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.
Who Is Kathy on ‘Sweet Magnolias’?
Sweet Magnolias Season 3 hit Netflix on Thursday, July 20, and finally gave fans some clarity on a cliffhanger from season 2—who is Kathy?
In the final episode of season 2, a nameless woman confronted Annie and asked her if she was Dana Sue’s daughter before commenting that she looked like “something she’d spit out” right before calling her mother a “home wrecker.”
We then saw the same woman popping the tires of a Sullivan’s food truck, and once the Magnolias saw the video, they all let out a deep sigh and declared: “She’s back.”
Now, we finally have our answer.
SPOILERS AHEAD *** Stop reading if you haven’t watched the new season yet ***
Kathy (portrayed by Wynn Everett) blows into town like a hurricane, setting her sights on destroying Dana Sue and her brother, Ronnie. There’s plenty of animosity between the siblings as audiences learn that Kathy still holds plenty of resentment for the fact that Dana Sue and Ronnie got Sullivan’s instead of her; she believes they “stole” it from her.
And naturally, she wants revenge, even after all these years. She sets her sights on Erik, propositioning him to join her restaurant, Z’s, where she’s an assistant manager. She attempts to poach him from Dana Sue’s business so that he can help elevate the place and make it a Southern destination, clearly hoping to put Sullivan’s out of business.
Erik is in a low place after his split from Helen, so he takes some time away from Sullivan’s and agrees to work with Kathy without knowing the backstory of her feud with Dana Sue.
Kathy also sinks her claws into Bill, whom she meets at the restaurant while he’s dining alone and who has no idea who she is. They seem to be kindred spirits in the fact that they’ve hurt a lot of people and don’t have anyone to turn to—they are lonely, and it’s a situation of their own making.
In later episodes, Kathy crashes Annie’s sweet 16 party to hurl nasty comments at everyone, including Maddie and Helen. It’s unhinged behavior and a clear indication that she hasn’t found peace or moved on with her life, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
When Erik turns in his resignation letter—after learning that she’s related to Ronnie and hired him out of spite, something he feels very guilty about—she retaliates by trashing Sullivan’s kitchen. It’s clear she wants attention from her estranged brother, and when he meets her to talk, she promises that she won’t leave town until she gets what she’s owed.
Ronnie determines that it’s a hefty check, later informing Dana Sue that Kathy only understands money.
Kathy decides that it’s a sufficient payout to leave town, but Bill’s pretty disappointed with the news, informing her that running away isn’t the answer and it isn’t going to fix all the pain she’s caused—and he’s someone who would know a thing or two about hurting people in Serenity.
In a surprising twist, Kathy and Bill show up at Dana Sue and Ronnie’s vow renewal with a thoughtful gift in hand—she hands her brother a vintage tea set that belonged to their mother because she understands what it feels like not to “get what you want.”
She then apologizes to everyone she’s crossed paths with, while Dana Sue shows plenty of grace, informing her that she wishes they could’ve been friends all these years.
Kathy and Bill then leave town “for a bit” to find themselves and get back on the right track.
It’s unclear if we’ll see this random couple in the future if/when Netflix decides to renew Sweet Magnolias for the fourth season, but if so, hopefully, they’ve made good on their promise to “do better.”
You can read all of our Sweet Magnolias Season 3 reviews right here!
The Fate of ‘Sweet Magnolias’ Season 4 Finally Revealed—Will There Be Another Season on Netflix?
Sweet Magnolias just dropped its third season on Netflix with 10 exciting episodes taking fans back to the town of Serenity alongside Maddie (JoAnna Garcia Swisher), Helen (Heather Headley), and Dana Sue (Brooke Elliott).
SPOILERS AHEAD *** Stop reading if you haven’t watched the new season yet *** SPOILERS AHEAD
While the third season ended on an uplifting note that would suffice as a series finale, fans absolutely don’t want the story to end as they are heavily invested in all of the friendships and relationships that have formed over the course of three seasons.
And thus, the question on everyone’s mind remains—will there be a fourth season of Sweet Magnolias?
