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Scott D. Pierce
Scott D. Pierce writes about television for the Salt Lake Tribune. Vice president of the Television Critics Associationn, he's covered TV in Utah since 1990.

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"Gumbo & Glory" - Pictured (L-R) (L-R): Rachel Bilson as Dr. Zoe Hart and Scott Poter as George Tucker in HART OF DIXIE on THE CW. Photo Credit: Michael Yarish /The CW©2011 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Review: "Hart of Dixie" is a pale imitation of better shows

Here's the quick take on "Hart of Dixie," which premieres Monday at 8 p.m. on The CW/Ch. 30:

• Love Rachel Bilson.

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• Wish she was in a good show instead of this one.

Oh, "Hart of Dixie" isn't awful. It actually looks like an attempt to return to the kind of show that The WB (which merged with UPN to form The CW) used to do so well.

But it's totally derivative and lacks the kind of heart that made shows like "Gilmore Girls" and "Everwood" so great.

Actually, "Hart of Dixie" has, um, borrowed greatly from those two shows. Like "Gilmore Girls," it's set in a small town full of quirky folks. Like "Everwood," the premise is that a big-city doctor moves to a small town and comes into conflict with the doctor who's already practicing there.

Bilson ("The O.C.") stars a Zoe Hart, an insufferably egotistical young doctor from New York City who finds herself more or less forced to lower herself by moving to smalltown Alabama. A place she refers to as "purgatory."

Not surprisingly, the locals don't like her much.

Actually, the writers don't seem to like the South much, either, what with the ridiculous stereotypes - from the hoop skirts to the alligator named Elvis - they use to populate the show.

Zoe quickly falls for one of the small-town men (Scott Porter, "Friday Night Lights"), but he's already got a girlfriend. That girlfriend is the daughter of the town doctor (Tim Matheson), who is not at all happy about Zoe's arrival.

Just like "Everwood."

Actually, "Hart of Dixie" is pretty much a total rip-off of "Northern Exposure," with a change of gender in a change of direction. "Exposure" was about an arrogant young male doctor who headed north to Alaska, where he encountered a small town full of quirky characters and struggled to fit in.

Change "male" to "female" and "north to Alaska" to "south to Alabama," and it's the same show. Only without the charm, the smarts and the humor.

Bilson could be a big TV star. She could carry a show.

But not "Hart of Dixie." Nobody could carry this show.



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