It shouldn’t be controversial to say that the third season of Sweet Magnolias wasn’t the hit Netflix original’s strongest showing. Returning after another extended hiatus (over a year compared to the nearly two-year hiatus after season 1), season 3 eschewed the season 2 finale cliffhangers for a much more settled and slower-paced season, which, for a show that’s already a breezy Hallmark Channel-esque romantic drama, isn’t always ideal.
For the diehard viewers, it’s another season well spent with interesting characters and extensive monologues full of platitudes and maudlin emotion. But if you’re looking for some heft to the 10-episode season, most of which surpass the 50-minute mark, season 3 doesn’t really provide that. Compared to the previous two seasons, this one was (for lack of a better word) boring. I mean, there’s not even a cliffhanger at the end of the season finale.
Throughout the season, there’s relationship drama, friendship drama, family drama, and all kinds of interpersonal dramas between the characters. Somehow, that doesn’t necessarily amount to a season of television that accomplishes much story-wise. The fight between Maddie, Helen, and Dana Sue was one of the most intriguing aspects of the season, though one could wonder whether doing that kind of storyline now, given season 4 is happening, was too soon.
Like its fellow Netflix guilty pleasure romantic drama Virgin River, the pacing isn’t of the breakneck variety, leaving certain scenes and stories to drag on no matter how compelling the performances are from JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Heather Headley, and Brooke Elliott. Still, Sweet Magnolias does what it sets out to do which is to entertain and inspire an audience who adores the genre. Perhaps season 4 will be inspired to really entertain.
Written by Reed Gaudens