New FOX TV Series to Portray Country Music’s Fictional First Family

Well this could be interesting. Premiering on January 30th, 2022 after the NFC Championship football game, the latest drama series with country music as the centerpiece will premier on FOX. Called Monarch, it will star Susan Sarandon as the ailing “Queen of Country Music” Dottie Cantrell Roman, Trace Adkins as her husband Albie, and British actress Anna Friel as Nicolette “Nicky” Roman, who is the heiress to what is characterized as the “First Family of Country Music.”

Sold as a “Texas-sized, multigenerational musical drama about a family synonymous with authenticity,” apparently there is some big family secret behind their success that must be protected at all costs, including with (don don don!) murder. The Romans apparently live in Austin, but spend ample time in Nashville tending to the family business.

We’ll have to see if this turns out anything like ABC’s country music drama Nashville that premiered in 2012, which was tolerable for a few episodes, but had to keep killing off central characters because of budgetary restrictions and still ended up on basement network CMT for its final two seasons, while the Hayden Panettiere character slept with every male character on the show except the gay guy. We did get Charles Esten out of the deal though, who’s been a reliable last minute fill in for the Grand Ole Opry in recent years.

The Monarch series is created and written by Melissa London Hilfers, and also stars Beth Ditto, Josh Sasse, Meagan Holder, Martha Migareda, Emma Milani, Iñigio Pasual, Eva Amurri and Adam Croasdell.

Some of the initial plot lines that have been leaked include an episode where the Trace Adkins character is piss drunk on a cruise ship and gets kicked off and left behind in Jamaica after beating the shit out of his own celebrity impersonator. Another episode centers upon how the Susan Sarandon character helps cost Hillary Clinton the 2016 Presidential Election by endorsing Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

…oh wait, those are actual, real life stories. My apologies.

It will be interesting to see if there are any real world implications tied to the airing of Monarch. ABC’s Nashville did result in some pretty sweet royalty money for a few songwriters, and perhaps raised some awareness about systemic injustices in the country music industry. But ultimately the hackneyed story lines and incessant heartstring pulling just made the show a bit unbearable.

If the Monarch soundtrack features some cool folks and it helps shine a spotlight on more traditional country, it could be kind of cool. There has never been a worse song picker in the history of country music than Trace Adkins (“Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” “Brown Chicken Brown Cow”). But the guy probably has one of the best voices currently in country music. Adkins also has some 21 film appearances, and scores of TV appearances under his belt, so he’s somewhat seasoned as an actor.

Meanwhile Susan Sarandon is not known for signing onto subpar projects, so perhaps it’s a promising sign she is involved, even if her character is fighting off some illness that will allow her to bow out gracefully if and when she chooses.

Anyway, figured we should all at least be aware this is going down as country fans. Whether it will actually be worth paying attention to is yet to be seen.

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