The small town of Serenity, filled with Southern charm and people who know everything about everyone, is one of the main character’s in Netflix’s new Hallmark-esque series Sweet Magnolias.
Based on Sherryl Woods’ novel, the series, starring JoAnna Garcia, focuses on family, friendship, careers, and picking up the pieces for three lifelong 30-something friends who decide to convert an old home into a spa.
Small towns are a huge draw for TV shows, and Serenity has already drawn comparisons to other iconic and quaint towns like Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls.
However, it should be compared to one supernatural town instead!
While there’s nothing supernatural about Serenity, if you found yourself waiting for a vampire to walk through the town square as Garcia’s Maddie is cooling off after a meeting with her lawyers about a divorce, you’re not alone.
If the town looks eerily familiar (almost like you’ve been there before and lived there your whole life), it’s because you have… well, at least if you’re a CW fan!
Fans of The Vampire Diaries and Legacies will recognize that Serenity is Mystic Falls!
In that same spot when Maddie comes to terms with the dissolution of her marriage and is consoled by her best friend Helen Decatur (Heather Headley from Chicago Med) on Sweet Magnolias Season 1 Episode 1, we’ve seen Damon and Stefan Salvatore come to blows and the Malivore pit open up.
The episode even gives us a glimpse of Mystic Falls’ Founders Bell.
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#SweetMagnolias is set in a fictional town called Serenity. Sheryl Anderson repeated, throughout the shooting of the show, that it was important that everyone might see themselves in Serenity. I like that idea more than ever these days—Serenity not just as a place, but a state of mind. The show drops on #Netflix in just 5 days on May 19.
Serenity and Mystic Falls overlap even further as the restaurant previously known as Mystic Grill (a popular hangout in town for Elena Gilbert and friends) was turned into Sullivan’s, Dana Sue’s (Brooke Elliot from Drop Dead Diva) restaurant!
Mystic Grill is also home to a museum of TV memorabilia and show costumes (and there’s plenty of Mystic Falls TVD fan tours) called The Alley, so it’s likely it will soon feature pieces from Sweet Magnolias.
While Sweet Magnolias was a cute series, it was hard for me to get fully invested because I kept getting thrown off with Mystic Falls being referred to as Serenity! As much as I want to like Serenity, it will always be Mystic Falls in my eyes.
Of course, Mystic Falls is a fictional town (though, it’s very real if you ask any TVD fan), set in Convington, GA located about 30 miles from Atlanta.
We’re not surprised Sweet Magnolias used the town as their backdrop — without the vampires, werewolves, witches, and doppelgangers, it truly is charming in that Hallmark kind of way.
Sweet Magnolias is currently streaming on Netflix. It also stars Chris Pine (American Pie), and Jamie Lynn Spears (Zoey 101).
If you’re looking for some sweet “comfort food” to pull you away from reality, Sweet Magnolias is definitely your cup of iced tea.
If You Loved ‘Sweet Magnolias,’ You’re Going to Want to Check Out ‘Virgin River’
I don’t know what it is about small towns, but when it comes to a TV show, they have a way of capturing your heart.
Maybe it’s the small community filled with gossiping women who are all up in your business that opens you with welcome arms, but I find myself gravitating to shows whose quaint towns are just as much of a character as the cast itself.
At the center of most of these shows is usually a resilient woman rising from the ashes following some life-altering situation. She tends to find support from the community, who embraces her and lends a helping hand, and despite a few stumbles, she never fully falls on her face because she’s always swooped up (metaphorically, there are no superheroes in these shows) by a handsome, buff man who is ready to show her the world… when she’s ready, of course.
It’s not exactly how reality works — one could argue it’s the furthest thing from it — but the promise of things working out and the “happily ever after” is how we want life to work, so we get pulled in. Aside from hope, we all connect with the themes of togetherness, heartbreak, and friendship.
Both Sweet Magnolias and Virgin River — both based on novels of the same name — possess that classic Hallmark charm, and despite straying ever-so-slightly from the predictable formula, the question of “will they or won’t they” when it comes to a grand love is there at the forefront.
On Sweet Magnolias, Maddie (JoAnn Garcia) is mom-of-three trying to pick up the pieces following a divorce that the whole town is aware of. Why? Because her husband, the town doctor, cheater on her with his nurse, who is now pregnant, and since he’s such a stand-up guy, he’s decided to commit himself to her and “do the right thing.”
