It started off on the wrong foot. Or cowboy boots, I should say.
When the CW show “Hart of Dixie,” starring “The O.C.” actress Rachel Bilson, first aired in November of 2011, it wasn’t a favorite with viewers. According to the website TV Series Finale, the show was almost canceled because of its low ratings. But now, in the middle of its second season, the show is gaining a larger fan base, with its Feb. 26 episode luring in 1.38 million viewers and experiencing a 20% increase in the important 18-49 demographic, according to TV Series Finale.
Produced by Josh Schwartz (“The O.C.,” “Gossip Girl,” and “Carrie Diaries”), among others, the show follows Dr. Zoe Hart (Bilson) who had high hopes of being a heart surgeon in the Big Apple but instead finds herself in Bluebell, Ala. after getting dumped by her boyfriend of eight years and not getting hired for the fellowship of her dreams.
Sure, it sounds a bit like “Sweet Home Alabama” (a movie that you may have once liked, but TBS has played it so many times that you probably can’t stand it now). But unlike that particular chick flick, the show’s “cutesy” factor isn't cloying. It may be a bit cliché, but there’s something about Zoe’s quirky encounters with the small-town residents that make it work.
First there’s her friendship with the town mayor and former NFL linebacker Lavon Hayes (Cress Williams). The two become best friends and Lavon helps Zoe navigate her way through the town. Their relationship is great because there’s never any real drama between them – the two are just a genuine example of a solid friendship.
Then there’s the witty banter between Zoe and her neighbor Wade Kinsella (Wilson Bethel). Wade, who is a bartender, is her complete opposite. Throughout season one, the two are almost always arguing over everything and anything. Eventually, the arguing leads to a mutual attraction and relationship.
If an “opposites attract” scenario doesn’t draw you in, maybe a love triangle will. Although Bluebell resident George is now dating someone new, he left the uptight Lemon Breeland (Jaime King) at the altar during season one because of Zoe. Zoe initially was attracted to George but didn’t think he was ready for a relationship and so began falling for Wade instead. The tension between the three only increases, but we still have yet to see George and Zoe together.
There's usually some drama as well because Bilson’s character almost always clashes with the Southern belles of Bluebell, led by Lemon, as well as Lemon's father Dr. Brick Breeland (Tim Matheson), who shares the practice with Zoe. But the enmity has a refreshing twist – alhough they all dislike each other, they still semi-get along, because it’s a small town and they often run into each other.
So take a chance on “Hart of Dixie.” It’s worth it.