50 best television shows set across the United States

5 of 52

Arkansas: Evening Shade

The premise: A former NFL player, Wood Newton, played by the hunky Burt Reynolds, returns to his hometown in Arkansas and quickly gathers a clique of folksy locals. Wood takes a job coaching the local high school football team, which is notorious for losing every single game. Wood and his wife have quite an age difference, but they are nonetheless devoted to each other.

The setting: The rural town of Evening Shade performs much like another character in the show. A voiceover at the end of every week starts with “In a place called Evening Shade” that mostly just summed up the goings-on of the episode. Evening Shade (much like many, many other small towns on TV) is populated with interesting and lovable characters, but it took on a lot more serious storylines than most. The folks in the town are funny and entertaining of course, but they are also whipsmart and surprisingly savvy — well, most of them.

The most Arkansas thing about it: The show was produced by Linda Bloodworth and her husband, Harry Thompson. Bloodworth hails from Missouri and Thompson from Arkansas, adding a nice touch of authenticity. As a nod to the location, some famous locales are featured in the opening credits, including McClard’s Barbeque on Albert Park Boulevard.