You’ve seen the commercials. You’ve heard the hype. Now there’s only one thing you want to know: Which of the new fall shows are worth watching and which should be avoided at all costs? In this continuing series, we give you the scoop on some of the most highly-anticipated shows of the season, with today’s focus being HART OF DIXIE, the CW’s version of Sweet Home
The Boilerplate: Since these pilot presentations may go through numerous rewrites and casting changes prior to premiere, this by no means should be considered an official review. Rather a preview of what one can expect come Fall.
The Plot: Fast-talking New Yorker and brand new doctor Zoe Hart has it all figured out – after graduating top of her class from medical school, she’ll follow in her father’s footsteps and become a cardio-thoracic surgeon. But when her dreams fall apart, Zoe decides to accept an offer from a stranger, Dr. Harley Wilkes, to work with him at his small practice in Bluebell, Alabama. Zoe arrives in this small Gulf Coast town only to find that Harley has passed away and left his half of the medical practice to her in his will. She quickly finds that Southern hospitality isn’t always so hospitable – the other doctor in town, Brick Breeland, is less than pleased to be sharing the practice with this young outsider, and his daughter, Lemon, is a Southern belle whose sweet disposition turns sour when she meets Zoe. Zoe’s only allies are the mayor, former football star Lavon Hayes, her bad-boy neighbor Wade Kinsella, and handsome lawyer George Tucker – who just happens to be Lemon’s fiance. Zoe is out of her element and ready to pack her bags, but a surprise visit by her snobby New York mother leads to Zoe’s decision to stay in Bluebell for a while, discovering small-town life and a side of herself she hadn’t known was there.
The First Impression: Is — as you might expect from this WB/CW junkie that grew up on a steady diet of GILMORE GIRLS and EVERWOOD — glowingly positive. No really. Despite a premise that has been recycled over-and-over-and-over-again, what HART OF DIXIE lacks in originality it more than makes up for with a ridiculously likeable cast (including Rachel Bilson in the titular role of Dr. Zoe Hart, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS’ Scott Porter as not-quite-Bachelor #1 and relative newcomer Wilson Bethel as potential love interest #2) and a handful of promising plot points (Family drama, medical mysteries, rival doctors… Oh My!) that we look forward to seeing played out. What’s more, it’s produced by Josh Schwartz (THE OC, GOSSIP GIRL, CHUCK), Stephanie Savage (GOSSIP GIRL, THE OC) and Leila Gerstein (GOSSIP GIRL, ELI STONE), three talented scribes who know a thing or two about zippy dialogue, romantic entanglements and most importantly of all, maddeningly addictive television drama.
The Concern: Plucky, beautiful and funny, star Rachel Bilson is a lot of things, but believable as a wannabe world class Cardiothoracic Surgeon? Truth be told, that remains to be seen. Luckily for Bilson…
The Verdict: Thanks to her off-the-charts likeability, where Bilson leads… we will follow.
HART OF DIXIE is scheduled to premiere Monday September 26th on the CW