In the last of CW's fall premieres, the network tries to recapture some of the small town charm of former WB hit Gilmore Girls by transplanting the winsome Rachel Bilson to the so-quaint-it-has-to-be-fictional town of Bluebell, Alabama. Despite a very alluring cast, Hart of Dixie is just a little too cute for its own good.
Dr. Zoe Hart (Bilson) has dreams of becoming a thoracic surgeon like her father. Part of her plan to achieve that dream involves winning a competitive fellowship, but even though she's a talented doctor, she loses the opportunity because of ice cold bedside manner. An advisor suggest that Zoe spend a year working as a general practitioner to gain a softer hand with patients. At her graduation, she had been offered a position in Alabama from, Harley, a kind old man she'd never met before. She turned the offer down at the time, but now she's decided to take it, leaving behind Manhattan for Bluebell. What proceeds is a lot of fish-out-of-water/city-girl-in-a-small-town slapstick that's been depicted before in a lot of bad movies. In addition to not fitting in, Zoe finds that's she's not wanted anymore, either as Harley has passed away and his partner isn't interested in sharing the practice with her, and Doc blocks her with patients.
In the hands of a less endearing actress, Zoe Hart would be an extremely difficult woman to love. She's outright rude to several of the Bluebell citizens she comes in contact with. At several points, she's seems an inch away from throwing herself on the ground and throwing a tantrum about no longer being in New York City. If it weren't for Bilson's charm, I probably would've been throwing things at the screen halfway through the episode. The supporting is also very winning including Friday Night Lights actors Scott Porter and Cress Williams and the lovely Jaime King. So much of the pilot episode relies on cutesy plot turns that are either blatantly telegraphed or just too convenient, making it difficult to every invest fully in the story it's telling.
Hart of Dixie premieres Monday 8pm on CW.