7 best shows like Sweet Magnolias on Netflix, Freevee and Peacock

Heather Headley as Helen, Brooke Elliott as Dana Sue and Joanna Garcia Swisher as Maddie hug in Sweet Magnolias
(Image credit: Netflix)

Sweet Magnolias has become one of Netflix’s most beloved shows. Season 3 arrived last week and immediately took the No. 1 spot on Netflix’s Top 10 Shows list. The dramedy mixes small-town antics, romance and friendship into an appealing cocktail — one the protagonists, a trio of besties, would happily consume on their regular margarita nights.

Based on the books by Sherryl Woods, Sweet Magnolias follows three South Carolina women who have been best friends since childhood: recently divorced Maddie (JoAnna Garcia Swisher), attorney Helen (Heather Headley) and chef Dana Sue (Brooke Elliott). Every week, they get together to share drinks and discuss the latest developments in their love lives, families and careers.

While Netflix hasn’t announced Sweet Magnolias season 4 yet, it seems likely that fans will get to return to Serenity again. However, it probably won’t be for awhile. In the meantime, here are seven shows like Sweet Magnolias to watch. 

Virgin River

(L, R) Martin Henderson as Jack Sheridan, Alexandra Breckenridge as Mel Monroe in Virgin River season 4

(Image credit: Netflix)

Like Serenity, Virgin River is a close-knit community filled with good-hearted residents. A newcomer enters the mix when midwife and nurse practitioner Mel Monroe (Alexandra Breckinridge) relocates from Los Angeles to start fresh and leave behind painful memories. 

Small town life isn't as simple as she expected, though. She moves into a very, uh, rustic cabin and locks horns with her crotchety boss, Doc Mullins (Tim Matheson). And things get even complicated when she meets the very handsome, very charming bar owner Jack (Martin Henderson), who brings his own baggage to the table.

Watch on Netflix

Chesapeake Shores

Jesse Metcalfe and Meghan Ory in Chesapeake Shores

(Image credit: Hallmark)

Sherryl Woods’ other book series provides the material for this drama about a woman who returns to her small hometown to start over. Abby (Meghan Ory) is a high-powered lawyer in New York City and mother of two daughters. She moves back to Chesapeake Shores after she’s served divorce papers and her younger sister’s inn runs into trouble. 

Like Maddie in Sweet Magnolias, Abby must grapple with her unexpected split, raise her kids and figure out her career path. And there’s an additional complication in the form of Trace (Jesse Metcalfe), her first love whose heart broke when she abruptly left town years ago. They could have a second chance at love, if other obstacles don’t get in their way.

Watch on Peacock or Hallmark Movies Now via Prime Video

Hart of Dixie

(L, R) Wilson Bethel and Rachel Bilson in Hart of Dixie

(Image credit: Mary Evans Picture Library Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo)

Even small towns have villains. In Serenity, it’s mayor’s wife Mary Vaughn Lewis; in Bluebell, Alabama, it’s queen bee Lemon Breeland (Jaime King). When New York City doctor Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson) moves to the area, Lemon is far from welcoming. Her father (Tim Matheson) is the longtime local physician and quite unhappy that Zoe has inherited half the practice. But the bigger sin is that Zoe clearly has chemistry with Lemon’s fiancée George Tucker (Scott Porter). 

As Zoe settles in, she befriends the mayor, Lavon Hayes (Cress Williams), flirts with her neighbor Wade (Wilson Bethel) and sees patients. But she has to remain wary of Lemon, whose big smile and “bless your heart” disguise a ruthless schemer. 

Watch on Freevee

When Calls the Heart

(L, R) Lori Loughlin, Erin Krakow and Daniel Lissing in When Calls the Heart

(Image credit: Hallmark)

Another book adaptation, from the novel by Janette Oke, When Calls the Heart plunks high-society teacher Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow) in a small mining town called Coal Valley in 1910 western Canada. It’s not an easy place to live, lacking the luxuries of her privileged upbringing, but Elizabeth is passionate about teaching and helping students. 

While most of the townspeople are drawn to her kindness, the only exception is Mountie Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing). He finds her irritating — though not for long. As Maddie, Dana Sue and Helen know all too well, the course of true love never does run smooth. And it certainly doesn’t for Elizabeth and Jack. 

Watch on Hallmark Movies Now via Prime Video (all nine seasons) or on Peacock (seasons 7, 8, 9)

Gilmore Girls

(L, r) Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham in Gilmore Girls

(Image credit: AJ Pics / Alamy Stock Photo)

No small town is as charming, quaint and verging on twee as Stars Hollow, home to mother/daughter duo Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel). They’re surrounded by quirky misfits, who give them plenty of fodder for their rapid-fire banter marked by pop culture references. 

Like the Magnolias, the Gilmore girls share a tight bond. They’re extremely close, more like best friends and sisters than mother and daughter. With each other’s support and love, they navigate the ups and downs of their relationships, including Lorelai’s will-they-won’t-they attraction to diner owner Luke (Scott Patterson) and Rory’s love triangle with Dean (Jared Padalecki) and Jess (Milo Ventimiglia). 

Watch on Netflix

Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings

Julianne Hough and Dolly Parton in Dolly Parton's Heartstrings

(Image credit: Netflix)

Eight of the iconic singer’s songs come to life in this anthology series. Female friendship, romance, heartbreak and family troubles are all explored in each unique storyline. Sounds like a sister show to Sweet Magnolias. Plus, the latter’s Brooke Elliott appears in one of the episodes. 

“Jolene” puts a spin on the infamous auburn-haired seductress, whose camaraderie with a frustrated wife shakes up their lives. In “These Old Bones,” a lawyer reconsiders her values while trying to force out a mountain woman out of her home. And then there’s “Cracker Jack,” which reunites four longtime friends for a memorable weekend. 

Watch on Netflix


(L, R) Treat Williams and Gregory Smith in Everwood

(Image credit: Mary Evans Picture Library Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo)

The small-town charm of Everwood is what draws renowned New York City neurosurgeon Andy Brown (Treat Williams) to move there with his two kids. It was a favorite spot of his late wife and a perfect place to grieve and heal. Of course, adjusting to life outside the fast lane takes some time. At first, Andy spars with the prickly local doctor, Harold Abbott (Tom Amandes). But over time, he wins over Harold and the other folksy residents. 

Meanwhile, Andy’s teen son Ephraim (Gregory Smith) embarks on a romantic rollercoaster ride when he develops a crush on Harold’s daughter Amy (Emily VanCamp). Unfortunately, she’s hoping Andy will operate on her comatose boyfriend, who happens to be best friends with her brother Bright (Chris Pratt). 

Watch on Freevee

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Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.