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Hart of Dixie 1x01: Pilot

Posted on the 29 September 2011 by Tvgeek @TVGeek_blog

Hart of Dixie 1x01: Pilot

Original Air Date: 26 September 2011

Storyline: Fast-talking New Yorker Zoe Hart has her life all figured out until she is turned down for a prestigious fellowship she had been certain she would get. Desperate, she decides to finally accept the offer of a kindly stranger, Dr. Harley Wilkes, whom she met at her medical school graduation, and who had proposed she join his small medical practice in Bluebell, Alabama.Trivia: The character of Emmeline 'Mrs. H' Hattenbarger is set to be written out of the series after two episodes, as Nancy Travis, who was set to play the role, is committed to the newly picked up ABC comedy Last Man Standing. In Travis's place, Eisa Davis will join the series as Addy Pickett, a character who will play a similar mentor role for Rachel Bilson's character, Zoe.Best Quote:

George: Have you ever heard of bedside manner?
Zoe: Why is everyone so obsessed with that?
George: 'Cause it's nice!

Review: I've put this show on my fall watchlist on a whim. I've always had a soft spot for Rachel Bilson ever since I've seen her in The O.C., a show I haven't watched regularly, but enough to develop a crush for her. 

The premise of this series in not very original, but it worked before: a big city professional who strikes out and seeks a new opportunity in a small town, where she stands out like a sore thumb. Zoe Hart is a young doctor who thought she had it all: the perfect boyfriend and the perfect job. But when both of these are taken away because she is more concerned about surgery than expressing her feelings, she has to find another way to accomplish her dreams and accepts the job offer from a small town GP, Dr. Harley Wilkes. But things are not easy for her in Bluebell, Alabama, either: her benefactor is dead, she shares her practice with another doctor, who wants Bluebell all to himself and she stumbled upon a web of deceit despite the town's warm appearance. 
There's no real development in the pilot. It wasn't a surprise that Zoe decided to stay in Bluebell, despite everyone, her mother included, wanted her to leave. So, mainly, it focuses on setting the scene and the characters. 
I've instantly fell in love with Zoe herself. She talks fast, has a great sense of style that clashes with the surroundings, her lack of bedside manners is amusing and I wouldn't want her to lose that very soon and she makes mistakes like making out with the town stud. She's a big city girl from head to toe and it will be entertaining to watch her trying to adapt to an unknown environment. I love her muttered "wow"s every time she sees something that doesn't quite fit in the 21st century and the way she keeps addressing everyone by their first name.
The other characters are very well cast. The only regret I have is that Nancy Travis will not be around for long, as she has another show she is committed to. Both Scott Porter (George Tucker) and Wilson Bethel (Wade Kinsella) are very attractive in different ways, it's the nice vs. the bad boy. I can see why Zoe ended up making out with Wade while drunk. Sin City's Jaime King, who also played in an episode of The O.C. with Rachel Bilson, pulls the part of Lemon Breeland very well - she's not only Zoe's partner's daughter, but also George Tucker's fiance and seems to have had a history with Bluebell's mayor, Levon Hayes (who, incidentally, talks about himself in the third person and has a pet alligator by the name of Burt Reynolds). Tim Matheson works great as the tough Dr. Brick Breeland.
The action got a little predictable towards the end, with Wilkes turning out to be Zoe's real father, but I was expecting that. Nevertheless, I've been left wanting to find out more of the town's drama, especially the one involving Lemon and the mayor. 
What works so far: As I said above, the cast is great. There's not one single character that I found boring so far and they all seem to have interesting pasts that are just waiting to be revealed at the right time. I also like the southern feel of it all - from the set to the lighting. The comedy mixed in the drama is refreshing, I've always liked Rachel Bilson's comedic timing, so add to that her New Yorker humor and you get lines like "Well, you tell Daddy that if my medical career hasn't been killed by my mother or the Chief of Surgery at New York Hospital, it most certainly won't be by some Southern xenophobe dressed up like a stick of butter" or her HBO references.
What doesn't quite work: I would hate it if Zoe would continue to narrate the story from the next episode onward. It worked to set the character and the environment, but it will become annoying if this goes on. I hated it on Sex and the City and I will do the same here. The music was a tad too loud sometimes. I'm not against using country music in a show set in Alabama, but the volume shouldn't be as loud as to drown the dialogue, and it does that enough in the pilot to make me notice it. The show has the feel of a soap opera, I hope it doesn't turn into some kind of Desperate Housewives eventually.
What do you think about Hart of Dixie? Will you keep watching it?
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