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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The ‘Nashville’ series finale was infuriating, but there may be a good reason why

Did the series finale of “Nashville” seriously end like that?

At first, it looked like all the characters would live happily ever after, as the show tied up long-running plotlines: Rayna’s (Connie Britton) daughter came back home after that terrible emancipation plot. Scarlett (Clare Bowen) and Gunnar (Sam Palladio) finally realized they’re soulmates. Will (Chris Carmack) gained the courage to speak up to the people who refused to accept a gay country singer. Even Deacon (Charles Esten) managed a smile when his family was back together.

And then Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) may have died in a plane crash. Maybe? Probably. We don’t know – the episode ended as her ex-husband Avery (Jonathan Jackson) received news from a very solemn-looking guy in a suit who said that there was a distress call from Juliette’s private jet, and they lost contact 90 miles west of Nashville. End scene.

Quite the cliffhanger to tease the possible death of a major character, especially considering the show was recently canceled by ABC. But why would the writers do that to loyal viewers who had been watching all four seasons? As a practical joke? Just to be mean? Because they can?

As it turns out, there may be a reason to the madness. According to TV Line, producers filmed two endings, since they weren’t sure whether the show would be picked up for a fifth season; the other possible ending showed Juliette and Avery reuniting. So even though there’s apparently a scene where everything is resolved, producers chose to air the one with a major plot twist hanging in the balance.

That’s crazy, right? Unless, as Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva reports, they’re just that 100 percent certain that they’re going to get picked up by another network. After all, production company Lionsgate is shopping the show around to various channels and streaming services.

“The move by Nashville producer Lionsgate TV to forego the nicely wrapped-up series finale ending it had in the can for a cliffhanger is a testament to the level of confidence Lionsgate has that it would find another home for the show,” Andreeva wrote.

Right after the finale, Lionsgate fired off this cryptic tweet, using the #BringBackNashville hashtag that has helped garner more than 110,000 signatures on a Change.org petition aimed at other networks to pick up the show:

“#Nashies What a cliffhanger! But we won’t leave you hanging. There’s more story to be told. #BringBackNashville”

Let’s put it this way: In a twisted sense, such an insane ending should actually make fans feel more confident about the show’s chances. Lionsgate must have a major level of confidence that the drama will continue on another platform. Otherwise, executives must know that if things are left on that note, the “Nashville” series finale will go down as one of the worst in history. Maybe even worse than “Castle.”

And who would want that on their conscience?

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