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13 Shows like Hart of Dixie: Small Town Fun & Drama

Laura Light itcherBluebell Alabama is poles apart from the New York metropolis that Zoe Hart is used to, but it is now a place that she calls home. Zoe may have let herself down by not succeeding as a heart surgeon, but she is determined to make the most of a surprising opportunity down south. If you are looking for more TV shows like ‘Hart of Dixie’, ‘Gilmore Girls’ is a fun show that is also set in a small town, as is ‘Everwood’. ~ Laura Light

Sweet Home Alabama

Newly qualified doctor Zoe Hart takes the drastic decision to move from New York to a small town in Alabama, when her original plans fall through.

Bluebell is a tiny Gulf Coast town, where everyone knows each others business, which is a far cry from the bright lights of NYC. Despite her reservations, Zoe is determined to make a success of her new life and get to grips with living in a small town community. ‘Hart of Dixie’ is a great feel-good show, with likeable characters and light-hearted storylines to keep you entertained.

If you are looking for other TV series like ‘Hart of Dixie’, ‘The OC’ will let you see more of Rachel Bilson and ‘Private Practice’ will provide medical drama.

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Shows Similar to ‘Hart of Dixie’…

‘Northern Exposure’ (CBS, 1990-1995)

“Well that is because you are not the one who is supposed to spend the next 4 years of his life in this Godforsaken hole in the wall, pigsty with a bunch of dirty, psychotic rednecks!”

The show originally began as a fish out of water comedy about an acerbic New York doctor (Rob Morrow) fresh out of school, forced to become the physician for the sleepy town of Cicely, Alaska that is full of a wide array of unique characters.

‘Northern Exposure’ was an Emmy and Peabody Award winning sleeper hit in its time that continues to gain a cult audience. The show’s greatest achievements were always its sense of location and character development, even within frequent surreal circumstances, that hold together as a pure one of a kind gem.

Similarity Match: 95%
Doctor moves to small town, amid chin-wagging and mistrust, sounds familiar, but whereas ‘Hart of Dixie’ focuses more of Zoe’s struggles, this focuses on the whole town and how they adapt.

***
‘Everwood’ (Warner Brothers, 2002-2016)

“I’d like to take a moment and point out that this is by far the weirdest restaurant we’ve ever been to, and we’re from New York City where we’re regularly served by drag queens named Frank…”

The small town of Everwood, Colorado, is the perfect escape for brain surgeon Andy Brown and his family, after the death of his beloved wife. Andy’s kids, Ephram and Delia are less than enthusiastic about the move, but they soon get to grips with a slower pace of life.

With a doctor already present in the town, Andy faces a struggle to find his place, but soon realises just how important community spirit is and begins to feel at home.

Similarity Match: 90%
Like ‘Hart of Dixie’, ‘Everwood’ is a celebration of small town community spirit, packed full of uplifting storylines, that are not too taxing after a long day.

***
‘Emily Owens MD’ (Warner Brothers, 2002-2003)

Mammie Gummer plays young doctor Emily Owens, who has recently started an internship in a large US hospital. Far from having to act grown up, Emily finds that work is not that different to being in high school, at least she wishes it were that way.

Emily is the kind of girl that you can relate to, making for a very likeable lead actor and light-hearted viewing. It may not be the best show on TV, but it will certainly make you giggle.

Similarity Match: 85%
‘Emily Owens MD’ follows the same premise of a newly qualified doctor making a new start in a new city, but there is a lot more comedy in this show, with lots of tongue in cheek storylines.

***
‘Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman’ (CBS, 1993-1998)

“I know what everyone is saying about me, that I’m an old maid. But I don’t need you to contribute…”

Here you have a Bostonian raised, refined woman physician (Jane Seymour); trained under the masterful eye of her own physician father, endearing chance by taking a huge risk to move far away from home, to a wilderness she knew nothing about. Naturally upon her arrival, townsfolk did not take to her so keenly.

Where do I begin with this incredible show? Bravo to CBS for realizing America was more than ready for another hit Western series, long after ‘Gunsmoke’ ended. From its fascinating 3-hr premiere; not only were modern viewers captivated by a new television western, but that it starred mini-series queen herself, Jane Seymour, in the title role.

Similarity Match: 85%
More action packed but has a similar plot to ‘Hart of Dixie’, including the struggling female doctor from the city who’s moved to a small town. Gossip and scandal are ripe here!

