It's time for a return to the town of Serenity!
Fans of Netflix's Sweet Magnolias, based on the book series by Sherryl Woods, have been desperate to know what comes next after a car crash in the season 1 finale left several characters' fates up the air. Luckily, they won't have to wait long when the show returns on Feb. 4, because season 2 picks up exactly 34 minutes after that shocking crash. Resolving that cliffhanger is just the start for the new season, which promises mysteries, new relationships, and more time with the Serenity residents we already know and love.
Sweet Magnolias has a lot of complicated romantic threads to untangle. Maddie Townsend (JoAnna Garcia Swisher) is figuring out her new relationship with Cal Maddox (Justin Bruening) when the husband she just divorced asks for another chance; Helen Decatur (Heather Headley) is dealing with breaking up with Ryan Wingate (Michael Shenefelt) while having a palpable spark with sous chef Erik Whitley (Dion Johnstone); and Dana Sue (Brooke Elliott) has emotional baggage to unpack with her estranged husband Ronnie, who has just returned to town. "In season 2, there's a lot of examination of past relationships, and how, or if, they inform, shape and change future relationships," showrunner Sheryl J. Anderson tells EW.
Revisiting the past to gauge future potential is especially true for Dana Sue. Viewers briefly met Ronnie Sullivan (Brandon Quinn), who she reached out to for help saving her restaurant in season 1, but we will get a lot more of him in the new season. "There's so many questions and things to explore for both Ronnie and Dana Sue in season 2. I personally think it is a fun season for them. People are going to be able to relate to it in a deep way," Elliott teases. Complicating her journey is Dana Sue's daughter Annie Sullivan (Anneliese Judge), who is eager to see her parents back together. "Dana Sue always tries to do the thing that is best for everyone, and she certainly doesn't want her daughter hurt by her decisions, so there's a lot of pressure in her making this decision because they directly impact her," Elliott says.
Dana Sue's other suitor, Jeremy Reynolds (Chase Anderson), will also continue to be in the picture in season 2. "Jeremy comes with an innocence, doesn't come with baggage, and he truly is interested in her," Elliott says. "Dana Sue sees Jeremy's value so much. She sees what a good guy he is, and then with Ronnie, there's just an intense passion, chemistry of two people who have known each other for so long." There will be healthy competition for Dana Sue's affection in the new season.
While Maddie and Dana Sue have complicated obstacles in their way, Helen and Erik are free to explore their connection. "The writers were eager to explore a relationship that begins in selfless friendship and develops into something much deeper and more complex," Anderson says. Viewers know that Erik is also carrying experiences from his past he hasn't shared, so they both have things to work through as individuals before they make their way to one another.
STEVE SWISHER/NETFLIX Brooke Elliott as Dana Sue Sullivan
The lingering mystery of who Isaac Downey's (Chris Medlin) birth parents are will continue to puzzle the characters of Sweet Magnolias. Isaac's character doesn't appear in Woods' novels, but the show writers wanted to create a character that could be new to town and shine a light on the book characters in unexpected ways. Isaac bonds with Dana Sue and Erik at Sullivan's, but he is also searching for his birth parents. He ends season 1 asking Dana Sue if she is his mother, leaving viewers wondering. "Dana Sue is very motherly to many people around her, and seeing Isaac as a lost soul with so much talent and potential, she welcomes that role, whether she is his mom or not," Elliott says about their dynamic.
We may not have Dana Sue's answer, but the season 2 trailer sees Helen offering to help him with part of his search. "Let me just say that if you need help from one Magnolia, you get help from all the Magnolias," Anderson says. "[Helen] is offering her legal expertise to help Isaac work his way through the bureaucracy to see if he can find material about his biological parents."
While the show will introduce new visitors, the second season will mainly deepen our relationship with the existing characters. "This will always be first and foremost about three Magnolias, but we continue to be committed to the teenagers' stories, and we see some new sides to the men of Serenity, both emotionally and physically," Anderson teases. Getting to know all the characters allows the new season to be "an organic outgrowth" of what came before, so Sweet Magnolias can dig into the stories of Cal, Isaac, and Trotter as well as its central trio.
There was a heartbreaking end to season 1, but Anderson promises just as much laughter as tears in the new season, as the Magnolias' ever-growing family continues to live life in their wonderful small town.
Sweet Magnolias season 2 premieres Feb. 4 on Netflix.
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