Just When Exactly Virgin River Stopped Being a Feel-Good Show?

Just When Exactly Virgin River Stopped Being a Feel-Good Show?
Image credit: Netflix

The show’s completely inundated with all sorts of trials and tribulations for its characters at this point.


  • Television helps us make our lives more interesting.
  • Virgin River is one of Netflix's flagship feel-good dramas.
  • There were many factors that contributed to the show’s success.
  • VR has been losing its feel-good ambiance recently.

The twenty-first century is seeing TV shows replace books as the main form of escapist entertainment. It's a fact universally acknowledged that we read books and watch movies and TV shows to escape into an alternate reality that offers us more drama, romance, and, yes, comfort. There wouldn't exist so many genres and shows if there wasn't lots of demand for this kind of entertainment.

In this context, today, Netflix stands as an unrivaled champion, releasing hundreds of titles annually. The streaming service's most popular shows include Sweet Magnolias and Virgin River, both of which are set in fictional small towns and focus on the lives of their inhabitants. However, while the former has maintained its quaint and cozy feel over its three-season run, the latter seems to have lost its small-town charm.

What Do Fans Love Virgin River For?

Premiering in 2019, Virgin River introduced thousands of viewers to Melinda Monroe, a practicing nurse who moves to the titular town following the death of her husband. Created by Robyn Carr, the television adaptation of the author's novels quickly amassed an impressive fan base.

Primarily, viewers were drawn in by the quaint ambiance of the small Northern Californian town of Virgin River, its picturesque scenery, and the compelling relationship drama. Interestingly, despite these dramatic elements, the show maintained a light-hearted tone that greatly appealed to the audience. The problem is that its recent seasons have become significantly more somber in tone.

The Show Is Just Too Dark to Enjoy at This Point

The first two seasons of Virgin River were well-received and remain fan favorites. Season 1 introduced us to Mel and Jack, while Season 2 brought them together, albeit briefly. However, starting Season 3, the show ventured into darker and more convoluted territory.

By then, the show's characters already had numerous ugly skeletons in their closets, such as Preacher and Page's accidental killing of her abusive ex-husband. All of a sudden, the town was having issues with drug addiction, while Mel and Jack's idyllic romance was being constantly disrupted, primarily by the perpetually pregnant nemesis Charmaine.

To add insult to injury, a pandemic of medical conditions took over Virgin River: every single character now seems to be battling one kind of illness or another: Mel's got infertility, Doc's developed glaucoma, Hope has a brain injury, or Jack's struggling with mental issues. And it's not just been one or two situations to remind viewers that these things happen and we need to be aware of them, it's as if floodgates were opened and we're being inundated with medical conditions of one kind or another. All the sweetness is gone, and at times, Virgin River seems like it's a harsher reality than the one we're trying to escape by watching it.

We can only hope that the upcoming Christmas specials set to premiere on November 30 shower us with holiday cheer and restore at least some of that feel-good ambiance Virgin River's early seasons were loved so much for.

Which show is more comfy?