Dolly Parton's Heartstrings

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Dolly Parton's Heartstrings
Based onthe stories and songs
by Dolly Parton
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
Running time56–85 minutes
Production companies
Original networkNetflix
Original releaseNovember 22, 2019 (2019-11-22)
External links
Official website

Dolly Parton's Heartstrings, or simply Heartstrings, is an American anthology dramedy streaming television series that premiered on November 22, 2019 on Netflix.


Dolly Parton's Heartstrings showcases "the stories, memories and inspirations behind Parton’s most beloved songs."[1]



On June 4, 2018, it was announced that Netflix had given the production, then untitled, a series order for a first season consisting of eight episodes. Executive producers were expected to include Dolly Parton and Sam Haskell. Production companies involved with the series were slated to consist of Dixie Pixie Productions, Magnolia Hill Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television, and Sandollar Productions.[1][2] The New York Times reported that the show was inspired by the WNYC podcast Dolly Parton's America.[3]

In November 2018, it was reported that the series had been titled Dolly Parton's Heartstrings, that it would premiere in 2019, and that Patrick Sean Smith would serve as the series' showrunner and as an additional executive producer. Additionally, it was further reported that episodes would be based upon the songs "Jolene", "These Old Bones", and "If I Had Wings". All of the episodes were set to be written by Jim Strain with Joe Lazarov directing "These Old Bones" and Timothy Busfield directing "If I Had Wings".[4][5][6] On December 19, 2018, it was announced that Terry McDonough would direct an episode based on the song "JJ Sneed" from another script by Strain.[7] On February 11, 2019, it was announced that that other four episodes would be based upon the songs "Two Doors Down", "Down from Dover", "Sugar Hill", and "Cracker Jack". "Two Doors Down" was set to be directed by Wendey Stanzler from a script by Mark B. Perry, "Down From Dover" to be directed by Erica Dunton from a script by John Sacret Young, "Sugar Hill" to be directed by Lev L. Spiro from a script by Thomas Ian Griffith and Mary Page Keller, and "Cracker Jack" to be directed by Liesl Tommy from a script by Lisa Melamed.[8]


Alongside the series order announcement, it was confirmed that Dolly Parton would appear in the series.[1] In November 2018, it was announced that Julianne Hough, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and Dallas Roberts had been cast in the episode "Jolene", that Kathleen Turner, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Kyle Bornheimer had been cast in the episode "These Old Bones", and that Gerald McRaney, Brooke Elliott, Ben Lawson, Michele Weaver, Delta Burke, and Tim Reid had been cast in the episode "If I Had Wings".[4][5][6] On December 19, 2018, it was reported that Colin O'Donoghue, Willa Fitzgerald, David Denman, Mac Davis, and Vanessa Rubio had been cast in the episode "JJ Sneed".[7] On February 11, 2019, it was announced that Melissa Leo, Ray McKinnon, Andy Mientus, Katie Stevens, and Michael Willett had been cast in the episode "Two Doors Down", Holly Taylor, Shane McGhie, Robert Taylor, Bellamy Young, Camryn Manheim, and Mary Lane Haskell had been cast in the episode "Down From Dover", Patricia Wettig, Timothy Busfield, Virginia Gardner, and Tom Brittney had been cast in the episode "Sugar Hill", and that Sarah Shahi, Rochelle Aytes, Jessica Collins, and Tammy Lynn Michaels had been cast in the episode "Cracker Jack".[8]


Principal photography for the series commenced in September 2018 in Georgia. Filming occurred in locations that month such as Cartersville, Stone Mountain, Kennesaw, and at Third Rail Studios in Doraville.[9] In October 2018, filming took place in such locations as Milton, Canton, the Orange United Methodist Church in Lathemtown, and Emory Hospital in Smyrna.[10] In November 2018, shooting moved to locales including Norcross, Gainesville, Cumming.[11] In December 2018, the production was working out of Snellville, Loganville, and downtown Canton.[12] In January 2019, shooting was held in various areas like the Tucker Recreation Center in Tucker, Georgia and Marietta Square in Marietta, Georgia.[13]


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Jolene"Andrew FlemingPatrick Sean SmithNovember 22, 2019 (2019-11-22)