Maddie leans on her two besties, Dana Sue, a chef and restaurant owner, and Helen Decatur, a lawyer, and they all decide that there’s never been a better time to pursue their childhood dream of owning a spa.
As Maddie’s career begins to fall into place, she also strikes up a romance with her son’s baseball coach, Cal Maddox, and just when she’s reaching peak happiness, her ex-husband pleads that they “give things another try” after his pregnant fiancee leaves him. We won’t spoil the end, but there’s a dramatic twist that underscores Netflix’s desire to take a formula and infuse it with new life.
If you’ve binge-watched Sweet Magnolias and found yourself craving some more small-town action, look no further than Virgin River. Netflix is making sure you never run out of feel-good dramas with character again!
Virgin River got love, but not nearly as much as Sweet Magnolias, and I fully blame that on the terrible promo that pops up when you first cue up Netflix.
The teaser played numerous times for me, but I kept ignoring the show because the little snippet didn’t sell me on it whatsoever.
To be fair, I should’ve listened to the Netflix algorithm (that knows me better than I know myself, apparently), and the fact that I’m a huge fan of Alexandra Breckenridge, who you may recognize as Sophie, Kevin’s true love on This Is Us.
Eventually, I was convinced to give Virgin River a shot after two of my friends gave it glowing reviews. “Fine, I’ll watch it,” is literally what I texted back as I reluctantly pressed play.
And boy, I’m glad I did. Have I mentioned the promo doesn’t do the series justice?
There’s nothing Hallmark-style cheesy about Virgin River, a Northern California town that seems to have a population of 20. Breckneridge’s Mel Monroe, a nurse practitioner, leaves cushy LA after accepting a job working for the local doctor, Vernon, who is less-than-thrilled to find out that his meddling wife and town Mayor, Hope, orchestrated the whole thing.
Doc doesn’t think “Ms. Hollywood” is cut out for the job, but as Mel gets her bearings, she proves to Doc that she’s exactly what this town needs. She also begins a kindred friendship with local bar owner, Jack Sheridan. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like these two will have anything in common, but they’re both burdened by the mistakes of their past and need each other to move forward. The characters are nuanced and realistically navigate a wide-range of emotions that come with falling in love with a person that’s not emotionally available.
Mel is a likable protagonist just like many of those that have come before her, but there’s nothing predictable about her adventures in Virgin River. The level of unpredictability mimics the uncertainty of life — you simply never know where it’ll take you, but that’s the beauty of it. And the moments, despite heartbreaking at times, are beautiful, scary, and exciting.
It’s a show about love, loss, family and found family, and getting a fresh start in a place that you’d least expect.
And if that’s not enough to convince you, just watch for the incredible scenery.
According to What’s on Netflix, season 2 was set to premiere this summer but with the coronavirus pandemic, it’s been pushed likely to September or October 2020 at the earliest. The site also reports season 3 has been given the green light, so use this time wisely to catch up and binge the series!
‘Sweet Magnolias’ Renewed for Season 2 at Netflix
Netflix is ready to call Serenity home for another season!
Sweet Magnolias has been renewed for a second season, according to TVLine.
— Sweet Magnolias (@SweetMagnolias) July 23, 2020
The series, based on a the book series by Sheryl Woods, focuses on three best friends in the small South Carolina town.
In season 1, Maddie Townsend (JoAnn Garcia), Dana Sue (Brooke Elliott), and Helen Decatur (Heather Headley) fulfilled their childhood dream of opening up a day spa together.
But not everything is peachy in town as Maddie deals with a new relationship with her son’s hot coach as her ex-husband has decided to come crawling back to her.
The 10-episodes wrapped up in a potentially fatal cliffhanger after a car accident possibly involving Maddie and Dana Sue’s children.
If you haven’t seen it, now is the time to get lost in the feel-good show with just enough drama to keep you hooked.
We put together a list of things we want from season 2 of Sweet Magnolias, so check it out right here!
What We Want to See on ‘Sweet Magnolias’ Season 2
We’re all going to need some of Erik Whitley’s specialty cinnamon ice cream after that cliffhanger!
