With Virgin River Season 5 on the way to Netflix, fans can’t get enough of the hit series. Whether you’re a loyal viewer or just starting to explore the small-town charm of the show, we’ve compiled a list of seven key things you need to know.
From the picturesque setting to the beloved characters and the emotional rollercoaster they take us on, get ready to dive deeper into the world of Virgin River!
Virgin River Author Robyn Carr Chose Netflix
Virgin River is based on the book series written by Robyn Carr. And it has sold over 13 million copies! It was so successful that there was even an academic paper about it. The paper was authored by by SUNY Pittsburgh US history and popular culture professor, Dr. Jessamyn Neuhas with Dr. John Neuhaus from Western Michigan University.
There was a lot of hype for Virgin River getting its own series. As Netflix has been making room for more content, Carr said the streaming service had the tone she wanted for her story.
“Netflix is a little bit edgier. It’s a perfect fit,” said Carr.
In another related fact, the show’s executive producer Roma Roth talked about why she wanted to option and develop the show. Roth said she saw the series as a community and was looking for a project that was different from the current television shows. She said that most shows nowadays were dark thrillers, which was why she was attracted to a show like Virgin River.
Roth said that Virgin River makes people feel good. And we couldn’t agree more!
The Fictional Town, the River, and the Filming Location
If you were wondering if there’s really a town called Virgin River, sadly, there isn’t. Carr said in an interview with EW that she’s had to remind fans of the show that the town is fictional.
However, the river itself is real, as it is a tributary of the Colorado River which passes through Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. It may also have been inspired by Carr’s upbringing, according to her biography on her official website.
“People always write and say, ‘Where is it? I want to go there’ and I have to remind them that it only exists in our hearts and minds,” said Carr.
Many shows in Hollywood have been filmed in Canada, including Virgin River. Even if the town is set in Northern California, the show’s scenery is in Vancouver proper and on studio lots. Virgin River is also filmed in Snug Cove in Bowen Island, Burnaby, and Port Coquitlam in British Columbia.
Even if Virgin River is a fictional town, the Vancouver Tourism Board has created a self-guided tour inspired by the series. This includes “Jack’s Bar” and the sign location that says “Welcome to Virgin River.”
Jack’s Bar and Mel’s Cabin
The iconic Jack’s Bar in Virgin River is where the town’s residents gossip and plot twists take place. The interior of the bar itself is a studio set. But the facade is actually The Watershed Grill in Brackendale, British Columbia. That’s not to say that no scenes were filmed in The Watershed Grill itself, because the show has filmed some scenes there.
Meanwhile, Mel’s cabin is actually the residence of a previous park caretaker’s home in North Shore, Vancouver, specifically the Murdo Frazer Park. Because of the high demand for the cabin to be used, it has been continuously restored for production. The cabin was first built in 1951 after the state acquired the place in 1969.
It has piqued the interest of Hollywood by the late 1908s or early 1990s. Mel’s Cabin has been featured on several hit shows like The Flash, Psych, Supernatural, and Once Upon a Time.
Mel and Jack’s Intimate Moments
Mel and Jack have had a little bit of a slow-burn relationship but for a good reason. Virgin River Sue Tenney chose to create more tension and longing between the two leads. Their first kiss was not until episode eight in the first season and they didn’t sleep together until the second season.
Carr praised this decision. Carr also appreciated the plot twists that helped flesh out the story more on screen.
While fans love the romance, there’s also the question of whether the actors get along off-screen. The answer to that is yes, they do get along. Alexandra Breckinridge told The List about her friendship with her colleagues on the show.
“I’m really good friends with Zibby Allen and Martin,” said the actress, referring to her on-screen partner Martin Henderson, who plays Jack. “Those are my two closest. They’re my friends, they’re my people… I mainly hang out a lot with Zibby and Martin.”
The Book’s Audiobook Narrator is On the Show
Fans who prefer to listen to the Virgin River audiobooks might be surprised to know that its narrator, Therese Plummer, also acts in the show. Plummer has narrated over 300 audiobooks, was nominated for five 2018 Audio Awards, and even guest-starred on The Good Wife. Carr even brought Plummer on Facebook to answer questions from the fans.
Season 5 is Martin Henderson’s Favorite
Fans are excited to know what’s in store for the Virgin River residents when Season 5 arrives. According to Glamour, Henderson talked about why he’s a big fan of the upcoming episodes.
“Season five’s great, by the way. It’s the best season yet. I’m amazing in it,” said the actor.
Separately, Henderson told Entertainment Weekly that while filming Season 4, he backflipped and hurt himself. Annette O’Toole, who plays Hope, said Henderson backflipped over a bale of hay.
“That was not coordinated. That will be the last stunt I ever do myself. Tom Cruise sets the bar so high and then I come in and land on my head,” said Henderson.
Henderson also has a special history with none other than Britney Spears. The actor appeared in Spears’ 2003 music video for “Toxic” as the cheating boyfriend. In June 2021, Henderson recalled their on-screen kiss and said Spears was a “beautiful person.”
Tim Matheson Filmed a Suits Episode in 2011
Matheson, who plays Doc on Virgin River, directed an episode of the legal series Suits in 2011. During his time working on the show, Matheson had nothing but praise for the now-Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.
“She was charming and she had an aura about her that was special,” Matheson told Page Six. “I could see that she had a very unique quality and the camera loved her. For me as a director, she was easy to shoot. Just point it in that direction, it’ll be fine.”
The actor also called Markle “great, very down to earth, and there were no airs put on.”
This isn’t the first time Matheson has played a “grumpy doctor set in his ways” kind of character, either. Matheson played a similar role in Hart of Dixie, as the small-town doctor Brick Breeland.
Virgin River Season 5 Part 1 premieres on Netflix on September 7, 2023, with the series returning on November 30, 2023, for Part 2 of the season.