Good old fashioned southern hospitality isn’t in short supply in the fictional town of Serenity, South Carolina. And for fans of the Netflix hit series Sweet Magnolias, it’s time to celebrate: season 3 is now available to stream!
The show follows the journey of childhood best friends Maddie Townsend (JoAnna Garcia Swisher), Helen Decatur (Heather Headley) and Dana Sue Sullivan (Brooke Elliot), who have formed a group they named Sweet Magnolias. The three friends juggle parenthood, romance and careers in this idyll town.
“They’re such incredible women,” Brooke Elliott told TV Fanatic. “I am so lucky to get to work with them. I think some of that is aligned in the stars to have that kind of chemistry that I’m told people see, and I feel when we’re shooting the scenes, so I think we just got lucky, right?”
The origins of Sweet Magnolias
Based upon the Sweet Magnolias book series written by Sherryl Woods, serves as inspiration for the series that’s shot in Covington, Georgia. While season one was inspired by the first three books in the series (Stealing Home, A Slice of Heaven, and Feels Like Family), season two strayed away, with showrunner Sheryl J. Anderson telling TV Line, “While we deeply appreciate, admire and respect Ms. Woods and the books, we did move away from them a bit in Season 2 through a combination of characters we added to the show and incidents that we added.”
Before you binge season 3, grab your margaritas or mint juleps and stay a while. Here’s a quick refresher before you dive in, a rundown of the cast and other little tidbits about Sweet Magnolias season 3!
What happened in Sweet Magnolias season one?
**BEWARE OF SPOILERS AHEAD**
While the premiere season of Sweet Magnolias introduced the three friends – Maddie, Helen and Dana Sue – to the audience, it also revealed the intricacies of their relationships.
The ladies opened up a spa that Maddie manages, while Helen continues to practice law. Helen enjoys a friendship with EMT turned chef, Erik Whitley (Dion Johnstone), who clearly is smitten with her. Dana Sue runs her small town restaurant called Sullivan’s.
Romance challenges, of course, were center stage, highlighting the relationship between Maddie and coach Cal (Justin Bruening), Dana Sue and her estranged husband, Ronnie (Brandon Quinn), though Dana Sue has a tryst with her old boyfriend, Micah, and eyes the hot farmer in town, Jeremy.
Let us not forget the young teens and their romantic entanglements. Annie, Ty and Kyle are involved in a bad prom party aftermath, resulting in a huge car accident. The ladies and Bill (Chris Klein) get a phone call and rush to the Highway where Ty’s car is flipped over. Kyle lies on a stretcher unconscious, but the question that is left for the viewers until the next season was who was the passenger in the car with Kyle.
What happened in Sweet Magnolias season two?
**BEWARE OF SPOILERS AHEAD**
Season two revealed that Kyle and his passenger, Nellie (Simone Lockhart), who had a huge crush on Kyle, were safe, but this storyline had a huge impact on the series. Stuck on the sidelines due to tearing his ACL, Kyle no longer is the town sports star.
Political issues arise with zoning laws related to the spa, the recall of the mayor, Cal’s firing by the school board and later, arrest.
Sadness envelops the women with Helen’s miscarriage, and someone slashed Dana Sue’s van. When the culprit is shown to the audience, Serenity is in for a big surprise.
And if you’re wondering who sang a sexy rendition of “Something to Talk About” on karaoke night, it’s really Heather Headley’s beautiful voice on display.
What can we expect from Sweet Magnolias season 3?
**BEWARE OF SPOILERS AHEAD**
In the season three trailer, we see Dana Sue trying to move forward with her formerly estranged husband, while Helen is stuck between two great men who love her.
Meanwhile, Maddie is taking the slow road in her relationship with Cal.
“We’re depicting real life,” says Bruening to US Weekly. “We see that journey. People are changing, they’re evolving. Some for the better, some for the worse, some in between but we’re all changing.” And the drama doesn’t end there.
A mysterious woman from Magnolia’s past comes sauntering into town. Season two ended with a cliffhanger, and Season 3 picks up the drama seamlessly. Maddie focuses her attention on Cal after his knockdown fight and helps her oldest son find his path in life.
“This season, you’re going to see a lot of self-realization, a lot of uncertainty, but ultimately she ends in a very hopeful place,” teases Swisher.
Helen also faces a huge decision about her romantic life. “She has to make some choices along the way,” says Headley. “This season is all about the choice she makes, that journey that she goes through with the choice and how that kind of blows up a little bit.”
Dana Sue’s life picks up where she left off — working on her relationships. “There are things that happen in the season that present challenges in a way of whether Ronnie and Dana Sue can make it or not,” Brooke Elliott told US Weekly. But no matter what life’s struggles surround the threesome, friendship will remain the priority for them.
The Sweet Magnolias cast
You probably recognize some of these familiar faces from other classic television shows and movies over the years!
