While the world is avidly discussing the upcoming Shondaland production of Bridgerton, bazillions of Netflix watchers are already hooked on a series based on a set (21 and counting) of famous romance novels: Virgin River. (Season Two was just released–there are 20 episodes in total.) Robyn Carr’s RITA winning books have been best-sellers over the years–the first one, Virgin River, was published in 2007. We gave it a B+. Our reviewer wrote:
Don’t expect melodramatic incidents and overwrought emotions here. This is a story about real people and real problems. ….
I’ve read some of Robyn Carr’s earlier books and have enjoyed them very much. She writes women’s fiction with a large helping of romance and it’s a combination I love. Since I also love books set in small towns, this book was just what I was looking for. I know it will become a favorite comfort read.
If you haven’t seen the show, here’s the trailer.
I haven’t watched this yet but my 83 year old mom–who does NOT read romance novels–is a big fan. She says it’s fun and has compassion for its characters.
We’ve reviewed eleven of the Virgin River books–most have gotten solid B grades–and our reviewers have consistently praised the books for their realistic men and women and the rich relationships those in the town have developed over the years. Only one, Whispering River, has gotten a DIK review from us but five have gotten B+ grades.
If you’re watching the show, we’d love to know your thoughts. Is it true to the books? Do you like the casting? Love it? Let us know in the comments!
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Ok, starting season 3. Ok, how long has Mel been there? How many mnths is Charmain, she’s having twins and no baby bump? Know this guy 1 mnth & getting married? So many questions, & yes reminds me of Dixie show.
Oh yeah, small town but REALLY, Preacher just gets to watch Christopher.
When episode goes off, really doesn’t pick up where left in next one. So many HOLES
Pretty much no one knows the timeline at this point.
As I wrote below I hate season 3 of Virgin River and praying season 4 is better. To me it felt like there were far to many holes in the story line to save money on scenes and episodes. No scenes of Jack in the hospital recovering from being shot, the raid on Calvin, Brie’s arrival in Virgin River and Lillie’s daughters’s arrival, Paige’s so called friend. When did Brady become the owner of the logging company? Then there is Charmaine and Todd getting married, oh and Charmaine is what 3 to 4 month pregnant with twins and does not even look pregnant! Oh, and Lillie’s other children are never mentioned so you do not know who they even are at her funeral! The cliff hanger at end makes me believe Season 4 will be much of the same.
I agree, Judy, that S3 is a disappointment. On the other hand, I don’t expect adaptations from books to necessarily translate to TV serialisation well. Case in point – for me at least – Bridgerton which I thought was ludicrous beyond belief. Most adaptations of Jane Austen are not that good with the exception of the 1995 Pride and Prejudice series with The Famous Wet Shirt Scene which did contain much of the original dialogue and was long enough to do a good job. It also benefitted from being written by Andrew Davies who is one of the world’s best screenwriters for adaptations of famous classic fiction. I thought that the Poldark adaptation a few years ago was good but then it ended abruptly and we were left hanging; after all there are 12 books in the series. Outlander is probably my favourite adaptation in recent years because the creators are taking their time to unfold the story; much is left out but enough is there to give an excellent flavour of the novels. I understand that S7 has been commissioned – good news!
I am halfway through Season Three. It’s so soapy!
I hated this season I did watch all 10 episodes but it was so depressing why did the have people dying funerals bad news it was awful
I agree I hate season 3 of Virgin River! I watched all 10 episodes. I thought I missed something so I watched episode 1 & 2 again. Nope, the writers cheapened the episodes, Jack’s recovery in the hospital, the raid on Calvin, Brie’s arrival to Virgin River, Brady becoming owner of the logging company. Paige’s friend! How fast Charmaine and Todd got married….Oh, and she is what 3 to 4 months pregnant with twins and not even showing she is pregnant! What about Lillie’s other child they were not even mentioned at the funeral!
While we did really enjoy watching Virgin River, it definitely jumped the shark the last two episode. Obviously Jack won’t die and whatever’s wrong with Doc–his eyes?–will not end in death. The plotline with Charmaine is so annoying–I’m hoping it turns out those are Brady’s babies. And don’t even get me started on the unlikelihood of Preacher being able to keep the kid.
Thank you, I forgot about Brady, I thought that too at the festival. I believe he was going to tell Jack & they got interrupted.
Dr. Feelgood and I have just finished Season One and we are hooked. Much more so than, ahem, on Bridgerton which we enjoyed but didn’t feel hung together especially well.
