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Virgin River sounds like a fake show: So how did it end up topping Netflix's charts?

  • "Lately I’ve come to think of the list Netflix provides on its homepage of its Top 10 most popular shows and movies at any given time as the streamer’s version of the roll call at the Democratic National Convention this summer: Taking it in, one can only marvel at what a big country this is and how many, many different people, with very different entertainment preferences, occupy it," says Heather Schwedel. "Where else does one find prestige programming like The Crown and The Queen’s Gambit cheek by jowl with docufiction about aliens, a Christmas movie from 20 years ago, and, always, between one and five options you’re convinced don’t actually exist beyond their thumbnail images? For the past week or so, the honor of most fake-seeming show on the list has belonged to something called Virgin River. In contrast to the months-long publicity campaigns that precede some Netflix releases, others, like Virgin River, just seem to show up one day, their Rotten Tomatoes pages suspiciously lacking in reviews. With its blandly scenic setting and its generically good-looking leads, Virgin River feels, even more than most Netflix shows, like it could have been generated entirely by artificial intelligence. So what is it? Where did it come from? Why were so many people watching it last week? And should you? Allow me to be your River guide as I attempt to answer those questions. Surprise No. 1: There was actually already one season of this show last December, and this is another one." Turns out, Schwedel says, "the show isn’t actually about virgins (or if it is, I’ve seriously misunderstood it). Virgin River is just the name of the small Northern California town where the series is set." In fact, Virgin River is reminiscent of The WB's Everwood. ALSO: Virgin River showrunner Sue Tenney teases a yet-to-be-ordered Season 3.

    TOPICS: Virgin River, Netflix, Sue Tenney