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Series / Sweet Magnolias

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Sweet Magnolias is a Netflix romantic drama developed by Sheryl J. Anderson and based on the Sweet Magnolias series of novels by Sherryl Woods.

JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Brooke Elliott, and Heather Headley star as Maddie, Dana Sue, and Helen, three South Carolina women who have been best friends since childhood.

The series premiered on May 19, 2020. A 10-episode second season was ordered in July 2020 and premiered on February 4, 2022.


Contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Kyle is upset with his parents' divorce in the novels, but the series takes his angst up a notch, culminating in the car accident in the first season's finale.
  • Adapted Out: In the novels, Annie has a life-threatening eating disorder, which forces Dana Sue to bring Ronnie back to Serenity. In the series, Annie doesn't have an eating disorder and Dana Sue seeks out Ronnie for financial reasons related to her restaurant.
  • Affair? Blame the Bastard: Averted, as Maddie attempts to keep her relationship with Noreen amicable since Noreen's daughter will be a half-sibling to Maddie's children.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • The first season ends with the women gathering at the scene of a serious car accident. While the car belongs to Ty and the women see an unconscious Kyle removed from the wreckage, the episode ends without revealing who else was in the car or their condition. The second season premiere reveals it was Nellie.
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    • The second season ends with several unanswered questions. Who is the woman from the Magnolias' past caught on video vandalizing Dana Sue's van? Will Helen accept Ryan's marriage proposal? What will happen to Cal, after losing his coaching job at the hands of Mary Vaughn and getting arrested?
  • Feuding Families: Due to the Magnolias' efforts to recall the Mayor, Mary Vaughn Lewis forbids her kids from socializing with any of Maddie or Dana Sue's offspring. This is unfortunate timing for the budding relationships between Nellie and Kyle, as well as Jackson and Annie.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jackson, who is largely a Jerk Jock and Ty's rival through the first season, shows his more redeeming qualities, such as helping Annie with her church's Vacation Bible School, through the second season. It works, as they are dating by the end of the season.
  • Love Across Battlelines: Although forbidden by his mother to socialize with Annie, Jackson openly defies Mary Vaughn and promises Annie that he won't let their parents keep them apart.
  • Love Triangle:
    • In the first season, between Maddie's sons, Ty and Kyle, and Dana Sue's daughter, Annie. In the second season, Kyle has moved on, but the triangle evolves to Annie, Ty, and Jackson.
    • The second season finale takes the triangle between Helen, Ryan, and Erik to another level when Ryan unexpectedly proposes to Helen.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: It's revealed in the second season that Isaac's birth father is Bill, who didn't know he got Peggy Martin pregnant in high school.
  • My Beloved Smother: Peggy Martin may be the face of the local newspaper, but it’s her influential mother who is clearly calling the shots behind the scenes.
  • Plot-Inciting Infidelity: The series begins with Maddie and Bill in court for their divorce proceedings, brought upon by Bill cheating on Maddie with Noreen, a nurse at his practice.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: In the second season finale, Nellie meets up with Kyle to end their relationship, as her mother has forbidden her from socializing with Maddie or Dana Sue's families due to the recall.
  • Sweet Home Alabama: Or Serenity, South Carolina, more precisely.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Maddie gives one to Bill after he shares that he is Isaac’s father.
  • Unpleasant Parent Reveal: Looking for answers about Isaac's birth mother based on clues she left, Helen and Isaac visit Peggy Martin to search the newspaper archives. Peggy quickly deduces from the clues that Isaac is the son she gave up and is so upset that she bolts out of the room.