'Virgin River' Is Here To Give You All The Small Town Feels While Tackling Big Issues

by Caila Smith
Originally Published: 

If you’re on the lookout for a new show to cozy up to after the madness that is the holiday season, then grab the hot cocoa, your most snuggly throw, and settle in for the night. Virgin River is here, and it will warm even the coldest of hearts.

After leaving the big city in search of a fresh start from some even bigger struggles, nurse practitioner and midwife Melinda Monroe “Mel” (Alexandra Breckinridge from True Blood and The Walking Dead) blindly accepts a job offer at a medical practice in the boonies of California, only to find an unlikely and charming place to call home instead.

Though adjusting to her new position in unfamiliar territory doesn’t come without its own set of struggles, Mel finds its perks in the heart of her loving community and the arms of Jack (Grey’s Anatomy’s Martin Henderson), the small town veteran-turned-bartender with a backstory.

Not only does this series solve medical mysteries to appease viewers’ inner adrenaline junkie, but you have to appreciate Netflix’s thorough attempt at being so raw and honest through some pretty big and highly ignored topics. With just one season released, Virgin River has already covered the prevalence of mental illness, gun violence, poverty and domestic abuse happening in even the least populated areas of America.

Throughout each episode, we gain insight into who these characters are now as well as who they were in the past. For some, like Mel, we quickly learn that her road was and is one that’s filled with heavy grief. And while the show doesn’t fixate on or revolve around her pain and isn’t a complete weeper like My Sister’s Keeper or The Other Woman, it’s something that resurfaces throughout the first season.

As a bereaved parent myself, this take on grief is refreshing because it is so realistic. The death of a loved one isn’t a forgettable event, so representing its hold as a “one and done” type of ordeal would be faulty. Unlike so many other films and series, Virgin River allows us to walk with Mel through her grief instead of vaguely acknowledging it as a means to keep the original plot moving along, and it does so with that “oh, honey, let me bake you a pie” type of a feel you only get from small towns.

With Tim Matheson (Hart of Dixie’s Dr. Brick Breeland) starring as Mel’s grumpy boss and the town’s general practitioner, scenery that will make you want to drive along the beaten path, and a small town with a heart of gold, Virgin River is sure to indulge the country kid that’s somewhere inside of you.

To no surprise, Virgin River’s audience is applauding the strides the show makes at being inclusive, while also voicing their thirst for more episodes.

Netflix was happy to announce on December 20th that the show has indeed been renewed for a second season, and its viewers will have at least ten more episodes with the lovely Mel and Jack.

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