For a show as sweet as a brownie from Sullivan’s revolving around the quaint and charming small town of Serenity, Netflix’s latest bingeable series, Sweet Magnolias, delivered a shocking and life-altering ending.
*** SPOILER WARNING – Stop reading if you haven’t seen Sweet Magnolias Season 1 and don’t want spoilers!***
Audiences weren’t the only ones shook by the car accident in the finale moments of the season.
Joanna Garcia Swisher, who plays Maddie Townsend, told GoodHousekeeping the cast was equally as “shook” with the idea of Maddie’s child (or children) in the car.
She said that the cast filmed the scene without knowing who else was in the car with Kyle so that they could be in the dark like the audience.
“Actually, I’ve asked to not know, at least for the next month, so I can be in it with everybody else,” she explained.
If you watched all 10-episodes of the first season in one sitting, you’re likely already googling to find out when season 2 will become available.
And truly, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it may be a bit considering the coronavirus pandemic is responsible for all TV and film productions shutting down since mid-March. Even with many states lifting their “stay-at-home” orders, the new guidelines set in place by the entertainment industry to ensure safety for the cast and crew is bound to make things slightly challenge.
Not to mention, Covington, GA, which is the backdrop for the series, will likely be in high demand as Legacies will begin filming their third season. And yes, if you didn’t know by now, Serenity on Sweet Magnolias is also Mystic Falls on The Vampire Diaries/ Legacies (read more about that here!)
However, we’re going to keep it optimistic and think about all that we want to see happen in Sweet Magnolias Season 2.
Who Is The Passenger?
Alright, so the most obvious question on everyone’s mind is about the passenger in the car wreck. There are a handful of possibilities here since there were so many people at the party who ran after Kyle when he stormed off.
The most obvious guess is Tyler since he’s Kyle’s brother. If it was Ty, it would hinder his baseball career, which would make for enough drama to carry a season. However, I think it’s almost too dark for the series, so I don’t think it was Ty.
It could be Annie since she’s best friends with Kyle, but my money is on Nellie. She was one of the first people to run out after Kyle and her involvement would further the rift between Maddie and Mary Vaughn Lewis, the Mayor’s wife who thrives on drama.
She wouldn’t hesitate to blame the accident on the Townsend’s divorce. After all, don’t you remember how she tried to leverage Maddie’s romance with the coach into unfair treatment for her bratty son Jackson, who is the reason this whole mess happened in the first place?
Are Kyle and the Passenger Okay?
Kyle was unconscious when he was removed from the vehicle while the paramedics and first responders were struggling to get to the passenger when Maddie, Bill, and the rest of the family arrived on the scene. Will Kyle and the passenger be okay? How will this change things for the Townsend family moving forward?
Where Are All the Other Kids?
And more specifically, what happened that led to this accident? We saw Kyle bolt out of the house and everyone else ran after him. Why did he get into the car? How did the car end up flipped on the side of the road? And aside from the mystery passenger, where is everyone else that was at the party? Did they all go after Kyle? Why didn’t they run back to get their phones?
The ending reminded me of a Big Little Lies type of twist because we’re going to need to backtrack the events of the evening to figure out what led to this devastating moment.
And here I was worried that the fist fight between Ty, Jackson, and CeCe would cause Ty to sustain an injury that would ruin his shot at playing baseball professionally.
Bill Needs to Accept Responsibility for His Actions
Seriously, Bill needs to grow up. He acted like a man-child for most of the season until he realized that the problem isn’t everyone else, it’s him. Bill reaped what he sowed; he did this to himself. He thought the grass was greener on the other side and learned very quickly that it wasn’t the case.
Bill didn’t do right by Maddie when he cheated and destroyed his whole family (and I love how Ty assumes Noreen destroyed his family rather than acknowledging his father pulled the trigger, but I digress), so he decided to do right by Noreen instead. And while that may be the Southern way of doing things, everyone knows that it’s not going to lead to a happy life. The longer Bill was with Noreen, the more he regretted letting Maddie go.
When Noreen finally left his sorry ass behind (you know it’s true), he decided to ask Maddie for a second chance. Bill, are you even hearing yourself? He takes one-step forward and two steps all the way back. All he cares about is himself. He didn’t care how Maddie felt when he was happy with Noreen, but the moment he was single, he came crawling. Maddie would be a complete fool if she too him back.
