attri-
butes that set humans apart.
---Lawn mower races on the season two premiere of "Duck Dynasty" (10 p.m., A&E, TV-PG).
Two understated ghost stories, "The Haunting" (8 p.m., TCM) from 1963 and "The Uninvited" (10 p.m.) from 1944, offer proof that a good story is the best special effect.
---Sudden celebrity on "Animal Practice" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
---More boot camp on "The X Factor" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---Hare-raising on "The Middle" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---Behavior modification on "Guys With Kids" (8:30 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
---Awkward on "The Neigh bors" (8:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---Demon possession on
"Supernatural" (9 p.m., CW, TV-14).
---A wail of two cities on "Crimi nal Minds" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Magic Johnson is scheduled on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" (11 p.m., Comedy Central).
---Mark Wahlberg and Infantree appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS, r).
---Moshe Kasher, Arden Myrin and Greg Fitzsimmons are booked on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!).
---Naomi Wolf sits down on "The Colbert Report" (11:30 p.m., Comedy Central).
---Salma Hayek and KISS appear on "Late Show With David Letterman" (11:35 p.m., CBS).
---Jay Leno welcomes Chelsea Handler and Placido Domingo on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).
---Kevin James, Chris Elliott and Dwight Yoakam appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (midnight, ABC).
---Tina Fey, Terry O'Quinn and Ellie Goulding visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).
---Craig Ferguson hosts Nikki Reed and Mitch Albom on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS, r).
Kevin McDonough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.