On October 19, 2023, Netflix officially renewed the hit series for season 4, which means we’re now officially going to be spending more time with our favorite residents in Serenity.
Yet another season means that fans can find out if Helen and Erik will give their love another try, whether Isaac will tell Noreen about Bill (and confront Bill about being his son), and get more insight about the future mayoral candidates of Serenity—while also getting justice for the town that was mistreated and taken advantage of by the Lewis family!
Season 2 was confirmed two months after the first season was released, while Season 3 was three months after the second season aired.
There’s currently no premiere date set just yet, and with the SAG-AFTRA strike still looming large, it might delay the upcoming season just a smidge, but with the WGA strike finally over, at least the writers can get back to penning a worthy script to move things along when the time finally comes to start filming again!
You can read all of our Sweet Magnolias Season 3 reviews right here!
Sweet Magnolias Season Finale Review – Save My Place (310)
Let’s pour it out for Dana Sue and Ronnie… and the three leading ladies of Serenity.
Sweet Magnolias Season 3—through all of its bumps and hiccups—continued to be a love story not only between three best friends, but between them and their significant others, their significant others with each other, and their found families within the community.
It’s a love story for Serenity, highlighting everyone’s dedication and commitment to the charming small town.
Much of the season finale, Sweet Magnolias Season 3 Episode 10, was focused on Ronnie and Dana Sue’s wedding, one that was picture-perfect and the epitome of love and renewed beginnings.
Dana Sue and Ronnie recommitted to each other in front of the whole town, with their loved ones by their side—and may I say, everyone seriously dressed to impress. The wardrobe team really outdid themselves as all of the Magnolias rocked dresses that complimented them, their personalities, and their personal styles. And I dare say that Maddie stole the show in that baby blue dress!
One of the season’s overarching storylines came to an end, a positive one at that. Kathy showed up at the reception, as expected, with Bill in tow, announcing their relationship of sorts to the public, but instead of bringing pain and destruction, she offered an apology and gave her brother their mother’s tea set as a peace offering. Everyone seemed rather surprised that this change of heart was brought upon by Bill, though, in his defense, he did tell Maddie he was going to do better.
And this is his start. He’s trying to turn his life around and find meaning in his life while finding his place amid a family that he’s hurt and that has moved on all while he’s been trying to hold on. It’s not doing anyone any favors that he’s just there, randomly popping in, so he has to figure things out for himself before he can be there for others. Bill’s been quite the pain, but at least he’s aware—that’s all we can ask. He’s putting in an effort to make this second half of his life as a father be a little more intentional and meaningful.
His relationship with Kathy may have been surprising to everyone, and vengeful on her part at the beginning, but in a way, they are good for each other—two villains trying to claw their way back to the top and find peace and love.
There were many unspoken, off-screen moments that we didn’t get to see that I feel would’ve made the storyline stronger. Why didn’t we get to see Bill finding out who Kathy is? Are we to assume he wasn’t phased by it at all.
Dana Sue and Ronnie deserve this second chance, and I’m glad it wasn’t tainted by Kathy’s antics yet again. She’s done enough damage, and for nothing, when they all could’ve simply been a family. You could tell it meant a lot to Ronnie that his sister finally acknowledged that she was the problem.
Dana Sue and Erik also figured things out prior to the vow renewal, which meant that she had her kitchen team back together and someone to make a scrumptious cake. All’s right in the world.
It seems that in Serenity, it’s all about moving forward with grace, love, and forgiveness—and this season taught us that simply being there for people and giving them the space to accept to reach out for help when they are ready is essential. It’s an important reminder to everyone who always wants to leap into action and fix things.
Dana Sue didn’t hound Erik, ultimately letting him come to her when he was ready.
Helen and Erik also cleared the air, starting over fresh as friends, though there’s so much unspoken love and longing between them. I truly believe that their biggest obstacle was always timing… and Ryan. Helen couldn’t fully give herself over to Erik and envision a future with him because she didn’t close the chapter on Ryan; she was still holding onto that hope for their fairytale ending. But now that she’s gotten closure and Ryan is officially out of the picture, it’s clear that she and Erik are like two magnets pulling towards each other; it’s inevitable, especially after Helen caught the bouquet and they locked eyes across the space. Though this time, I hope they take their time and honor each other’s feelings, first and foremost.
