Finally, Virgin river Season 3 has hit Netflix, and whether you consider the romantic series to be guilty pleasure or a show that you’re a die-hard fan of, there’s a good chance you’re genuinely excited about the latest batch of new episodes. Adapted from the novels by Robyn Carr, Virgin river is an ideal watch if you like your TV shows to look like a long Hallmark movie, in the best possible way.
The series stars Alexandra Breckenridge as Mel, a Los Angeles midwife and nurse practitioner who is packing her life to move to a quaint but isolated northern California town after a series of traumatic heartaches. As Mel tries to settle into her new life and leave the past, her life is further complicated by Doc Mullins (Tim Matheson), who doesn’t want his help despite his medical expertise, and Jack (Martin Henderson), a friend (and hunky) local bartender who challenges her to open her heart to love once again.
To help you fill the void after completing Season 3, we’ve curated a perfect recommendation list that includes TV shows like Virgin river which capture the same spirit of the half-novel, half-medical drama.
10 shows you should watch if you want Dixie Hart
Looking for more recommendations on what to watch next? We have a ton! And if you’re looking for more handpicked recommendations based on the shows you love, we also have them.
The first stop for Virgin river fans must be those of Netflix Sweet Magnolias, which is based on a series of Sherryl Woods romance novels. Joanna Garcia Swisher stars in the Southern series as Maddie, a soon-to-be divorced mother of three who tries to pick up the pieces of her once-perfect life after her cheating husband (Chris Klein) leaves her for the young woman ( Jamie Lynn Spears) he got pregnant. As Maddie struggles to cope with the fallout under the scrutiny of a small town, she is also raising her children and running a new business with her best friends, Helen (Heather Headley) and Dana Sue (Brooke Elliott). But the real hook – and what fans of Virgin river will love it – is the swoon-worthy romance between Maddie and her son’s sexy new baseball coach, a former Major League player (Justin Bruening). [Watch on Netflix]
If you’re looking for breathtaking romance and all that that entails, look no further than Starz. Foreign. The show stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, a former WWII married nurse who travels through time from 1945 to 1743 while on vacation with her husband (Tobias Menzies) and ends up falling in love with a rugged Highlander named Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). Like Mel, Claire uses her medical knowledge and training to help those in need, but the real draw to this historical drama is the love affair between Claire and Jamie, which is one for the ages. [Watch on Netflix, Starz, Hulu (with Starz add-on), Amazon Prime (with Starz add-on)]
The CW comedy-drama Dixie Hart is the funniest and goofiest brother of Virgin river. The two shows have a shocking number of things in common: (1) the main character (Rachel Bilson) is a medical professional who (2) moves to a small town where (3) the local doctor has no use for she – and (4) the Doctor is even played by the same person (Tim Matheson) in both shows! Add (5) a sexy bartender (Wilson Bethel) as a love interest, and you have a show eerily similar to that of Virgin river. Of course, Dixie Hart also features a pet alligator named Burt Reynolds, plenty of wacky city festivals, a love triangle that also includes the Town’s Lawyer (Scott Porter), and a complicated relationship between his Principal Lady and a Southern Belle (Jamie King) . But if you like Virgin river, there is no doubt in my mind that you will like it too Dixie Hart and the town of Bluebell, Alabama. [Watch on IMDb TV (free with ads), Amazon Prime Video (free via IMDb TV)]
Like Netflix Sweet Magnolias, the Hallmark Channel drama series Chesapeake Ribs is also based on a series of novels by author Sherryl Woods. The show stars Meghan Ory as Abby, a divorced mother of two daughters who returns to her hometown of Chesapeake Shores, Md., To help save her younger sister’s inn from foreclosure. But there’s more to her, including a second chance with her first love, Trace (Jesse Metcalfe), whom she left years ago to settle in New York. Virgin river fans are sure to fall in love with this one. [Watch on Hallmark Movies Now]
Call the midwife
Although the romantic nature of Virgin river is what initially draws many viewers, the show’s medical intrigue and Mel’s skills as a midwife also add a lot of drama and heartbreak to the narrative. So if you are looking for another series set in the medical world that is not just another Grey’s Anatomy imitation, we recommend BBC period drama Call the midwife. The long-running series, which skillfully weaves discussions of social, cultural and economic issues into its storylines, follows the daily life of midwives in London through the 1950s and 1960s, and aspects of love are explored in every episode. [Watch on Netflix]
If you like the small town atmosphere of Virgin river and the theme of fresh start, you might be interested in Canadian family drama Nordic rescue, which follows a search and rescue commander played by Billy Baldwin who moves his family from Boston to his hometown of Turtle Island Bay following the unexpected death of his wife. Although the family hopes to live a slower life and find a place to heal and start over, new challenges arise as soon as she arrives in the small town, and their problems increase as secrets are revealed. There’s only been one season so far, and it’s unclear whether the series, which debuted in the spring of 2019, will be back. But if you are looking for a fast watch, Nordic rescue is a good choice. [Watch on Netflix]
I don’t know what it’s like for medical professionals to start over in small towns, but if that’s your thing (and from how many shows out there with that exact premise, it’s definitely someone’s thing) is also the basis of heartwarming family drama Everwood Wood. Treat the Williams stars like a renowned surgeon but absent father Andy Brown, who following the sudden death of his wife (Brenda Strong), packs her teenage son, Ephram (Gregory Smith), and preteen daughter, Delia (Vivien Cardone), and moves from New York to Everwood, Colorado, with the goal of rebuilding her life and reconnecting with their children. Fair warning: The heartfelt WB series created by Greg Berlanti will make you cry, but you’ll love the small town charm of Everwood, the family drama of the Browns as they try to pick up the pieces and reconnect, and, well, well sure, the romantic getaways that go with it. [Watch on HBO Max]
Based on a series of books, Heartland is the show you want to watch if you like Virgin river and look for a series that you can really disappear into. To date, the Canadian drama, which details the ups and downs of ranching life and follows Amy (Amber Marshall), a young woman capable of tending to damaged horses, has aired 13 seasons. The heartfelt family drama, like some of the others on this list, unfortunately kicks off with the death of a parent: a storm in the series premiere sends Amy’s mom’s truck and horse trailer off the road. Amy is also seriously injured and, as a result, her older sister, Lou (Michelle Morgan), returns from town to help her and her grandfather (Shaun Johnston) with the family ranch. A fourteenth season has already been ordered, so if you need anything to support yourself a bit, this is definitely it! [Watch on Netflix]