December 16, 2014

SHOWBUZZDAILY Season Premiere (-ish) Review: “Hart of Dixie”


CW is treating Season 4 of HART OF DIXIE as carelessly as its characters tend to treat each other.  The show’s return has been delayed until midseason, moved to the nether reaches of Friday nights, and its order cut to 10 episodes, all of which suggests that although no one is saying so for the record, barring a miracle this will be its final season.  This week, in an additional strange move that was presumably intended to help but may work more like sabotage, the network aired the Season 4 premiere more than 3 weeks before the rest of its episodes, and on its old perch of Monday night, which is guaranteed to confuse at least some fans.  It’s not the most dignified way to exit.

The premiere itself, written by series creator Leila Gerstein and directed by David Paymer, functioned mostly as a set-up for its final few seconds, which established that the key storyline for the season will be the pregnancy of Dr. Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson) by Wade Kinsella (Wilson Bethel), her increasingly responsible ex whom she’d been trying to win back for most of the preceding hour (including via group serenade) after breaking his heart–and, for one critical night, briefly did.  (In an entirely unrelated piece of news, Bilson is pregnant in real life.)  That should serve to focus Hart more than previous seasons, which have tended to center around Zoe dithering between one beau and another.  It’s almost impossible to imagine a candy-colored rom-com like Hart of Dixie concluding with anything other than its heroine happily united with the father of her child, so the only suspense will be how things manage to end up that way.

The rest of Hart‘s premiere was also largely about old romances reigniting.  Brick Breeland (Tim Matheson), Zoe’s slightly cantankerous (but good-hearted) partner in their medical practice, discovered that Shelby (Laura Bell Bundy) had returned to Bluebell, prompting them to become an item again almost instantly.  And although the episode began with Brick’s daughter Lemon (Jaime King) returning from a singles cruise with the ship’s handsome, heroic doctor in tow, devastating both of her exes George Tucker (Scott Porter) and Lavon Hayes (Cress Williams), by the end of the 2-month time gap that the episode covered, it was revealed that Lemon and the doc were just pretending to be romantically involved, clearing the path for George or Lavon.  The only new news was that Crickett (Brandi Burkhardt), who had uncloseted herself at the end of last season, needed a new romantic attachment, and one was provided by way of the hot new trainer of the town’s bumbling volunteer fire brigade.

Once it got past its opening season storyline of Zoe, a transplanted New Yorker, making a fool of herself at every opportunity and alienating all of Bluebell, and shifted into being more of an ensemble romantic roundelay, Hart of Dixie has always been a sweet-natured if not particularly memorable piece of work, carried by a buoyant touch and its charming cast.  It seems likely to leave the same way, if its network will just let it be.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."