Monday, October 7, 2013

The Hart of Dixie (Season 1) - reviewed.

It's the season three premiere of Hart of Dixie tonight on the CW, so it's only appropriate that I'm just now reviewing season one of the show.

Earlier this spring, I spent a good five or six days watching the first season of Hart of Dixie.

I initially started watching it because there was nothing very interesting on TV and there wasn’t anything else that peaked my interest on Netflix’s instant access list.

When I realized that Rachel Bilson was the star of the show, I considered turning it off. I’ve seen all of 7 or 8 minutes of The O.C. in my lifetime, but it was enough to know that Bilson was not an impressive actress.

She showed that right off in this series. She plays Zoe Hart, a doctor who was let go from her job in a big city hospital because her superior said she didn't have the heart to be a true surgeon. She finally accepted an offer from a doctor who'd been calling her for years, asking her to come work at his local practice in Bluebell, Alabama.

This man -- now dead -- is her father, so Zoe has just inherited one half of her very own practice. The problem is Dr. Brick Breeland (Tim Matheson) owns the other half and he is not about to willingly share it with some young, Prima donna from the big city. Tensions are high between those two.

Bilson's bad acting was a deterrent, but it didn't turn me completely off the show.

Pretty soon I was 15 minutes into the first episode. I was hooked on the supporting characters.

Hart of Dixie has some very entertaining characters with witty dialogue. Those entertaining characters are brought to life by a great supporting cast who are very suited for their roles.

There’s Cress Williams, who I recognized from his Beverly Hills 90210 days (he was the basketball player that Brandon helped tutor). Williams plays Lavon Hayes, a former football player-turned-town mayor, who happens to have a pet alligator.

That seemed like a stretch to me, but while I was researching for my recent trip to Charleston, South Carolina, I read a lot of online comments from people who say that alligators don’t bother you if you don’t bother them. I guess if people can have pet pigs and pet snakes, why not a pet alligator?

I was surprised by Williams. He seemed one-dimensional as the educationally-challenged jock in 90210. In Hart of Dixie, he has a southern accent and seemed like an entirely different character. I realize that’s what actors are supposed to do, but so many of them have difficulty doing that.

George Tucker (Scott Porter) is the town’s golden boy. He’s the town lawyer. He's also the first person that Zoe meets. There seems to be an instant attraction. Problem there is: George is engaged to Lemon Breeland (Jaime King). This Emma Stone look-a-like is the daughter of Dr. Breeland, so, naturally, Zoe and Lemon become fast enemies.

Then there's the rest of the supporting cast. There's the blue collar bar tender Wade Kinsella (Wilson Bethel), who also has a bit of...chemistry...with Zoe.

You have the completely hilarious and adorable Rose Hattenbarger (McKaley Miller), who looks up to Zoe.

The dad from Family Matters (Reginald VelJohnson) is even in the show, playing Dash DeWitt --- a role that I can only describe as very similar to Kirk Gleason (Sean Gunn) in Gilmore Girls. DeWitt is almost like the unofficial spokesperson of the town, hosting competitions and contests.

Bilson actually grew on me half-way through the season. About 10 episodes in, she seemed to really start getting comfortable with the Zoe Hart character.

The show feels very similar to other quirky hour-long dramas like Ally McBeal or Boston Legal in the sense that a lot of what happens probably wouldn't happen in real life. At the same time, the situations aren't so over-the-top that they couldn't happen. It's like Gilmore Girls meets Grey's Anatomy.

At the end of the first season the five-way love pentagon (that's a complicated situation!) seems to work itself out, but, of course, there's a twist, leaving you hanging -- wanting to find out what happens in season 2.

Thankfully, the second season was just made available on Netflix’s instant play list last week.

Like I said, the third season of Hart of Dixie premieres tonight on the CW.

If you haven’t seen the show yet, set a series recording for the third season, fast-track your way through the first and second seasons and then you’ll have brand-new season three episodes waiting for you on your DVR.

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