We love love love Doc and Hope, Mel and Jack, Preacher and Paige. The scenery is to die for. The writing is damn witty and the dramas have resonance. (I sobbed and sobbed during Mark’s proposal–to lose that love is devastating.)
I hear the second season is super soapy, but, you know what, I can’t wait.
I know someone who has never read the books and loves, loves, loves this show. They are hooked as well. From what I hear it’s much more emotionally engaging than Bridgerton which is more of a fun spectacle.
We are so hooked!
1 Haven’t read the books but having joyed all 20 episodes of the show
Really fond of the actor Keith MacKechnie (Nick). He has done a lot of Hallmark and other Canadian produced movies along with a now famous cameo in the Christmas Vacation movie where he has an extended scene with Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase). Bit of trivia: Keith was one of the heads of a two headed man in an old TV episode. The other head was the regrettably recently deceased “Sqiggy” (sp?). Hope “Nick” has an expanded presence in season three
The other head was the regrettably recently deceased “Sqiggy” (sp?).
Yep, that’d be David Lander.
Fun fact – Michael McKean (Lenny in the show, DL’s partner on Laverne and Shirley, where Squiggy comes from) is the spouse of Annette O’Toole, who plays Hope in this show. Small world.
OK, I had no idea that Lenny was married to Annette O’Toole (of Robby Benson 70’s movie fame). Mind blown. And yes, I’m old.
Now this will be in my head all day.
Heh, they’ve been married for 21 years now, and they’re how-we-got-together story is a romantic gold mine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBH8aEsMWGw
They also co-wrote this incredibly sweet song, which got an Oscar nomination: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jjGuyD8dLc
Just started reading the books for Virgin River. So far, the first book is close to the series. But not totally. Maybe 1/2??? Loved the series and enjoying the book. After the last episode of season 2, I’m reminded of the Dallas season finally that ended with: “Who shot JR?”. Now I’m having to waste whole year wondering: “Who shot Jack?”. Of course it was Charmaine……
I watched both seasons. Schlock!
Haven’t read any of the books (small-town contemporary settings aren’t my bag) and don’t have Netflix. Of the two, I’d be much more likely to seek out the Bridgertons (have at least read a couple of those). But I’m delighted both series have been adapted and hope they do well so that we get more romance on TV.
I was so excited to see the second season. I turned on Netflix yesterday when I got on my elliptical it popped up. The scenery is lovely. I also have issues with the Charmaine/Jack/Mel business and the Doc romance but hey it gets me through my workouts! Was getting tired of Lucifer
I know someone who absolutely loves it, but she hasn’t read any of the books and doesn’t want to. She is just enjoying the series as a show alone.
I read the first two or three books years ago but only remember the outline of the stories not any nuances or specifics.
The production values are great, they’ve got good actors, and there isn’t anything wrong with the stories per se. As I said in my original post, I can see where non-readers (or even “non fans”) would thoroughly enjoy it.
She loves it and was waiting for season two to drop. It looks like the production values are great as you say. I watched part of the first episode out of curiosity and because I liked the main actor. If I get the time I may pick it up. I feel bad when she asks me a question about the books and I just don’t remember the details.
I think the biggest problem with these things are expectations. I’ve tried it in reverse when I’ve liked a movie or show then tried to read the book it was based on and hated it.
I had a rude awakening with Oscar and Lucinda as the book ending is just awful. I thought the movie was a bit of a downer (even though they tried to end on a happy note) but the book was downright depressing. I was so happy they changed things for the movie.
I haven’t watched the show but that actor was in Bride and Prejudice as the Darcy character and I really liked him.
I knew I had seen him from somewhere. Thanks!
He also was the doctor on Grey’s Anatomy a couple seasons ago. He’s Australian and at least he could have his wonderful accent in the t.v. series if they are going to make changes :)
Martin is from Auckland, New Zealand. Another actor that I watched on Hawaii Five-O, Alex O’Loughlin is an Aussie. Enjoy watching them both.
He is a New Zealander.Not the same country as Australia !
I think he’s from New Zealand. He was also in the Britney Spears Toxic video now that I think about it.
Which I just watched and is absolutely a gem. That era really had the best music videos!
I love that one too.
He’s famous from the first Ring movie as well. He was the father of the boy and the ex boyfriend of Naomi Watt’s character
I posted these two remarks within the Bridgerton conversation:
“Yeah, my teeth grinding moment was over Jack not cutting things off with the barmaid when he realizes he’s interested in Mel. That’s a pretty big deviation from Jack’s basic character for me . . .” (from Season 1)
“Just finished a few episodes of Virgin River season 2 and I’m out. They’ve completely jumped the shark. It’s pretty sad IMO. They’ve got 21 books worth of characters and situations to work with, but they’ve got characters acting completely out of character. What’s the point? I’m sure the TV series will work for some readers of the books, but more likely it will appeal to people who’ve never read the books.”