***
‘Doctor Foster’ (BBC, 2015-)

“I’m not moving! This is my home now, not his…”

About a city doctor (Suranne Jones) living in a small town in Hertfordshire, who suspects her husband of having an affair. After following several lines of enquiries, she unravels more than she bargains for including a streak of violence below the surface.

The creator of this brilliant five-part series has gone on the record stating they wouldn’t rule out a second series. Good news all round, and if they pull it off with anywhere near as much intense drama as the first, it would be a truly remarkable achievement. For without a doubt, this is some of the finest programming you’re likely to see this year (or for that matter the past several years).

Similarity Match: 80%
Both are doctors from large cities, but whereas this focuses on character suspicion and has a somewhat complex narrative, ‘Hart of Dixie’ is played out like a teen comedy.

***
‘Private Practice’ (ShondaLand, 2007-2013)

“I do not want to be just another… notch in your… acupuncture table…”

‘Private Practice’ is a spin-off from ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, focusing on the life of neonatal surgeon Addison Montgomery. Addison must focus on her new life, in a new city, living with a new man and a new job, seems easy enough, right?

Well, there are plenty of ups and downs for Addison, particularly when it comes to personal relationships. Grey’s Anatomy fans may not like the change of pace of this show, but it is a series you can easily dip in and out of. For those looking for a bit of eye candy, Taye Diggs will make you swoon, in the role of Dr Sam Bennett!

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Similarity Match: 80%
‘Private Practice’ does explore personal relationships, but there is a bit more medical action than there is in ‘Hart of Dixie’. In both series, we see two strong women take centre stage and grow into the person they knew they could be.

***
‘The OC’ (Warner Brothers, 2003-2007)

“Sometimes you’ve got to let the rich people help you…”

‘The OC’ is a teen drama set in the well-off Orange County district of California. In the first episode, we meet Ryan Atwood, a teenager who is in serious trouble until he is rescued by the very likeable Cohen family.

The Cohens are, dad Sandy, mum Kirsten and goofy son Seth, who quickly becomes best friends with Ryan. ‘The OC’ is packed full of romance, rebellion, heartache and drama, just what you would expect from a teen drama.

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Similarity Match: 75%
Rachel Bilson plays Seth Cohen’s love interest Summer, so fans of Zoe Hart will love exploring a different side to Bilson. ‘The OC’ is not as light-hearted as ‘Hart of Dixie’, but it is great if you are looking for a show with more angst.

***
‘Gilmore Girls’ (Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions, 2000-2007)

“Give me a burger, onion rings, and a list of people who killed their parents and got away with it. I need some heroes…”

Another series like ‘Hart of Dixie’ is ‘Gilmore Girls’. The show follows the ups and downs of a mother and daughter relationship, in a small Connecticut town. Single parent Lorelai Gilmore works hard for her daughter, Rory, and the two enjoy a close relationship, in which they tell each other almost everything.

The other characters we meet in the series are an eclectic bunch and provide us with plenty of romance, drama and tears.

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Similarity Match: 70%
‘Gilmore Girls’ is just like ‘Hart of Dixie’ in terms of twee tales about small town life, but it does cover more hard hitting storylines, if you want something to sink your teeth into.

***

If You Like ‘Hart of Dixie’, You Will Like…

If you like the doctor aspect plus the witty banter then take a look at these three TV series like ‘Hart of Dixie’. There’s no small town but there sure is plenty of drama!  

‘Royal Pains’ (USA Network, 2009– )

“Sandwich baggie, duct tape. Who are you? MacGyver?”

An unfairly discredited but brilliant diagnostic surgeon Hank (Mark Feuerstein), who winds up working with his cheesy brother (Paulo Costanzo) in the Hamptons as a concierge doctor to the uber-rich and ultra-elite.

I found myself rooting for Hank as he winds up unwittingly becoming an overnight success as a doctor to the rich, the very type of people he was most hurt by and lost his job over. And Hank’s character truly cares for people, no matter who they are. He is a smart, ‘MacGyver’ type character (as the show happily pokes fun at) of medical shows. Now who’s up for a Richard Dean Anderson guest appearance? Hint hint to any writers of the show that are reading this!

Both leads were high flying doctors in a big city, but whereas Zoe in ‘Hart of Dixie’ looks after a small community of patients, ‘Royal Pains’ focuses on the high rollers in the Hamptons.

