Fall TV Preview

Can Hart of Dixie Charm CW Viewers? 'You Don't Have to Be Scandalous to Be Cool,' Says Star

The CW in recent years has hosted some intrinsically thrilling series (the bloodthirsty Vampire Diaries, superheroic Smallville, kick-ass Nikita). But save for the unceremoniously axed Life Unexpected, few provided the old-school feel-goodness associated with the netlet’s predecessor, The WB. We’re talking Gilmore Girls, Everwood, shows that delivered wholesome happiness each week.

Enter Hart of Dixie, premiering Monday at 9/8c. But can this Southern-fried charmer hook CW viewers more accustomed to edgy fare?

Fall TV First Impression: Hart Of Dixie Serves Up Rachel Bilson, Southern Comforts

Hart of Dixie is a throwback to the old WB,” attests Scott Porter, who plays good ol’ boy lawyer George Tucker (Friday Night Lights). “And I really think that America needs something like that again. It’s a void we’re happily filling.”

Starring The O.C.‘s Rachel Bilson as an ambitious New York doctor who (somewhat reluctantly) inherits a medical practice in Alabama, Dixie is “not a commentary on current world issues,” says Jaime King (aka Southern belle Lemon Breeland). “Hart of Dixie is where you want to go to be entertained, to escape. You don’t have to be this scandalous show to be cool. We need to see a healthy side of life on TV, too.”

Exclusive: Hart of Dixie Snags Episodes/Chuck Actress Mircea Monroe

Dixie indeed delivers on that promise. Here is how else the dramedy stands apart from the rest of The CW’s fare.

GORGEOUS STARS… SURROUNDED BY SOUTHERN COMFORTS | Imagine Gilmore Girls with cowboy boots — that’s what you get in Dixie. “Where we differ from the rest of television is that we are set in the South and like to take our time with things,” Porter tells us. “Relationships on our show are well-built and they’re real, developing at a very slow burn.” Also Gilmore-y, says Wilson Bethel (who plays bad boy Wade), are the town of Blue Bell’s big events. “So far we’ve had gumbo cook-offs, pancake breakfasts, turtle races…,” he shares with a laugh. Adds King, “It’s so cool to have something on TV that is like Everwood … with so much heart.”

LOVE TRIANGLES… THAT ARE KINDA SWEET | In Dixie‘s debut, Zoe meets (and instantly is drawn to) George, who is engaged to Lemon, who has unfinished romantic business with [SPOILER!], while Wade has a bit of a crush on Zoe…. Got all that? But it’s far less sordid than it sounds. (Meaning, it’s no Stelena/Dalena situation.) “There’s a natural chemistry between Zoe and George because he understands her,” Porter explains. “But moving forward, you’re going to see a lot more of George and Lemon and why they really do make sense together. Their love is real.” Bethel meanwhile refuses to be intimidated by his on-camera rival. “I will tell you that I believe Wade will win [Zoe’s] heart in the end,” he teases with a laugh. “That is my solemn belief. Let Scott Porter try me!”

Hart of Dixie Exclusive: Rachel Bilson Gets a New Ally, to Replace Nancy Travis

CATFIGHTS… THAT ARE LEMON-FLAVORED | While Zoe and Lemon don’t see eye-to-eye, don’t expect any Upper East Side-worthy brawls. “Zoe’s like a tornado coming in destroying everything Lemon cares about,” King previews, “so it’s this big culture clash.” The real issue between the two is that they simply don’t understand each other — though King says that there’s hope for a future friendship, if only because “they’re actually very similar.” Fun fact: King and Bilson have been friends for eight years, so “it’s like working with a sister,” she gushes. “It is the most graceful relationship I’ve ever had onscreen — and in real-life.”

LIFE-AND-DEATH STAKES!… WHICH OCCASIONALLY INVOLVE REPTILES! | Supernatural has the Devil. Hart of Dixie has… Burt Reynolds? (That’s the name of a big, lumbering crocodile who patrols Blue Bell at night and gives Zoe a scare in the opener.) “They’re going to be in some silly situations that are really fun to play,” Porter reports with a laugh, “whether it’s with an alligator or a snake or a bullfrog…. We have a lot of reptiles and amphibians on the show!” But there’s a method to the creepy-crawly madness, too. “These events provide stolen moments here and there for Zoe and George. They have such an easygoing rapport, and that’s going to continue. They really just get each other.”

