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Advanced Hart of Dixie Review: Alabama, Here We Come!

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Hart of Dixie is not snarky like Gossip Girl, nor will it conclude with jaw-dropping cliffhangers and bloody deaths like The Vampire Diaries.

Following an advanced screening of the Hart of Dixie premiere, how would I describe this new CW fare? Scott Porter took exception to my earlier classification of the series as "cute," so how about "comfortable?" Maybe "endearing?"

It's a show based around characters, the choices they make, the directions in which their lives have gone and the ways in which they deal with subsequent surroundings, relationships and consequences. There's also an alligator named Burt Reynolds.

Hart of Dixie Series Premiere Scene

The pilot spends most of its 44 minutes setting the scene. It's heavy on exposition: Dr. Zoe Hart is forced to work in a practice left to her by the mysterious Harley Wilkes in order to improve her bedside manner and earn a residency in NYC.

George Tucker is the local lawyer who has lived in the big city, but prefers the quiet sunsets of Alabama. Lemon Breeland is his fiancee, your basic southern belle at first glance - but this is where it would be a mistake to judge the show, or the characters, too soon.

There's clearly a lot more to Lemon.

She has a history with Mayor (and former four-time, totally should have been five-time, Pro Bowl linebacker) Levon Hayes, but it's a secret one and it's one Jaime King has made clear we'll learn more about. Why can't they be together? Is it a matter of race? Background?

With so much time dedicated to character introduction on the premiere, Hart of Dixie didn't delve deeply into anyone aside from Zoe, but that's fine. I've heard that patience is a virtue. I'm as happy to take my time in getting to know Lemon, George and Levon Hayes as Levon Hayes is in talking in the third person about Levon Hayes. That cracked me up.

Throw in Zoe's HBO references and there's a nice mix of comedy and drama here.

Zoe at Work

Zoe is clearly a confident woman, but she's had her world torn apart in a matter of days. First, professionally, via the news that she didn't qualify for her dream residency; and then personally, via the shocker that Dr. Wilkes is her father. Thank goodness for that twist. It seemed far too contrived for the premise of the show to hinge on a stranger leaving Zoe his practice.

The cast, meanwhile, is simply phenomenal. It's my favorite of any new show this fall.

I adored Bilson's humor on The OC (you might still catch me belting out "California, here we come!" when it comes up on my iPod); Porter's versatility on Friday Nights Lights and The Good Wife (I recently re-watched episode two of FNL and the scene where Coach Taylor talks with Porter's Jason Street in the hospital? Just incredible.); and Cress Williams' basketball skills on Beverly Hills, 90210. Also loved him on Friday Night Lights this season. He's one of the more emotive actors out there.

Overall, the Hart of Dixie premiere was pretty much what I expected. It drove home the point of how Zoe is a fish out of water, flopping around in a town that is as far away from where she hoped to be as possible. Based on the bits we learned about George and Lemon and Levon, though, it's clear that all characters have interesting stories behind how they ended up in Bluebell.

And if the opener is akin to a quick check-up, I'm excited to make future appointments and receive a more in-depth examination.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (131 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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I did think the pilot was nice. I think Rachel Bilson portrayed the spoiled New Yorker who cares more about her career than for her patients just perfectly. Honestly, she did such a fabulous job with it, that I am curious how she will do in later episodes after getting settled a little bit more. Right now, I am not sure I see it. But that might just be her being a brilliant actress fooling me. I will continue watching - that is for sure. Unfortunately I have to agree with Kat 100%: I would have loved to see more of Nicholas Pryor (who portrayed her characters real father). It was awesome to see Tim Matheson again (who I have missed really since he left The West Wing). And Nancy Travis? AWESOME - unfortunately she will be replaced and I will miss her alot in this show. She fit in very well. Anyways, just my 2 cents (well... more like 12 dollars and change as much as I wrote, but you know what I mean).

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I love it! Can't wait to see more. The story line is refreshing.

Fortyseven

Great. Lemon is not a name. Your name matched your dress haha! Bilson makes the show and the rest are promising. I watched Whitney and New Girl early because they were available online.

Runlikemad

I loved the pilot! Witty and cute, Rachel Bilson really fits this role. The heart-warming moments are so touching and not at all soppy. It reminds me of a modern day Dr.Quinn. An excellent start to what I hope will be a great new series.

Danforcella

This Nashvillian loved the back to back country hits from Darius Rucker and Sugarland...oh and Rachel Bilson was extremely charming throughout. I'm all in on Hart of Dixie.

Shaunieb

I really liked it....I don't know if it's because it's different from my usual TV viewing or if it's because I find Bilson such an endearing actress but I think that this could be a really good show.
I hope this could be a new Gilmore Girls!!

Aries93

Rachel Bilson has me sold! Count me in for Dr. Zoe Hart's future adventures! :D

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I watched the show last night. It was so good! It had alot of heart, and really set the characters and story line up nicely. There are definitely going to be some interesting things going on. Rachel Bislon was perfect. She was in true Summer Roberts fashion, quick-witted and adorable. I have very high hopes for this show and it is now being recorded on my dvr every week.

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Loved the pilot! Rachel Bilson is just so perfect at playing this type of role. All of the characters immediately seem interesting to me. The mayor is hilarious and Wade & George are definite cuties! Only 2 things I don't like. Lemon's name is Lemon. Seriously?! I cringed every time it was said. Also, I don't like that Harley is dead. He's such a cute, old man and now knowing that he is Zoe's father I want to see scenes with them!! But obviously his being dead is an important plot to the whole show. I'll definitely be tuning in next week!

Leigh-r

I loved it. I'm into the cast (OC + FNL = amazing) and I like the setting. It has an old WB drama feel, back in the Felicity, Everwood days. It's nice to see something like that again. This will be added to my DVR!

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