***
‘Frasier’ (NBC, 1993-2004)

“Well, we’ve got a couple of jilted lovers, a man who’s afraid of his car, a manic depressive, and three people who feel their lives are going nowhere…”

Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) moves back to his hometown of Seattle where he lives with his father and works as a radio psychiatrist. The whole premise of the show isn’t 2 people discussing Freud’s theories in a coffee shop, Frasier’s down to earth ex-policeman father Martin got shot and is now unable to live on his own, he and his dog and his hideous green chair have to move in with Frasier, this is the tempo for the first few seasons, Frasier and Martin and Martin’s English healthcare worker Daphne Moon.

As the seasons go on, you see Niles and Frasier trying to better themselves and be less pretentious, everything from fatherhood to relationships gets a look-in through all 11 seasons and Frasier’s capacity to sabotage his own relationships is surely second to none.

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Both leads play doctors who want to help, but whereas ‘Frasier’ helps via radio, ‘Hart of Dixie’ Zoe helps via a clinic.

***
‘The X-Files’ (Fox, 1993-2002)

“Agent Mulder? I’m Dana Scully. I’ve been assigned to work with you…”

Okay, so not a typical physician, but still a doctor no less….

Special Agent Scully played the brainy forensic pathologist beside David Duchovny’s paranormal enthusiast Mulder in the spooky science fiction series.

I find it hard to comment on ‘The X-Files’ because it simply transcends words. The script, the actors and the direction make the most unbelievable seem believable and the unfathomable, incomprehensibly real. So thought provoking that if you really let yourself dwell in its essence, it can change the way you see the world, if only just by believing in the conviction that The Truth Is Out There.

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Two different doctors who are leagues apart, but these shows share droll comebacks with a quest for answers.

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Or Are You Looking for More of the Small Town Feel?

‘Dawson’s Creek’ (The WB, 1998-2003)

“You know, this town is the absolute embodiment of dull. Apart from the occasional sex scandal provided by yours truly, nothing happens here…”

This bucolic Cape Cod community is the setting for the adventures of four impossibly precocious teens; Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek), Joey Potter (Katie Holmes), Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson), and Jen Lindley (Michelle Williams), as they navigate the often bumpy path that takes them through high school and beyond.

It may be the most underappreciated show in history. No offense to fans of ‘Freaks and Geeks’ and ‘My So-Called Life’ (I love those shows too) but ‘DC’ never had respect from critics or most of the general public. Most have called it another take off of ‘Beverly Hills 90210’. I dare you to watch the first two episodes of the first season and say that again. Of course the show was not realistic but I think it was brave enough to not try and be (that awful word) realistic. The show was about dreams and fantasies that we all have when we are young and the show actually made us feel like our dreams had come true, even if it was only for 45 minutes an episode.

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They share the same small town vibe with busy buddy gossip, but where this features high school drama; ‘Hart of Dixie’ mixes relationships with patient duty.

***
‘The Vampire Diaries’ (The CW, 2009- )

“It’s a short story called ‘Mind Your Own Business’…”

Forgetting the fact that this place is overrun by vampires, what other town has more festivals, costume parties and balls than this one? Plus: It’s so rich in history, there’s an annual event to celebrate the town’s beginnings.

The plot is as you would have guessed. Elena (Nina Dobrev) is a high school girl who captures the heart of Stefan (Paul Wesley) who of course is a vampire (sounds familiar right?). Later on we get introduced to Stefan’s troublesome vampire brother, Damon (Ian Somerhalder). Damon also happens to be attracted to Elena and this creates a love triangle that will follow for the remainder of the show.

Both shows feature a small community, but whereas ‘Hart of Dixie’ is based round Zoe, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ is more of an ensemble piece.

***

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I hope you liked my suggestions for shows similar to ‘Hart of Dixie’.

If you can think of another TV show that you’d like to recommend to other ‘Hart of Dixie’ fans, I’d love to read about a show where I can get my next fix of escapist TV, in the comments below.

Hi ya, I’m Laura, a BA Creative Writing and Film graduate. A self-confessed geek, you’re normally find me tucked away in the back row at the cinema, with vast amounts of chocolate and surfing the net on my phone. A freelance writer specialising in digital marketing and audio, when I’m not creating new blogs, I’m trying to dream up my next big idea!
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