When she learns of a honky tonk bar called Baby Blues, housewife Emily decides to go there, where she is saved from being groped by Jolene, a confident bartender/bar singer who has dreams of going to Nashville to pursue country music. Emily and Jolene befriend each other and spend a lot of time with one another, with Emily hiring Jolene as a guitar teacher for her son. Jolene gives advice for Emily on how she can spice up her marriage with her husband Aaron. Emily is shocked to find out the husband of one of her friends is having an affair with Jolene, damaging their friendship. Emily also suspects that Jolene is having an affair with Aaron when he lies about going to Baby Blues. At the harvest festival, Emily confronts Aaron, who reveals that he has not had an affair but thought of it. He then agrees to see a counselor. With advice from the owner of Baby Blues, Baby, Jolene decides to leave for Nashville to hopefully start her career in country music. Baby then advises Emily to say goodbye, but she misses the bus. She does, however, text Jolene forgiving her and wishing her luck. Some time later, Emily and Aaron have mended their relationship and go to see Jolene, who has become famous, in concert. After the show, Emily and Jolene have a happy reunion.

Cast : Julianne Hough, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, & Dallas Roberts
2"Two Doors Down"Wendey StanzlerMark B. PerryNovember 22, 2019 (2019-11-22)

Ty comes back to his hometown for his sister Lee’s wedding. Unbeknownst to everyone except for Lee, Ty is gay and in a relationship with Cole, the wedding planner. Ty fears telling his conservative parents, Amelia and Roy, about it. Lee is secretly still acting and plans to move to LA with her fiancée Digby once they are married. Roy and Amelia are having marital issues, mostly because they are of differing personalities: Amelia is overbearing, and Roy is relaxed—and because Amelia's battle with cancer the previous year put a strain on their relationship. During a panic attack, Lee accidentally reveals to their parents that Ty is gay. Roy accepts this, but Amelia is horrified and freaks out. Also, it comes out that Lee is going to keep acting and plans to move to LA, though her parents have bought them a house as a wedding present. It also comes out that Cole and Ty are in a relationship, sending Amelia over the deep end. Lee and Digby get married at the courthouse instead of the lavish ceremony Amelia had planned, which causes Amelia to lock herself in her room. Ty presents the wedding crowd with a performance by Dolly Parton. He then goes up to his mother’s room to invite her back to the party, and they make amends. Lee reveals she will not be moving to LA after all, due to her TV career growing locally at home. Ty and Cole agree to move in together, and Roy and Amelia also make amends.

Cast : Melissa Leo, Ray McKinnon, Andy Mientus, Katie Stevens, & Michael Willett
3"If I Had Wings"Timothy BusfieldJim StrainNovember 22, 2019 (2019-11-22)

Tom Freeman gets a shock when he finds out his girlfriend Ellie has invited his three estranged children over for his birthday. This causes Tom to flee home and spend time with his friend Kendall. Meanwhile, Tom’s children arrive: sales rep Clay, nurse Nancy, and jewelry designer Phyllis. Kendall takes Tom home while Clay agrees to take Kendall home where Clay reveals his hatred for Tom especially because of the fact Tom killed a man and Kendall encourages him to talk to him about it. Tom runs away again which causes Phyllis and Nancy to go looking for him. Nancy learns that Phyllis is pregnant and they fight. Meanwhile, Clay finds Tom and he confronts him over his past: Tom reveals the man he killed was his father and he killed him because one night he found him brutally assaulting his brother. This causes Tom to flee where he later met Clay and Nancy’s mother, but left because the police were looking for him. Tom also had several flames (one resulting in the birth of Phyllis). Meanwhile, Nancy and Phyllis make amends. Tom and Clay come home where Tom apologizes and makes amends with everyone. Moments later, Tom dies after having a bad fall. The family tearfully says goodbye to him. Months later, a heavily pregnant Phyllis is living with Ellie and they happily anticipate Thanksgiving because Clay and Nancy are coming with their families.

Cast : Gerald McRaney, Brooke Elliott, Ben Lawson, Michele Weaver, Delta Burke, & Tim Reid
4"Cracker Jack"Liesl TommyLisa MelamedNovember 22, 2019 (2019-11-22)

As a child, Lucy Jane finds a dog and names him Cracker Jack who later dies from a rattlesnake bite while out walking and Lucy Jane tearfully says goodbye. 35 years later, Lucy Jane invites her three best friends: Scarlet, Monica, and Bitsy for a girls trip at Scarlet’s house in the woods. The girls’ secrets begin to arise: the girls think Lucy Jane has relapsed into alcoholism, but she instead tells them that she has MS. Scarlet is still grieving the death of her husband a few years ago and faces a new atttaction with Trey, an old high school friend while also becoming an empty nester as her son prepares to go off to college. Monica’s husband reveals his abusive side when he attacks her in front of the girls with Monica kicking him out. Finally, there is Bitsy a lesbian who is jewelry business has just been bought by a major buyer and she has become wealthy. Lucy Jane meets young runaway Nola who has a pet dog that she is not allowed to keep and asks Lucy Jane if she would take care of her which she happily agrees to. Scarlet gives Lucy Jane her house and Lucy Jane allows Monica and her daughters to move in with her.