It didn’t help that she didn’t attend the event, telling Erik that she works with the Magnolias and doesn’t feel ready to party with them, which is fair. I fully expect things to get messy in the Erik, Helen, Genevieve love triangle next season, and I’m ready to see these two women fight it out for him. May the best woman win.
Maddie and Cal remained unproblematic this season, and they couldn’t be more in love, constantly supporting each other at every turn. It’s just nice to see her finally find a man that treats her the way she deserves to be treated as we know that was never Bill’s strong suit. Even now, she’s doing much of the heavy lifting when it comes to parenting, with Cal subbing in when necessary. Maybe next season, we’ll get to attend their wedding!
Also finding love again—Noreen and Jeremy! The way my heart melted when he was just walking around with Rebecca as if she was his own daughter. He’s a keeper! After everything Bill put her through, Noreen deserves a good man who will step up to the plate. Look at Maddie and Noreen, both finding good men after Bill.
And in the spirit of love, Ty is head over heels in love with Annie. He’s surrounded by CeCe and his new tutor friend, and yet he only has eyes for her. I think he’s slowly coming to the realization, but since Annie is nursing a broken heart, it’s not exactly the right time.
Annie broke up with Jackson, and though it hurt like hell, she realized she deserved so much better than to have to lie to all her loved ones to be with him. She needed him to grow up and stand up to his mother, and he was too scared, and it took a toll on their relationship. Jackson was admittedly shocked, but I don’t think anything hurt more than Annie turning around and running straight into Ty’s arms for comfort. It’s clear that her heart is also with her childhood best friend, even if she’s not entirely aware of it right now.
Love was definitely the theme of the episode as Peggy showed up with Charles, her journalist friend helping her dig up dirt and evidence against the Lewis’, which sadly wasn’t revisited much this season (I know, I know, they’re building a case), while Pastor June brought her date from bingo, and Paula came with her good friend and the man who continuously commissions her work, Jimmy. Or should I say, recently divorced Jimmy who planted one heck of a smooch on her at Sullivan’s and then basically asked her to move in with him into his new house—under the guise of commissioning her to paint. Listen, Paula, get it girl. Isaac’s face was a mirror reflection of mine, but as Maddie noted, she deserves to find joy, and if it means letting her mother fly free, so be it.
As for Peggy, Helen was adamant that she needs to run for office, even offering to run her campaign for her. And to that I say, Team Peggy and Helen has my vote!
It’s exciting to see everyone getting invigorated and involved, trying to do what’s best for the town and the people living in it.
Another storyline that wasn’t addressed was Isaac and Bill, though, after a heart-to-heart with Paula about lies, Isaac decided that he wanted to tell Noreen the truth about his birth father. It’s going to be quite a bombshell, but I don’t think anything can shake their friendship—if anything, it will bring them closer together.
Annie seems to have found her “sisters”—the friends for life she wished for—in CeCe and Lily, who is also putting the moves on Kyle. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing some episodes focus heavier on the teen Magnolias… yep, that’s what I’m calling them.
- Bailey is truly one of the best supporting characters!
- Erik and Helen have a lot in common including blaming and being hard on themselves and running away from their problems.
- Wayne is home—and Skeeter and his men were there to greet him and lend a helping hand. I love the small scenes depicting the true realities of small towns.
- I hope Maddie decides to publish her novel even though she said she’s just doing it for fun.
- And you know the Magnolias treasured being by each others’ side during the wedidng so much more after their big fight. They won’t ever take their friendship for granted again!
This wasn’t my favorite season of Sweet Magnolias, but it did have a sweet ending that gave us potential for new, and old, relationships, while also showcasing plenty of character growth for everyone, including Serenity’s least-liked residents.
Whenever we finally get another season, I hope that we’ll explore Erik and Helen’s rekindled spark, Isaac telling Noreen and finally confronting Bill, and all the drama with the Lewis’.
What did you think of the season? Did you enjoy the finale?
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