JoAnna Garcia Swisher as Maddie Townsend
Swisher is best known to viewers for her role as Reba McEntire’s daughter Cheyanne in Reba. In Sweet Magnolias, Swisher plays the role of Maddie Townsend. Maddie is a recently divorced mother of three who wants to get back into the workforce. In the show, she helps run the Corner Spa.
On season three, Swisher told Parade, “I think it shows a whole new feel and look. I mean, it’s the same sweet, beautiful Serenity with the same friendly faces and familiar faces, but it’s just digging a little bit deeper this year.”
Brooke Elliott as Dana Sue Sullivan
Elliot had a lively career in musical theater, most notably in Wicked and Beauty and the Beast. For those who didn’t catch her mesmerizing singing voice, Elliot is best recognized as Jane Bingum on Drop Dead Diva. Her character Dana Sue Sullivan, a chef, is torn between two lovers.
“I just love my character and I love that people enjoy the three of us,” says Elliott to TV Fanatic. “It’s enjoyable. Those margarita nights are entertaining!”
Heather Headley as Helen Decatur
Headley has enjoyed a successful career as singer, songwriter and record producer, winning a 2000 Tony for Best Actress in Aida, but to TV audiences, she’s recognized as Gwen Garrett on Chicago Med. As Serenity’s successful lawyer, Helen Decatur, she bought a mansion in the town which she converted into The Corner Spa with Maddie and Dana Sue.
Chris Klein as Dr. Bill Townsend
Known for rom-coms in the 1990s — like American Pie — Chris Klein plays Dr. Bill Townsend, the ex-husband of Maddie Townsend, and ex-fiancee of Noreen Fitzgibbons. Bill, who was married at the time, began an affair with Noreen, who was a medical assistant at his office.
Carson Rowland as Tyler Townsend
Tyler Townsend, known as Ty, is played by Carson Rowland. The son of Maddie and Bill, Ty is a star baseball player who’s future as an athlete becomes uncertain when he tears his ACL in a car accident.
“It has just blown me away. While on set, I knew we were making something special, but the response we are getting and the fact so many are resonating with this story warms my heart more than ever,” he told PureWow.
Justin Bruening as Cal Maddox
Cal Maddox is played by Justin Bruening. Cal’s character is both Ty’s baseball coach and Maddie’s boyfriend. He also is a co-owner with Dana Sue of Sullivan’s.
On his character in season three, Bruening told Wide Open Country, “This is the start, definitely, of a new Cal. You’re going to see a side of him that hasn’t been explored before. Definitely more vulnerable, dealing with the ghosts of his past — being forced to deal with them now.”
Logan Allen as Kyle Townsend
Kyle Townsend is the middle son of Maddie and Bill. He enjoys theatre, something his father and brother struggle to relate to. He showed kindness toward Noreen as he chose to befriend her.
Anneliese Judge as Annie Sullivan
Judge plays Dana Sue’s daughter Annie. Annie is the school photographer and is known to have a crush on Ty Townsend, Maddie and Bill’s son.
“Being a part of this show is so special to me. It has been such an incredible and humbling experience. It makes me feel really good to know that my work has resonated with so many people and that so many people have found comfort in our show,” Judge told Vanity Teen.
Jamie Lynn Spears as Noreen Fitzgibbons
Viewers may recognize Jamie Lynn Spears as Zoey from the Nickelodeon series, Zoey 101 and as Britney Spears’ little sister. In Sweet Magnolias, she plays the role of Noreen Fitzgibbons, the medical assistant Bill had an affair with, resulting in her pregnancy.
“On the surface, she’s ‘the other woman.’ And I could have played that stereotype easily, just being the young nurse who sleeps with the doctor. But I really knew she had a story to her, and that was important for me, especially coming from a background where I’ve been misunderstood a lot,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.
Chris Medlin as Isaac Downey
Chris Medlin plays Isaac Downey works as a chef at Sullivan’s and returns to Serenity in search of his birth parents. With only a bible and a note indicating that his mother was from Serenity, he sets out to find them.
Brandon Quinn as Ronnie Sullivan
Brandon Quinn plays Ronnie is Dana Sue’s ex and the father of Annie. He and Annie have a very close relationship.
Dion Johnstone as Erik Whitley
Erik Whitley, played by Dion Johnson, is the sous chef at Sullivan’s. He is also Helen’s boyfriend. He’s also taken Isaac under his wing.
Bonnie Siegler is an established international writer covering the celebrity circuit for more than 15 years. Bonnie’s resume includes two books that combine her knowledge of entertaining with celebrity health and fitness and has written travel stories which focus on sustainable living. She has contributed to magazines including Woman’s World and First for Women, Elle, InStyle, Shape, TV Guide and Viva. Bonnie served as West Coast Entertainment Director for Rive Gauche Media overseeing the planning and development of print and digital content. She has also appeared on entertainment news shows Extra and Inside Edition.