Cast : Sarah Shahi, Rochelle Aytes, Jessica Collins, & Tammy Lynn Michaels
5"Down from Dover"Erica DuntonJohn Sacret YoungNovember 22, 2019 (2019-11-22)

Delilah “Dee” Coburn and Lincoln Dolarhyde are a teenaged interracial couple who have just graduated from high school. Lincoln reveals that he has enlisted and the two agree to marry. However, Dee’s father who is a prominent local preacher openly agrees, but privately tells Dee that he will not allow it. Before Lincoln leaves for Vietnam, he and Dee have sex which results in Dee getting pregnant. Dee tells her father who freaks out and decides to send Dee upstate to have the baby and give it up. Meanwhile, Lincoln continues to write letters to Dee from Vietnam. Dee arrives at a home for unwed mothers, and Dee is reluctant to sign the paperwork giving up rights to her child. Dee befriends one of the fellow girls, Mayer, who has been forced to be there. Meanwhile, Dee’s father starts to burn all of the letters Lincoln sends, but has a change of heart and saves them. Dee and Mayer leave the home and are picked up by a friendly woman, Lily Grover. She is a midwife who takes in girls who want to keep their babies. Mayer goes into labor and has a baby girl. Dee goes into premature labor and the baby is stillborn. Rev. Coburn arrives at Lily’s house where he gives her the letters and makes amends with his daughter. Lincoln comes home (with an amputated leg) and embraces his new family.

Cast : Holly Taylor, Shane McGhie, Robert Taylor, Bellamy Young, Camryn Manheim, & Mary Lane Haskell
6"Sugar Hill"Lev L. SpiroThomas Ian Griffith & Mary Page KellerNovember 22, 2019 (2019-11-22)

A recent widower Logan sees a vision of his wife Harper who encourages him to take a trip to their old home, Sugar Hill to see his father. Logan makes amends with his estranged father. Logan and vision Harper recount their vows. The story of their life is shown in flashbacks. They had been childhood friends, but were separated when Logan’s father was arrested and he was sent off to live with his grandmother. They are reunited in their teenage years when Logan comes back to town. The two date and fall in love. Logan’s father descends into abuse and alcoholism. Logan is scouted by a minor league baseball team and has a big fight with Harper before he leaves for training and accidentally hits her and once again the two don’t see each other for a while. The two meet again when Logan attends a poetry reading being done by a now pregnant Harper who is now planning on raising it alone. Logan confesses his feelings to her and proposes which she accepts and they marry. Present day, Logan calls his two grown children and agrees to take them to Sugar Hill and he spreads his wife’s ashes on the hill.

Cast : Patricia Wettig, Timothy Busfield, Virginia Gardner, & Tom Brittney
7"J.J. Sneed"Terry McDonoughJim StrainNovember 22, 2019 (2019-11-22)

To avoid an arranged marriage, Maddie Hawkins decides to run off and have her own adventures. At her ranch, she meets horse thief/outlaw JJ Sneed and the two ride up north. Meanwhile, bounty hunter Dick Fletcher begins looking for JJ and Maddie. Maddie opens up to JJ about her parent’s death and JJ offers Maddie a position to be his assistant outlaw. The two also develop an attraction with one another. During one of the robberies, Maddie is forced to shoot the sheriff when the sheriff injures JJ and they end up losing the money. To redeem herself, Maddie organizes a train robbery. She also breaks JJ’s old partner Samaron Rose out of jail to assist them. Instead, JJ and Samaron tie Maddie up and leave her. Fletcher finds her and reveals that JJ is a murderer who has been secretly killing people behind Maddie’s back. Maddie flees Fletcher to go after JJ. She holds JJ at gunpoint allowing Samaron to flee. She then blows up the beaver dam and JJ’s share of the money and shoots him injuring him and leaving him for Fletcher who agrees not to turn her in.

