Alice Oscura – Featured Writer
Recently with all the apocalyptic events going on in the world, it becomes more and more important to be able to disconnect and chill out with something that doesn’t add to the heaviness in the atmosphere. It is nice when you can watch something that is lighthearted, fun and binge worthy. That’s what you get with Netflix’s Sweet Magnolias. The show’s dynamic is not only wholesome but, gives us a chance to enjoy some good old fashioned romance.
The show stars JoAnna Garcia Swisher (Reba & Once Upon A Time), Brooke Elliott (Drop Dead Diva) and Heather Headley (Chicago Med). It’s about three women from a small town called Serenity in South Carolina that have been best friends since childhood, and they see each other through the ups and downs of life. Now that you‘be got the gist of it, let’s get into the Top 5 reasons that you should watch Sweet Magnolias:
#5 Trinidadian-born Actress is the Glue that Holds the Magnolias Together
Heather Headley is from my own soil of Trinidad and Tobago although she migrated to America in 1989 where she has become quite successful as a singer, songwriter, record producer and actress. She is the holder of a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical and a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album. It’s always good when we Trinis can see one of our own and point them out on the big screen. Here Heather stars as Helen Decatur, an accomplished attorney that decided to return to her hometown of Serenity because she knew that she needed to help not only her town to progress but to also be there for her best friends Maddie (JoAnna Garcia Swisher) and Dana Sue (Brooke Elliot).
Helen seems to be the most stable in the trio and is always willing to lend a hand to her friends whether it be professionally or emotionally. Her character is extremely confident and efficient and if Helen sets her sights on something there’s no stopping her. Anyone would be lucky to have her in their corner and to me she seemed to represent the virtual glue that holds the trio together. And she is still not afraid to show them (and only them) her softer, more vulnerable side. One of the best characters in the show in my opinion.
#4 Backstories and Character Development
It’s been quite a long time that a show has actually managed to get me interested in not only the back stories of the main characters, but the supporting cast as well. There are mysteries to be uncovered and developing during the season that has the audience (including myself) clamouring for more. The pacing is pretty decent, revealing just enough and not too much at a time. It’s also an excellent slow build of establishing a good relationship between the characters and the audience.
When, it comes to this type of genre, romance-drama, you need to establish that personal touch from the get-go in order for your audience to accept the characters and the inter-relationships on screen. You need the character backgrounds to be believable and not so preposterous that you are unable to connect and get absorbed in the emotions of the moment with them.
#3 Likeable Cast with Values and Excellent Romantic Chemistry
It’s always good when a show has a great cast of characters that are likeable, and you are excited to see them appear on the screen without groaning and fast-forwarding to the next scene. The adults and kids including the teenagers are pretty decent people for the most part. They are shown going to church and partaking regularly in community events. The parents are actively involved in their children’s lives and attend school events. This is portrayed is such a way where it’s interesting and relaxing to see and not at all boring or drawn out. Of course, there are few things that stir up the gossip in normal small-town life, but the main cast have shown that they are above it. The trio of friends are shown taking care of each other’s kids and supporting each other even financially if they have to. And seeing such a great friendship dynamic that is free of malice is quite a refreshing change from the confusion and mess of daytime soap operas.
The female leads and their love interests, or potential love interests in some cases, have excellent on-screen chemistry. But the couple that’s got the most steam is Maddie and Cal Maddox (Justin Bruening). Their chemistry is almost instantaneous without beating the audience over the head and shoving it in our faces every two seconds. Sometimes, it’s just in a look without much dialogue and sometimes it’s a one liner that gets the ladies weak in the knees because Justin Bruening is one hottie!
#2 Colorful Palettes from Set Design to Costuming
Now that I am back from a cold shower let’s get back into it. The set designs are colorful and pleasing to the eyes, from the designs of the interior and exterior of the houses to the businesses such as Dana Sue’s restaurant Sullivan’s, and the Corner Spa that is run by the trio. The design of the front porch for Maddie’s house is absolutely breathtaking and the sequences showing the design of the town and the small farms are also enjoyable to watch. It gave me a few ideas for my future home (some day soon, wink wink).
The fashion is not dated but is suitable for small town life. Helen’s outfits are professional but still fit into the theme of operating in a small town, so no stuffy three-piece suit extra. Dana Sue is also dressed tastefully in plus-sized fashion with colours that complement the actress’s skin tone and her always present smokey eye makeup. Maddie is dressed the cutest because she’s super tiny like a doll, so they tend to use very girly colors for her wardrobe.
Thankfully, the series has been renewed for a second season but, not without a few pretty jaw-dropping cliffhangers. They were executed from left field but decent enough to give you withdrawals until the show’s return. Without revealing too much information to be deemed as spoilers, what I can say is that someone gets involved in a terrible accident. But only one victim is identified to the audience while the other person is not shown and the screen fades to black. Before that, a bombshell is dropped on one of the trio that may involve something that she did secretly in the past that has now found its way to Serenity threatening to upset the apple cart. Another person leaves town and it’s unclear as to whether or not they will return. Some real juicy stuff that we have to look forward to in the upcoming season.
Sweet Magnolias is worthy of an all-girls sleepover Netflix binge night with lots of popcorn and possibly a few boxes of tissues.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump.
I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. You can find me as Dark Alice Reviews on Facebook, my Instagram is alice_oscura and my Twitter handle is @lise_veliz2. For more on me you can click here.