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'Hart of Dixie' series premiere: Rachel Bilson’s back!

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Hart Of Dixie Pilot
Michael Tackett/The CW

What do you get when you mix Sweet Home Alabama with The OC and just a hint of Gilmore Girls? A fun new Monday night dramedy, Hart of Dixie.

Rachel Bilson stars as Dr. Zoe Hart, a fresh-out-of-med-school grad from NYC who has life all figured out. She gives a speech so inspiring at her graduation ceremony that a older gentleman, Dr. Harley Wilkes, invites her to come work at his practice in Blue Bell, Alabama. She passes, but four years later, after finding out she won’t be a heart surgeon in NYC until she sees patients as “People to help, not puzzles to solve,” Dr. Hart has a change of heart (See what I did there?) and decides to become a general practitioner for a year. She takes Dr. Wilkes up on his continued offers to move to Alabama and work for him. Will she learn lessons of life and love in the good ol’ South? Bet on it.

Much like Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls, Blue Bell is made up of colorful characters that seem like they’ll be fun to get to know this season. In particular, I’m excited to learn more about town mayor — and former NFL star — Lavon Hayes (Cress Williams) A.) Because I need to know how you go from the NFL to small-town mayor but also B.) He clearly has some serious backstory with Mean Girl/Queen Bee Lemon Breeland (Jamie King) and I’m curious to find out more. The show definitely has that old-school WB feel — and not a supernatural in sight!

There may not be vampires, but this wouldn’t be The CW without some eye candy, and Hart of Dixie has plenty of contenders. My favorite so far  is attorney George Tucker (Scott Porter), the town’s Golden Boy, whom Hart first runs into. He saves her from an alligator named Burt Reynolds and he used to work in NYC, so naturally Hart has got a crush. Major drama: Turns out he’s engaged to Lemon. I spy a triangle!

Wade Kinsella (Wilson Bethel) lives in the other house on the property she’s renting. He wears a wifebeater/plaid shirt combo at one point, so we know he’s a devil-may-care bad boy Zoe is going to want to do bad things to. Sure enough, by the end of the episode, Zoe’s making out with him in his car while “Dixie” plays in the background.  “There it is. Rock bottom. I played ‘Sweet Dixie’ with my butt.”

Besides the guy drama, Zoe is in for a ton of major revelations: Before she arrived, Harley died and left Hart his practice. Or, more accurately, half a practice that is also run by Brick, Lemon’s father who is none too keen on having Hart around. Not one to tolerate an older guy bossing her around, Hart gets to work helping patients, including one pregnant young lady, Mable, who has a controlling mom and desperately needs someone to confide in. Hart delivers Mable’s baby, and realizes maybe there is something here for her in Blue Bell after all. That, and she finds out Harley was [dun-dun-dun] HER FATHER.

Dixie, which was created by The OC and Gossip Girl team Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, definitely has some of the lightning-fast quips that rocked The OC. And Bilson sparkles when she’s rattling off one-liners such as “He’s one avocado short of a cobb salad” and “[My dreams] certainly won’t be killed by a southern xenophobe dressed up like a stick of butter.” Parts of the show get a bit schmaltzy, and Hart’s excessive voice-overs are a little too Grey’s Anatomy, but overall, I think this could definitely earn a place on my Monday-night DVR.

PopWatchers: Did you watch? Who else was coveting all of Zoe’s clothes?  Will you watch Hart of Dixie or is something else taking priority Monday nights? And let’s be real here…who’s hoping Adam Brody will be making a sweeps appearance?

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