When you are down and out, all you sometimes need in life is a nudge in the right direction to lift your spirits. And Netflix series Sweet Magnolias does exactly that. It is a show about three women who celebrate the choices they make. Based on the books penned by Sherryl Woods, the web series features JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Brooke Elliott and Heather Headley in the lead roles.
Salvaging a predictable premise
Yes, feminism is the flavour of the season (and so it should be for all the seasons to come). And yes, complaining about having strong female protagonists at the helm of a big show is a sin, but what if the background the story is set in seems familiar and therefore repetitive? What do you do then? Why, go the Sweet Magnolias way, of course. Women leading lives they want to lead might seem a little overdone on the screen, but what saves the day for Sweet Magnolias is the portrayal of these women. While strong, our ladies in charge are ‘not always in charge.’ They are not faultless or beyond reproach. They have their insecurities which they do not recognise or embrace immediately.
Sometimes preachy, all times wonderful
The setting is idyllic. It is a small town with its big-little problems which get solved in due time. However, while doing so, the makers, at times, get a tad bit preachy. Appealing to the lord in every other sentence can also get tiresome after a while, but Sweet Magnolias miraculously makes it work. In fact, the point that jumped out at me was this — how many times have we seen god-fearing protagonists who are also modern, thinking people? Balancing this religious, traditional aspect with the current times is no easy feat and one that the web series does with grace and compassion.
An enjoyable slice-of-life drama
Maddie, Dana Sue and Helen’s friendship is entertaining and their tradition of pouring their hearts out over a few glasses of margaritas will have you craving for the drink and the healthy bond. Each of these characters have their separate storylines which blends together and forms the backbone of the script in the most wonderful ways. At the start of the show, Maddie is dealing with a broken marriage, while Helen nurses the dream of parenting. Dana Sue has her own ‘kitchen issues’ to deal with (she is the chef and owner of a local restaurant). Dana and Maddie’s children are teenagers who have their fair share of struggles to tackle. All this and more adds to the show’s complexity. But of course, in a good way.
Precise and pacy
As is the case with so many movies and shows these days, the pace is never an issue with Sweet Magnolias. Consisting of ten episodes, the duration of which lasts for about fifty minutes or so, Sweet Magnolias is as pacy as it gets. You don’t want to take a break because you know there is more of that delicious drama waiting for you on the other side. Despite the episodes lasting for almost an hour each, you don’t feel exhausted, mainly because the show evolves realistically whilst keeping its entertainment quotient intact.
Developed by Sheryl J Anderson, Sweet Magnolias is streaming on Netflix.
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