Photo: ‘Sweet Magnolias’
Two years after the pilot episode, ‘Sweet Magnolias’ season 2 has graced our TV screens. After months of nail-biting trailers and teasers, it is finally available for streaming on Netflix. Directed by Sheryl J. Anderson, ‘Sweet Magnolias’ is a romantic drama based on the Sheryll Woods books. It’s about three women who have been friends since high school and are helping each other navigate the stress of living in their small town, Serenity (aptly named). And just as ‘Virgin River’ did, the show became an instant hit, both seasons landing it on Netflix’s list of most-watched shows days after release.
Sweet Magnolias Season 2 is 100% Worth the Hype and Watch
In short, the show is worth the hype. Not only is it hilariously entertaining, but it teaches valuable lessons, preaches real-life values that transform the show from a sitcom into something more. Best of all, no matter who you are in a family – the middle child with no attention, the father with a deadly secret, you’ll relate to the happenings of the ‘Sweet Magnolias’ family.
The characters themselves also seemed to mature and adopt more mature values too. The writers did a great job of placing them in situations where we got to observe the realistic manner in which they dealt with the difficulties they were being handed. It once again mimicked the feel-good tone of ‘Virgin Rivers’ without any of the predictability of ‘Gilmore Girls’ and its easy-to-read plot.
‘Sweet Magnolias’ is Realistic, Fun and Charming
The writers also hold great credit for managing to maintain realism despite the fictional town they created. With a fictional town, it’s easy for ‘Sweet Magnolias’ to fall victim to the trap most shows like this find themselves in – the lines between fantasy and reality blur beyond recognition. But, the writers once again delivered, making sure none of the scenarios Brooke, Chris and JoAnna fall into are unrealistic and fake. In fact, there is huge potential for a long-running drama series, so long as Netflix continues to be charmed by the ‘Sweet Magnolias’ story and characters.
Fast Pacing and Lots of Good-Natured Drama
The show’s pacing was incredible, answering burning questions in episode 1 in a way that revealed just enough to spark a world of drama for the rest of the second season. In fact, the entire season is able to give us anything we’d want in a romantic drama – an easily lovable cast, diverse plot with twists and turns and answers to cliffhangers that have had us biting our nails for the past year.
While some may complain about the fast-natured pace, in reality, it offers an edge and excitement that keeps audiences on their toes. And despite it all, the show manages to give equal parts drama and stress to each major character. This overall helps world-build and add depth to secondary characters who didn’t have their time in the spotlight last season.
Amidst all the new drama and crazy shenanigans, the show still manages to maintain its status as the utmost comfort watch, with sweet family bonding, adorable romances and fan-favorite margarita nights between the Big 3.
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Cast and Crew Have Impressively Grown Into Their Roles
The actors also stepped up their game with Joanna Garcia Swisher playing her character, Maddie Townsend, with much more conviction and dedication. Garcia Swisher perfectly encapsulates the new energy and stability that Townsend has found, proving that the growth is real and Maddie is the heart and soul of her family and friends. With the tiny gestures and simple but loaded looks, Maddie’s depth as a character is also revealed – a parallel between her broken insides and the front of resilience she puts up on the outside.
Logan Allen also shows off his range as a young and aspiring actor through his strong performance as Kyle. Kyle was unbothered, happy and easy-going but when life deals him a deck of unlucky cards we see Allen’s acting skills come to fruition. He may be stuck in a hospital bed for most of his scenes but his boiling anger and emotional turmoil through recovery are all perfectly communicated by Allen’s expressions and gestures.
At the same time, Ty, played by Carson Rowland, undergoes a transformation, growing into a mature adult through a journey that Rowland portrays accurately. Rowland is seen thoroughly enjoying playing such an evolved version of Ty and opposite Garcia, he acts out some of his best scenes. The two had great chemistry and easy banter that adds an emotional undernote to every scene they have together.
Unfortunately, Ty’s love story with Annie falls a bit short and carries a lack of purpose. Season 1 focused on the childhood friends to lovers trope, but Season 2 sadly pulls away from the beloved storyline.
Women Are Celebrated and Accurately Portrayed
It is easy to diminish the role of a woman lead, much less three, but ‘Sweet Magnolias’ does that partake in that for even one second. It is entirely dedicated to accurately portraying the Big 3 and even more importantly, portrayed them in a way that middle-aged women in TV never are. They are adult and complex and multi-layered humans, more than just their kids or jobs, they have strengths and weaknesses and new dreams and new loves. It proves that life is always changing, even for the Big 3 who thought for a while that growing up meant abandoning all your dreams and lifelong goals.
The men themselves are well written as well. They are likable, enjoyable and fairly handsome counterparts to JoAnna, Brooke, Heather and Jamie. But, we digress, the women are the ones who take the cake for ‘Sweet Magnolias’ and shine in every episode and scene.
Emotional heartbreak, messy love stories, family drama and friends that are blood – ‘Sweet Magnolias’ is the perfect binge watch for you this weekend. It encapsulates so many different aspects of adulthood and parenting and just being authentically you that it’s impossible not to love. So whether you relate to Maddie’s break from her toxic ex or Dana Sue Sullivan’s journey with her daughter, ‘Sweet Magnolias’ has something sweet for everyone.
Streaming on Netflix right now!
Directors: Norman Buckley | Writers: Sheryl J. Anderson, Anthony Epling, Caron Tschampion, Sherryl Woods | Cinematography: Brian Johnson | Editors: Daria Ellerman
By Mireille Karadanaian
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Mireille Karadanaian is an entertainment journalist, whose passion for reviewing upcoming TV shows and movies has existed since a young age. She writes reviews and feature entertainment stories for The Hollywood Insider’s inclusive and authentic platform, contributing to the important stories being told in media today. Mireille loves discussing the impact today’s media is making on younger generations who emulate what they see on screen and the Internet, a double-edged sword. Her stories often include the importance of creating content that inspires inclusion, positivity, and productive messages to all audiences and generations. Mireille’s love of covering TV shows, movies, and exciting questions that are being asked in the media world is seen in her writing and her ability to not just report facts but also tell a story.