Branson Famous Reality Series with Musical Twist

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Branon Famous cast from truTV series

It's billed as "The World's First Reality Musical." And at first blush, I immediately said, "No it's not." Not if I count GREASE: YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I WANT! (that gave us the spectacular Laura Osnes). And I'm pretty sure AMERICAN IDOL could lay some sort of claim to that title.

But after I gave BRANSON FAMOUS a watch, I get it. And, yes, it truly is the first reality musical.

The focus of the series is the Mabe Family, who for decades have been the core of the Baldknobbers Jamboree, which formed in 1959 and is the first -- and still the premiere -- show in Branson, Missouri. For plot devices, we have Megan McCombs, paramour of Brandon Mabe, having conflicts with the matriarch of the family, Patty Mabe. This is fueled partly by her insecurities about Brandon not yet having "put a ring on it" and exacerbated by the group auditioning for another young female singer. There's also the overarching storyline of the Baldknobbers looking to retain their relevancy in the increasingly competitive Branson market of shows, while looking to extend their appeal to younger audiences.

But the twist I speak of is in the presentation. Almost every reality show has the cutaway interview segments, from BIG BROTHER to DUCK DYNASTY. But in BRANSON FAMOUS, those interviews are sung. Yes, that's right, each interview bit is an original composition, sometimes performed in split-screen duets. Now that is something that hasn't been done before.

If you love old school country music and a penchant for family drama, BRANSON FAMOUS is 30 minutes a week you'll likely get a kick out of. For me, the fact that the interstitials are musical only lends to the realization that it's another 'reality' that is scripted. Only this time it's not just scripted -- it's arranged.

BRANSON FAMOUS premieres Monday, December 29th at 10/9C on truTV.

Grade: 
3.5 / 5.0