The Best Thing I Saw on TV This Week (2/1 – 2/8)

This week in the TV world started with a very dramatic Super Bowl—and I’m not just talking about Katy Perry’s halftime show (or that exceedingly depressing Nationwide commercial). On Monday, Castle continued its strong streak of episodes in its P.I. arc. Tuesday’s Agent Carter took the team to Russia, and big changes were in store for character on both Parks and Recreation and The Mindy Project. Wednesday gave us a strong post-hiatus return for Nashville, another episode of Suits dealing with Louis’s feelings of betrayal and how it impacts the whole firm, and one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen on television on another completely compelling hour of The Americans.

There were a plethora of strong moments on television this week, but sometimes you just have to stop and single out one actor for their performance throughout an episode. This week, there was nothing that impressed me more than the heartbreaking work Connie Britton did on the latest episode of Nashville.

Nashville is a nighttime soap opera, but it’s grounded by some surprisingly honest and heartfelt performances. And this week, Britton’s performance was a thing of sincere beauty. She made me feel every bit of Rayna’s exhaustion and regret that she let things get so far with Luke before calling off their wedding. There was one moment when she went to hug her sister and her face crumbled into genuinely ugly tears (which I didn’t know an actress as beautiful as Britton could cry), and it was some the most realistic crying I have ever seen on television.

And then there was her scene with Deacon at the end of the episode. Declarations of love can often be so cheesy and overwrought, but both Britton and Charles Esten played Rayna’s confession that she still loved Deacon with the perfect amount of restraint. It was soft and simple, and that made it feel so genuine. There was such honest emotion and warmth between them in that moment, making it a scene I could watch over and over again, finding new things to love each time. On a show where it could be easy to veer into melodramatic performances, I’m always impressed by the grounded honesty shown in Nashville‘s best moments.

What was the best thing you saw on TV this week?

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6 thoughts on “The Best Thing I Saw on TV This Week (2/1 – 2/8)

  1. Nashville was really good! Lots of drama 🙂 but as you said, in a grounded, honest, un-melodramatic way. My other favorite primetime soap, Jane the Virgin, was really fun this week too with some awesome twists. I have trouble explaining the self-conscious melodrama, almost a parody of a telenovela, but not, because it loves the genre. An homage? You have to start watching it so you can tell me how to explain it to people who don’t watch 😉 And HTGAWM was back to its favorite thing, lots of flashbacks. I hope you can watch it soon. I’m really enjoying it. I get all the drama I need in my life from my TV.

    • Another Jane the Virgin fan! I can’t wait until I get a chance to watch it this spring/summer; I know I’m going to love it. And I’m hoping that the end of this month will give me some time to catch up on HTGAWM!

    • As a gigantic fan of both Jane the Virgin and someone who was born and raised on telenovelas Jane is doing something unique. It is TOTALLY a telenovela, in its format, in its dialogue, in its narration. However within that framework is a family that has managed to completely, authentically reflect the experiences and dynamics of what many Latino families look, sound and feel like. I do not have enough words for how much I love this show.

      • I have never watched telenovelas and I grew up in a different part of the world so I don’t have much experience with Latino families either, but I just love the show so much. (I grew up in New Zealand watching Coronation Street and Neighbors and maybe EastEnders if I was feeling particularly masochistic – very different!). It’s great to hear different voices and points of view, and besides that, it’s just so much fun! It makes me laugh and I love the romance and I look forward to every twist and turn. And who wouldn’t love a show with such a good looking cast?

  2. So I am finally caught up on this week’s television (and last weeks for that matter) I meant to write this last week, but it is equally true for this week. Grey’s Anatomy really has no right to be as good as it is right now. It is a decade old show with its share of third rail moments over that tenure. It has managed however to mature a core group that we started with (and a few we’ve added along the way) that I remain connected to the show. I thought after Christina’s departure I would truly lose interest, she has always been my favorite character. Color me surprised by the fact the show both last week and this week found ways to pack an emotional punch with both episodes leaving me sobbing as the credits rolled.

    Perhaps its that I feel like I have come of age with these characters or that the subject matter about their lives has resonated particularly loudly. I think that at the core, the show has gone back to its strength. Sharing universal truths and life lessons through the cases that emerge within the hospital. In the last two episodes in particular I have been moved by the peace that comes from the moment as pain subsides and gives way to hope, reconciliation and acceptance. Both episode arcs leave us with that cadence at the end. This week’s punctuated by two very compelling scenes – one for it’s visual story the other for strength of remembrance. The first was the stark image that is a collective of women surgeons, nurses and interns working the problem and tumor of a patient. It reminded me of that great scene in Apollo 13 when they have to figure out how to get the crew home. Only this time, I was struck by the all female diverse room. It’s powerfully imagery without saying so, because the portrayal is that this is simply normal within the walls of Grey’s. Brilliant surgeons solving the problem. That they are women and women of color, secondary. The other is a scene with Owen that both broke my heart and gave me joy simultaneously. It allows us into the depth and understanding that there are those we love forever, even when we aren’t meant to be forever and there is beauty, joy and comfort to be found within it. Shondra’s other two Thursday night shows get much more ink and kudos these days and that’s fine. Everyone deserves their day in the sun. But after a decade on the air, I just have to tip my hat to the show that started it all and that continues to have heart and depth in storytelling that I can relate to even all these years later.

    • This brought me such joy to read. As someone who jumped ship on this show years ago (more because I discovered medical shows in general made me too anxious for my own good than anything to do with the show itself), I’m glad to know it’s holding up well after all this time. It’s also wonderful to think about all of the diverse characters—and especially female characters—who’ve been a part of this show over the years.

      Your connection to this show is beautiful to read about, and it did my heart a world of good to read this comment after a very long day.

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