Sweet Magnolias is one of those series which I faced with trepedation, but I’ll give anything a go.
Would it be anything like the drippy 1989 chick flick, Steel Magnolias? Okay, that was Louisiana and this is South Carolina, but speaking as someone in the UK, both are the same to me. Either way, as this is effectively, a chick flick series, all the main, strong characters are women, whereas men are all bar-stewards.
Maddie (JoAnna Garcia Swisher) is in the process of splitting from Bill (Chris Klein), who’s evil because he is a MAN! And he fancies another WOMAN! (Noreen – Jamie Lynn Spears) And he’s got her PREGNANT! Yes! PREGNANT! And they’re both religious and HOW DARE HE!!!
Anyhoo, Maddie and her lawyer, Helen (Heather Headley), go to a bar for a drink to relax, the bar being owned by their best friend, Dana Sue (Brooke Elliott), who bucks the trend of being a slim-armed and toned gym-bunny, by being the token plus-size character in the cast. Plus, if can’t be doing too well, because this bar is more empty than every TV studio right now! However, that still doesn’t stop the financially-unwise plan for the three of them buy a big house and run a spa from it… as you do.
Along the way, Dana Sue (why does she need two first names?) is upset because her daughter (who works at her bar) disrespects the town by taking picture of possums and posting them on the internet… errr.. pardon?!
Also, she fires sous chef Brad because he drinks while he’s on the job, later telling Helen, “I will not have a man who lies to me in my kitchen… or my life!!!”
When Noreen introduces herself at church to the pastor (another strong, female figure), she gives her name as “Noreen Fitzgibbons“. Okay, so that’s her name, but who gives their surname when being introduced briefly to someone new? You’d just say your first name!
Maddie’s mum says to her, “I’m so sorry that life is kicking you in the fanny, right now”. I know in the US, ‘fanny’ means ‘bottom’, but in the UK, it means… erm… your FRONT bottom! Bleah!
Sweet Magnolias is all “rich people’s problems”, and in this world. everyone is mega-religious, and all men aren’t worth the time it takes to begin a conversation with them.
In fact, I feel like I’m in some drug-induced psychosis, watching the worst soap opera ever made, with acting that makes the BBC’s Eldorado look like Oscar-winning material.
Netflix make a lot of great series and films, but Sweet Magnolias truly is the low point of all TV.
Sweet Magnolias is not available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but is on Netflix now.
Episode 1 Score: 0/10
Series Directors: Norman Buckley, Laura Nisbet
Producer: Matt Drake
Creator: Sheryl J Anderson
Novels: Sherryl Woods
Writers: Francesca Butler, Anthony Epling, Shelley Meals, Caron Tschampion
Music: James Jandrisch
Maddie Townsend: JoAnna Garcia Swisher
Dana Sue Sullivan: Brooke Elliott
Helen Decatur: Heather Headley
Kyle Townsend: Logan Allen
Annie Sullivan: Anneliese Judge
Tyler ‘Ty’ Townsend: Carson Rowland
Cal Maddox: Justin Bruening
Bill Townsend: Chris Klein
Noreen Fitzgibbons: Jamie Lynn Spears
Erik Whitley: Dion Johnstone
Isaac Downey: Chris Medlin
Gabe Weatherspoon: Al-Jaleel Knox
CeCe Matney: Harlan Drum
Jackson Lewis: Sam Ashby
Trotter Vidhyarkorn: Hunter Burke
Katie Townsend: Bianca Berry Tarantino
Harlan Bixby: Frank Oakley III
Ryan Wingate: Michael Shenefelt
Mary Vaughn Lewis: Allison Gabriel
Peggy Martin: Brittany L Smith
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.