Swisher seems to agree because she told GH: “It really surprised me that fans are actually wondering if I’ll choose Bill or Cal. It’s something that I never even imagined that people would be contemplating.” She believes Bill “has a long way to go.”
Now, Cal on the other hand.
Maddie Needs to Patch Things Up with Cal
The town hunk has been patient, kind, and the perfect man (the man Bill could never be) so we’re rooting for Maddie and Cal to patch things up. Maddie wants to take things at a slower pace, which is understandable for someone coming out of a long-term marriage. She’s also rebuilding her trust after her husband cheated on her and ripped apart their family. Cal has been cognizant of that and very respectful. While Maddie obviously overreacted about the scout situation and assumed the worst of Cal due to the trust issues, it isn’t something to end a blossoming relationship over.
Seeing how much they both care about each other, I think there’s definitely room for them to course-correct, however, Bill’s proposition may hinder the relationship a bit. Again, I don’t think Maddie is considering it, but if Bill is determined, it has the potential to create a rift between her and Cal, who was already starting to feel like the other man.
Is Noreen Coming Back?
Noreen may have been the other woman, but it takes two to tango. Noreen made one mistake, but she meant well. So it was hard not to feel bad for her when she so badly wanted to fit in and be accepted by the judgey towns people. Moreso, she just wanted to be happy. And when she realized her happiness wasn’t with Bill, who barely paid her any attention and treated her like an afterthought to his family, she made the best choice for herself and her unborn child to leave him and Serenity.
Jamie Lynn Spears, who plays Noreen, may have been considered a guest-star, but I believe she’ll return in some capacity. Maybe not to be with Bill, but she is going to have his child and audiences will want to see that play out. Bill might not have common sense, but he is the father and deserves to be in the child’s life.
Erik Whitley Shooting His Shot
The sweetest thing about Sweet Magnolias is Erik Whitley. While I liked Ryan and Helen together, I wasn’t a fan of their torrid history. It made Ryan a turn-off. Plus, he was never around, and while Helen loved him, she wasn’t getting the kind of love she wanted. The final straw for the relationship came when Ryan stood firm on his “no children” stance. Sometimes, no matter how much you love someone, you have to accept that it just isn’t meant to be. Helen and Ryan wanted very different things in life and it wasn’t fair for either of them to compromise their wants or beliefs.
On the other hand, things with Erik seem so easy even if Helen is oblivious to the fact that he’s in love with her. I’m talking puppy dog eyes in love! Erik has had some trauma in the past with losing a child, so he likely won’t object with wanting to try again with the woman he loves. He’s always been so respectful and affectionate towards Helena, and even stepped back when he saw her and Ryan together.
But make no mistake, that man wasted no time shooting his shot once Ryan was out of the picture. I love a man who knows what he wants and goes after it. Eventually, Helen will come to realize the future she’s been wanting has been right in front of her this whole time!
Dana Sue’s Love Life
All three of the Sweet Magnolias have very active and thrilling love lives, especially for a small town, but Dana Sue takes the cake! There is so much sexual tension between her and Ronnie. Whew! Correct me if I’m wrong, but we never found out what happened between them that led to their divorce, right? Therefore, a reconciliation isn’t entirely out of the picture. Dana Sue doesn’t seem to want to give in, but Ronnie seems open to it.
But then there’s Jeremy! They hit it off right away, they have so much in common, and he seems like a breath of fresh air for Dana Sue. When have you ever seen her so giddy? If a man can do that, he’s a keeper!
Is Dana Sue Isaac’s Mother?
Poor Isaac has been on the hunt for his birth parents since stepping foot into Sullivan’s. And his assumption that Dana Sue and Micah are his parents wasn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility. Dana and Micah kept alluding to a wild past, Dana said Micah and Isaac have a lot in common, and they all cooked together like a family. Plus, Isaac has such a sweet relationship with Annie!
Isaac clearly surprised Dana Sue with his bold paternity question, but she also didn’t reject the possibility the way Erik Whitley did when Isaac asked him if he was his father. It’s possible Dana Sue gave up a child up for adoption early in her life before she was ready to be a mother. We won’t know for sure unless the series gets a second season, so let’s hope that a renewal is on the way!
What do you want to see on Sweet Magnolias season 2? Let us know in the comments!
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