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Jackie says:

    Saw the pilot and was disappointed in just how unimpressed I was :/
    We’ll see if it picks up in coming weeks, but I think calling it a throwback to classic WB material isn’t very accurate…

    • Erin says:


      I could not agree with you more. I saw the pilot over the summer and bolted out of the room as soon as it ended. I wanted to like it, given how much I like Rachel Bilson, Scott Porter, and Jaime King, but it was obnoxious and Rachel Bilson did not seem to be invested in the character at all. At times, I felt like she was acting in a way that she knew the show would eventually end so she didn’t want to get invested in it.

    • lorna says:

      It looked terrible. Sorry Bilson, this one is most likely a goner.

  2. Dave says:

    Not gonna watch this crap, that’s all I’m sayin’

  3. evs says:

    The pilot is awful. I used to be a fan of Bilson, but not anymore. She cannot sell being a doctor. Her voice fluctuates when she gets to say the especially hard core lines.

  4. Katie says:

    I’m going to watch it for Rachel… I hope it will be better than it looks…

  5. Erin says:

    I like this show! I said about 5 minutes in that it reminded me of Sweet Home Alabama and it seriously does.. it definitely has that small town charm but I agree with people that say it’s difficult to buy Rachel Bilson as a doctor.

  6. Mal says:

    Watched the pilot off iTunes last night, and I’ve got to say, I don’t see what the reviewers are seeing. I think it was horribly miscast- maybe it would be a good show with a different lead, but with Rachel Bilson, who I do enjoy usually, it just felt lame and boring. Zero chemistry between her and anyone else, barely chemistry between the other actors- I might give the second episode a chance to see if maybe the pilot was just a bit weak, but I don’t have much hope for this show. It’s not the next Everwood or Gossip Girl or even Life Unexpected- it’s just boring!!

  7. Mikaylah says:

    I liked the pilot. The beginning was the worst part with me, showing Zoe in New York. She was annoying, but I think she got much better once she was in Bluebell. I really liked the chemistry between Zoe and George, and I like the idea of Lemon and [SPOILER]. We shall see… :)

  8. Sivat says:

    I want to do very naughty things to Wilson Bethel. He’s SO HOT!!! He was awesome on Y&R as Ryder Carter. Hopefully he gets to be naked a lot on this show!

  9. Julie says:

    I have not watched the pilot, but I am curious about this show. But to compare it to Everwood is what will truly make me watch this show officially. When show premieres you always have to give it a few episodes before the real mood sets in (and if it’s really meant for you or not) so we’ll see in the upcoming weeks. But I am ready to have a show to watch that’s just a lay back cutezy show (even though my schedule is already full ;) )

  10. alesia says:

    Didn’t watch the show because the fact that they mispronounced the name of the city of Mobile appalled me. Don’t set a show in southern city without bothering to check the pronunciation!!! ( It’s pronounced mow-beel not mow-bull, for the record. or check this link if you don’t believe me: http://www.forvo.com/word/mobile_%28alabama%29/ )

  11. Lauren says:

    I thought the preview of this show was one of the best, along with Smash. Of course that has a lot to do with editing, etc. But really looking forward to the pilot. I hope it’s better than the comments suggest!

  12. Jordan says:

    I’ve seen the pilot as well as the 2nd episode of “Hart of Dixie” and although the pilot takes a minute to tell Zoe’s backstory and establish characters, the second half is REALLY good. People may not see Rachel B. as your typical doctor but that’s kind of the point. She’s a spoiled, snotty New Yorker who’s trying to work on being a nicer person, in turn making her a better doctor. The 2nd episode is AMAZING though! This is a show I’d say is definitely worth watching a few a few episodes before making a decision.

    • Nicole says:

      I went into the pilot with very low expectations, and was completely charmed by it. I agree with those who’ve said that Bilson seems too young to be a doctor (she isn’t, but she comes off like she’s about 22), but in the big medical scene towards the end of the episode, she really sells it, I have to say. I can’t wait to see more. Glad to hear the second episode is even better!

      • tarc says:

        Ditto. I watched it twice, and while Bilson is a little unsteady throughout the pilot, the rest is charming and has lots of potential.

  13. Sheldon says:

    Well, I thought the Pilot was brilliantly done. I loved everything about it: The music, Rachel Bilson and casting of the other actors. I’m actually going to watch it again tonight. Hope this one does well!

  14. Gia says:

    There’s a difference between wholesome and interesting, and wholesome and boring. Gilmore Girls and Everwood were the former. Hart of Dixie is the latter. I could not believe how bad the preview pilot was. This one has stink written all over it. Too bad; I love Rachel Bilson. I will take the CW’s Ringer and Gossip Girl over Hart any day.

