Breanna Hill, Features Editor
Like anybody else stuck at home during quarantine, I was scouring Netflix for promising shows I’ve never seen before and was genuinely surprised when I came across a few shows that didn’t bore me after the first few episodes. I latched quickly onto Virgin River and Sweet Magnolias, both Netflix originals.
I’ve always been a bit skeptical of Netflix originals because they tend to be a bit trashy in my opinion, so from the get go I was a bit hesitant. With promising bios and a seemingly new cast list I haven’t seen much of, I dove in.
Sweet Magnolias was plastered all over my Facebook feed, so me finding it on my Netflix suggestions category was not the only thing that gravitated me towards it. I watched the first episode and then the next and so on and so forth. I couldn’t stop watching it. Though it gives me Hallmark vibes (no hate, truly), I found myself utterly invested in the character development and to be quite honest, the cheesiness of it all.
I hate to admit it but I’m a sucker for even the slightest bit of romance in movies and TV series. This series definitely has that romantic element woven into it, but it’s much more than that. It has something most everyone loves watching: growth of friendship. I love that even though the romantic aspect is evident in the series, it focuses on friendship above all else.
Feel good is the only way I can describe this series. The cast is stellar and the storylines are put together in a way that leaves audience members wanting more. Ten episodes just weren’t enough. Fans of the popular series have voiced their need for a second season after a major cliffhanger in the last episode.
With the unforeseen future revolving around the global pandemic, series are inevitably stalled until further improvements. Though an official renewal for the hit show hasn’t been confirmed, Sherryl Woods, author of the Sweet Magnolias book series and executive producer of the show says if renewed she could see having three or four seasons to tell the entire story.
After binging Sweet Magnolias I had to find another series to occupy my time, and luckily I found Virgin River a few days afterwards. Virgin River gives me a bit of Hallmark vibes too, but it’s eerily similar to Hart of Dixie. It follows a big city doctor taking another job in a smaller town with thoughts of not staying there long, with one of the biggest contributing factors being her boss hates her for coming in the first place. It’s basically Hart of Dixie. Oh, and the mean head doctor in both series is played by the same guy, Tim Matheson.
As a big Hart of Dixie fan, I immediately fell in love with a seemingly recreation of the same show and binged it within a matter of a few days. Though it is so similar to Hart of Dixie, it throws in its own twists and turns within the storyline that makes it uniquely its own.
There’s no worries regarding a renewal. Not only has it been renewed, but season 2 has already been filmed and the show has been renewed for a season 3. There’s tons more to come for the small town of Virgin River. This show has been the perfect fix for my love of the romantic genre.
Binging these shows have left me wanting more of both, and hopefully I’ll be able to find even more promising Netflix shows to occupy my free time. I recommend both of these shows, especially if you’re obsessed with the Hallmark channel, it’s right up that alley.