Examples so far:
Jack continuing to see Charmaine while also attempting to date Mel.
Jack not marrying Charmaine when she turns up pregnant.
Preacher working outside the law when Paige’s ex shows up. (this is literally where I bailed)
I don’t take issue with changes to the plots of the books e.g. I’m not (as) bothered by the television show making Hope and Doc a couple – to the extent that they remain themselves. But I do take issue when the writer(s) change the fundamental nature/personality of the characters. Then it becomes something else, and should be called something other than “Virgin River”.
I’m not a reader of fan fiction. Do fan fic writers only put characters in new situations? Or do they also change characters’ underlying personalities?
I bailed in the first season. Charmaine and Jack were presented as a couple in the T.V. show and in the book, they were nothing more than f*ck buddies. I just couldn’t get behind Mel and Jack when it involved him treating another woman with whom he apparently had a relationship so badly.
Exactly. It just is so clearly not who he is as a character. In this season, the point at which I bailed, they’ve completely ignored the fact that both Jack and Preacher have very close relationships with many law enforcement and legal experts; and in the books, they trust the system to work/always play by the rules. Why change that for the TV show? If they wanted characters who don’t/can’t trust the system, create that. But you don’t need Virgin River source material to do that . . . Clearly, I’m missing something.
It’s interesting–one of the few of these books I read has as its hero a pot grower. I guess she changed her attitude towards law enforcement?
No, I don’t think so. Perhaps my characterization was a poor choice of words. I think the author would say she found ways over the arc of several books to “redeem” that particular character – he had reasons for doing what he did, while his business was illegal he tried to tread lightly, he got out of the biz as soon as he was able, sometimes good people get caught up in bad things, and so on.
I would second this. The redemptive character arc for Dan was done over several books and he was portrayed as being an honorable man in a dishonorable business.
Charmaine is not a barmaid, she’s a hairdresser, in the TV version anyway.
In the book they are “friends with benefits” and you seem to find a contradiction in the portrayal of their relationship in the TV version.
Just what do you imagine “friends with benefits” would look like?
I think the writers do a great job portraying a relationship like this. They do and say everything a loving couple does, with the exception of romantic words, exclusivity, and planning for their future together.
After two years of playing by Jack’s rules, hoping he will gradually fall in love with her as she already has with him, Charmaine begins to interject these elements into the relationship. But Jack resists her at every turn. When her pregnancy forces him to accept that they now have a future together, as co-parents, he rises to the occasion.
But Charmaine wants love and commitment and exclusivity, which Jack will continue to withhold. It’s gut-wrenching for her to watch him fall in love with Mel. Charmaine handles it by being manipulative with Jack, getting him to do countless little things for her, including sleeping over! She spins everything he does as evidence of an intimacy between them that only exists in her mind.
Charmaine is passive-aggressive with Mel and spreads gossip portraying Mel as a homewrecker,
It’s a fascinating character study. And this is only the tip of the iceberg in the lives of the three characters out of a dozen, all with interesting backstories.
The theme of two women fighting for the same man is repeated when Hope and Muriel contend for Doc. Like Jack, Doc continues to give both women mixed messages while simultaneously portraying himself to be a stand-up guy.
It’s only a matter if time before Lizzy gets involved In a little love triangle of her own. The tension continues!
I watched the first season and enjoyed it. I wasn’t blown away, but it’s entertaining. I’m not sure I’ll keep going, I’ve kind of lost interest, and that’s the whole problem for me with Robin Carr. She’s good, but rather forgettable. Her stories are pretty much standard for that contemporary small town genre. I read the first 8 books and gave the first book a B, but the ratings got steadily lower. Book 8 drifted into soap opera territory, with married couples keeping secrets and these picture-perfect moms endlessly complaining about how hard it was to be pregnant and raising small children (I call them martyr-mothers). At the same time, one of the book’s storylines questions the motives of adoptive parents. My review of Forbidden Falls (book 8) is definitely a rant review, but I am certainly in a tiny minority. It has a 4.2 rating on GR.
I love this show!! I’m going to buy some of the books now as I want to read them and never have.
We liked books one-three! Enjoy.
Love the actress playing Hope. Completely OTT but I watch at 6am before the DH gets up because he would take the mickey non-stop. Fab scenery. Ages since I read the first 8/9 books so can’t remember the plot details but really, who cares, it’s a perfect 6am watch.