Cast : Colin O'Donoghue, Willa Fitzgerald, David Denman, Mac Davis, & Vanessa Rubio
8"These Old Bones"Joe LazarovJim StrainNovember 22, 2019 (2019-11-22)

Genevieve Carson is a young DC lawyer who is sent back to her home town to convince a strange mountain woman Mary “Bones” Shaw rumored to be a witch to stop advising people not to sell their land to her clients. Meanwhile, a young boy Jonah is forced to do Bones’ chores by her for sneaking on her land previously. Genevieve offers to buy the land under the pretense that she stop practicing her clairvoyance, but Bones refuses. Genevieve serves Bones with a civil suit which causes Bones to appoint Jonah’s father, Landon Rayfield, her lawyer and he threatens to file a counter suit for defamation of character and intends to prove Bones’ clairvoyance. To ensure they win the case, Genevieve’s client hires Alex, a private investigator, to dig up dirt on Bones. Genevieve is wary about using the evidence since she thinks they can win without it. Knowing she will be fired and blacklisted unless she uses it, she reveals it: personal tragedy that has struck Bones such as a house fire that killed her parents and the fact that she was raped and gave birth to a child and that if she was truly clairvoyant, she would have used her abilities to predict and avoid the tragedy. Landon then is able to get Bones to use her abilities to reveal the reason why Genivieve’s clients want Bones’ land: the company is planning to strike the land of its coal which would leave the land and town desolate. Horrified by everything she has done and now knows, Genivieve leaves her client and the company withdraws meaning Bones gets to keep her land. Genevieve realizes that she is the daughter of Bones and that her visions were events from Bones’ life. She goes to Bones and they have a tender moment and forgive one another for their past activities. It is also hinted that Genevieve and Landon might strike up a relationship.

Cast : Kathleen Turner, Ginnifer Goodwin, & Kyle Bornheimer


On Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 50% based on critic reviews, with an average rating of 5.94/10.[14] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 72 out of 100 based on reviews from 4 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[15]

The episode "Two Doors Down" received a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Individual Episode at the 31st GLAAD Awards.[16] The episode "These Old Bones" was nominated for a 2020 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie.[17]


  1. ^ a b c Andreeva, Nellie (June 4, 2018). "Netflix Orders Dolly Parton Anthology Series Based On Her Songs". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  2. ^ Porter, Rick (February 11, 2019). "'Dolly Parton's Heartstrings': All the Details on the Netflix Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  3. ^ Zoladz, Lindsay (2019-11-21). "Is There Anything We Can All Agree On? Yes: Dolly Parton". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-11-27.
  4. ^ a b Porter, Rick (November 1, 2018). "Dolly Parton Netflix Series 'Heartstrings' Sets Cast for 'Jolene'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (November 7, 2018). "Kathleen Turner, Ginnifer Goodwin & Kyle Bornheimer To Star In 'These Old Bones' Episode Of Dolly Parton Netflix Anthology". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie; Petski, Denise (November 30, 2018). "Brooke Elliott, Ben Lawson, Michele Weaver & Gerald McRaney Star In "If I Had Wings," Part Of Dolly Parton Netflix Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Petski, Denise (December 19, 2018). "Colin O'Donoghue & Willa Fitzgerald Among Five Cast In 'JJ Sneed' Episode Of Dolly Parton Netflix Anthology". Deadline Hollywood.
  8. ^ a b Turchiano, Danielle (February 11, 2019). "Melissa Leo, Camryn Manheim Among Cast for 'Dolly Parton's Heartstrings'". Variety. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  9. ^ Walljasper, Matt (September 27, 2018). "What's filming in Atlanta now? Sextuplets, Doom Patrol, Avengers 4 (again), and more". Atlanta. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  10. ^ Walljasper, Matt (October 29, 2018). "What's filming in Atlanta now? Doctor Sleep, The Banker, Stranger Things, Avengers, Watchmen, and more". Atlanta. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  11. ^ Walljasper, Matt (November 29, 2018). "What's filming in Atlanta now? Limited Partners, Watchmen, Stranger Things, plus unpacking the #BoycottGeorgia movement". Atlanta. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  12. ^ Walljasper, Matt (December 20, 2018). "What's filming in Atlanta now? Undercover Brother 2, Limited Partners, Watchmen, Dolly Parton's Heartstrings, and more". Atlanta. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  13. ^ Walljasper, Matt (January 31, 2019). "What's filming in Atlanta now? Bad Boys for Life, Noelle, Amazing Stories, plus Atlanta's award nods". Atlanta. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  14. ^ "Dolly Parton's Heartstrings: Season 1 (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  15. ^ "Dolly Parton's Heartstrings: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Complete List of All 160 Netflix Emmy Nominations in 2020". What's on Netflix. August 12, 2020.

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