Connie Britton (”Friday Night Lights,” ‘‘American Horror Story”) gets yet another great role. She stars as Rayna Jaymes in “Nashville” (9 p.m.), ABC’s slick, smart and instantly addictive new adult soap opera set in the heart of the country music business.
Filled with catchy songs 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 dark family secrets that threaten to give her cardboard character unexpected depth.
Tonight’s other highlights
• “Nature” (7 p.m., PBS) looks for Siberian tigers.
• A writer of smutty novels is assaulted on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (8 p.m., NBC).
• On two helpings of “Modern Family” (ABC): college daze (8 p.m.), Phil’s painful procedure (8:30 p.m.).
• “NOVA” (8 p.m., PBS) explores Viking sword-making.
• The scales of justice weigh the fate of a “Half-Ton Killer” (8 p.m., TLC).
• A grim banquet on “CSI” (9 p.m., CBS).
• “NOVA scienceNOW” (9 p.m., PBS) examines attributes that set humans apart.