Virgin River (Netflix Series 2019)

3.5 Kernels

Well, from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., I binged a new series on Netflix – Virgin River. Was it a waste of time or could have I been more productive finishing my laundry and vacuuming instead?  As guilty as I felt about sitting on my rear for so many hours in one day, with occasional bathroom, kitchen breaks, and a short one-hour nap, the show obviously kept my interest.

Virgin River is a romantic series, which Netflix has already commissioned a second season due to be released June 2020. Therefore, don’t throw your hands up in the air when you reach the last episode of season one, because more is coming your way.  The show is “loosely” based on a series of books written by author Robyn Carr, another lucky author (unlike myself) whose books are being brought to life on television.

The series is about Melinda Rose, a talented nurse played by Alexandra Breckenridge, who brings strength to the leading female character. Melinda has a terribly sad past and has experienced horrible heartache, all of which she is hoping to forget by taking a job in northern California. The fictional town of Virgin River is apparently two hours from Eureka, on the California coast. However, the show was filmed in British Columbia, and the scenery is far more mountainous than the actual location depicted. There are also shots of Eureka, but they are far from what Eureka looks like. After living there for eighteen months, I can tell you much about the place.  Nevertheless, setting aside the rather unrealistic locations, it’s worth tuning into.

During the series, there are multiple flashbacks to Melinda’s life, which are slowly revealed in each episode as to the reason she has left Los Angeles in an attempt to forget the painful memories of the location. It takes time to peel back the reason behind her hurt and pain. When she arrives in Virgin River, she meets an eclectic group of individuals. First, there is the seventy-plus year-old-doctor that she is supposed to support as a nurse. She quickly learns he doesn’t want her there and is being forced to take on extra help in his sole practice as the only physician in Virgin River. Then there is the mayor of the town, who pretty much tricked her into coming, who is a character in herself. As small towns go, she’s just part of a larger group of women who knows everybody’s business and can’t seem to stay out of anything in anybody’s life. Like a dog with a bone, you’ll soon find out that she is not the most likable individual.

The slow-burning romantic interest comes in the way of Martin Henderson, playing Jack Sheridan, the owner of the town bar. He has his own past of being a vet with post-traumatic stress disorder. He hires other vets to work for him at the bar and is intent on helping those who can’t get back into the swing of things after coming out of service, all to ease his own guilt of what happened in Iraq.  He immediately feels a spark of attraction to Melinda and quickly offers to help her get settled into Virgin River. However, he has his own surprise twist waiting in the wings. Melinda is extremely secretive with him about her past, and he doesn’t understand what she has been through into much later in the episodes.

There are other sub-plots through the series and characters to keep your interest from illegal pot growers in the mountains to a woman on the run from the law with her young son. These offshoots are merely fillers in the larger picture of Melinda and Jack’s journey to wholeness. Though some of the episodes have places to yawn, overall I found Virgin River to be entertaining and will tune to the second season.

As far as the heat level, think Hallmark clean. Very little swearing. No glaring sex scenes – just kisses. I found that interesting because a few of the book reviews complain about sexually explicit scenes or too much sex. Apparently, the screenplay writer decided otherwise. Fine with me.

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