  15. Jenny says:

    Wow, comparing this show to Everwood? Are you kidding me right now?! That show was a great quality series this show looks like crap.

  16. Sal says:

    I really wanted to like the show as a huge fan of Rachel Bilson but after seeing the Pilot, I was disappointed. It’s definitely nowhere close to Gilmore Girls. The characters seem lifeless and there’s not much chemistry between the cast.
    I will give it another shot next week and hopefully it will pick up. Disappointed with CW’s choices this year. I had high hopes for both this and Ringer but neither of them are hitting the mark.

  17. Marie says:

    How come you guys have all already seen the pilot?

  18. Samantha says:

    I don’t really get everyones obsession with Rachel Bilson. She’s so painful to watch!

  19. Carrie says:

    I will definitely tune in to see what this show is like. It does seem to have that old school WB vibe and I really like Scott Porter. I think people should give it a chance beyond the pilot episode. Pilots are difficult because there’s so much exposition and it’s not an easy task to set just the right tone and introduce brand new characters. You can usually tell a lot more about what the show will be like after the first few episodes.

  20. tp says:

    I just watched it on iTunes. I enjoyed it. It’s just like the article says, a feel good show. It is very reminiscent of Gilmore Girls and Everwood. Maybe not as good yet but I am going to give it a chance to see how good it will get.

  21. christy says:

    I actually LOVED the pilot it was interesting and thats that i never really like rachel bilson

  22. Helen says:

    I fell asleep watching the 5 minute trailer.. I definitely think that Rachel is a miscast! I love her as a stylist, but not as an actress. I think that the show will do poorly.

  23. angel says:

    I love the premise, but don’t love the show. I don’t buy the actors as the characters (what the hell kind of accent are you trying to do Scott Porter?) and I grew up in a small southern town – Bluebell is ridiculous. There were too many cliches and too much voiceover.

  24. Iliketoast says:

    I really really liked the show. The pilot was very enjoyable and I loved Jamie King and the entire cast. (Especially that Wade guy, he’s very cute). There arent many shows around anymore that are laid back and homely like this one. I’ll definitely be tuning in to the next episode.

  25. S says:

    Rachel Bilson trying to act like Christina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy is horrible. I use the term acting very lightly…it seemed like her OC character just grew up and is playing doctor for the day.
    It is completely unbelievable in every way to even hear her spitting out terms that doctors may use. I am sorry people, but I watched for about 5 minutes before I laughed and gave up.
    Fish out of water maybe…people once again mocking the silly southerners. (let’s see how many stereotypes there were in the 1st episode alone: 1. The Belles aka Scarlette wanna be’s 2. Hunting (Don’t bother Daddy when he’s hunting!) 3. Blonde girl marrying the other guy instead of the Mayor (any guesses why?) 4. Football 5. Yankee girl can’t be our doctor 6. I didn’t know I was preggers after 1 time…and he still left me! 7. Horrible fake drawls 8…shall I go on!?

  26. Lola Tate says:

    I watched the whole show and wasn’t anywhere convinced the role was made for Rachel Bilson, truely! She didn’t look like a doctor at all! Maybe a pair of glasses and a little nerdy, I would’ve been a little for it. She does a better of a job being a fashion icon way better! But yeah, Sorry Rachel! All in all its a good show just not the right characters it played out to be. Unoriginal u guyl!

  27. Ella says:

    I totally agree with “S”. The stereotypes were very much exaggerated and the attempts at a southern accent were painful to hear. Above all, the storyline is unbelievable, and Rachel B. Was even more unbelievable in that role.

  28. Cal says:

    This show is horrible. This show is not the late and great shows of classic wb. This show is certainly no everwood or gilmore girls. This show is just plain horrible. It stinking garbage that needs taken out.

  29. Lois says:

    I watched the pilot and Rachel Bilson was amazing. This will be one of those shows that will make you laugh and cry. Love it!!!!!

  30. Gem says:

    I’m a huge fan of Rachel Bilson and personally I don’t get why so many people are dissin’ the show before it’s really had a chance to take off. You can’t judge it by the piloting episode. I really enjoyed the pilot and look forward to more in the future! And as for not thinking she can pull off being a doctor? I’m so please to see a petite powerhouse on tv and the fact that it’s Rachel Bilson makes it so much better. It’s a thumbs up from me!