Virgin River continues to be incredibly successful for Netflix and will return for season 5 in 2023. The fifth season of Virgin River is currently filming in British Columbia, Canada, through mid-November 2022.
First debuting on Netflix back in December 2019, Virgin River has quietly been one of Netflix’s sleeper hits, with fans around the globe enjoying the romantic drama starring Alexandra Breckenridge, Martin Henderson, Colin Lawrence, and Jenny Cooper set in the quaint remote town.
When was Virgin River renewed for season 5 at Netflix?
For those unaware, Virgin River was given a two-season renewal order following season 3. That means we’ve known about a fifth season for quite some time.
While two-season orders aren’t new, they are rare. That suggests that Virgin River continues to beat all the internal goals, and according to an interview with Netflix’s head of drama, the show “has some of the most attractive economics for a TV series with a very high return on investment as it costs a lot less to make than special effect-heavy productions”.
How well did Virgin River season 4 perform on Netflix?
The show has been a big hit for Netflix, even if it doesn’t capture all the headlines.
When season 4 launched, it featured in Netflix’s top 10 hourly charts for 6 weeks, picking up 304.790M hours globally between July 17th and August 28th, 2022.
With the caveat that season 4 had an extra couple of episodes, here’s how season 4 compared to season 3 over its first 6 weeks on the platform:
|Week in Top 10||Season 4||Season 3|
External demand looks to be strong for the show too, albeit on Google Trends, they suggest that the show may have peaked in interest with its third season.
As of October 13th, 2022 – the series was the 25th most popular show of 2022 according to FlixPatrol top 10s.
Where is season 5 of Virgin River in production?
As we reported in early 2022, filming on Virgin River season 5 was originally due to begin in March 2022. That was subsequently delayed to July 2022, although even those dates were subject to and ultimately did change.
The reason for the delay was unknown, but in a video post, Alexandra Breckenridge stated that she was keen on filming in the summer, saying that Vancouver isn’t that fun to film in the winter.
Filming for Virgin River season 5 will be between July 18th, 2022 and November 17th, 2022.
The official Virgin River series account on Instagram confirmed that production is underway with a Zoom call of a table read for the fifth season.
The post read as follows:
“Our cast in a table read for SEASON 5.. Yes, you heard that right folks. We have now started production on SEASON 5! Also, please meet our lovely new Show-runner Patrick Sean Smith. We can’t WAIT for you to see what we have in store. Don’t forget though, Season 4 is only 2 days away. See you soon!!”
That table read featured the following cast members (suggesting they’re all signed up for the fifth season):
- Alexandra Breckenridge as Mel Monroe
- Martin Henderson as Jack Sheridan
- Annette O’Toole as Hope McCrea
- Tim Matheson as Dr. Vernon Mullins
- Benjamin Hollingsworth as Dan Brady
- Zibby Allen as Brie Sheridan
- Gwynyth Walsh as Jo Ellen
- Colin Lawrence as John ‘Preacher’ Middleton
- Sarah Dugdale as Lizzie
- Jenny Cooper as Joey Barnes
- Nicola Cavendish as Connie
- Chase Petriw as Christopher
- Kai Bradbury as Denny Cutler
- Mark Ghanime as Dr. Cameron Hayek
- Marco Grazzini as Mike Valenzuela
- Teryl Rothery as Muriel
- Steve Bacic as Vince
- Christina Jastrzembska as Lydie
- Trevor Lerner as Bert Gordon
- Lucia Walters as Julia
- Keith MacKechnie as Nick
- Emma Oliver as Young Mel
In October 2022, What’s on Netflix exclusively confirmed the fact that Kandyse McClure had joined the cast for season 5 in a yet-to-be-revealed role. McClure previously starred in Netflix’s V-Wars and Battlestar Galactica.
For more on where Virgin River films, check out our filming guide for the show here.
We’re told that Virgin River season 5 will have an episode budget of between $3 and $5 million per episode, meaning that season 5 could cost Netflix up to $60 million when all is said and done.
— What’s on Netflix (@whatonnetflix) September 3, 2022
Virgin River Season 5 will have a new showrunner
The biggest news going into season 5 is that Sue Tenney is being replaced as showrunner by Patrick Sean Smith. Tenney is moving on to work on other projects.
Smith is notably known for working on The CW’s Supernatural, ABC Family’s Chasing Life, and most recently writing the episode Jolene on Netflix’s limited series Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings serving as executive producer and showrunner.
Who is directing episodes in Virgin River season 5?
Thanks to production listings, we know who will be directing episodes in the fifth season of Virgin River:
- Monika Mitchell will direct a couple of early episodes. Mitchell has previously directed episodes in season 3, including Take My Breath Away, Spare Parts, and Broken Hearts.
- Felipe Rodriguez will make his directorial debut on Virgin River for season 5. The director has worked on shows like Hudson & Rex, The Good Doctor, Blood and Water, and Ruby and the Well.
- Martin Wood has directed 15 episodes in the series so far and will be returning.
- Jem Garrard will make her Virgin River debut in season 5. She has previously directed on Motherland: Fort Salem, Wynonna Earp, and Charmed.
- Andy Mikita is another returning director for season 5. Has also worked on Travelers, Motive, and Family Law.
- Gail Harvey is expected to return as a director on Virgin River, adding to her 6 credits thus far.
Season 5 of Virgin River will be another expanded 12-episode season
Until season 4, all seasons of Virgin River had run at around 10 episodes a piece.
Season 4, however, was given an expanded 12-episode season, and we’ve now learned, thanks to a live stream from Alexandra Breckenridge, that it will once again be an expanded 12-episode fifth season again.
This expanded episode count has been confirmed again by the new showrunner.
What to expect from Virgin River Season 5
Note: This section was written by the Virgin River Twitter account VRPassionate.
It wouldn’t be Virgin River if season 4 didn’t end on a cliffhanger.
Burning Questions for Virgin River season 5
At the end of the season, Charmaine is in severe pain and scared of losing her twins and confessing to Jack and Mel that the two boys aren’t actually his.
This will definitely be one of the main and most important questions for season 5.
While speaking with Glamour Magazine, Henderson and Breckenridge confessed they know the twins’ paternity, which can easily mean the twin’s father is a member of the current cast.
The main “suspects” are Brady, Mike, and Dr. Cameron.
Mel and Jack, the most beloved couple of the show, will continue to have a major role in season 5. The upcoming season should follow them, focusing on their relationship, family, and new baby girl.
Alexandra Breckenridge teased a heavier season going into season 5, according to New Beauty, saying:
“I think this season has started out well and we’re getting into a few episodes soon that are pretty heavy. They’re really intense and I think that they’re some of the best episodes we’ve ever done. I never say that either! I think that there’s a high sense of drama that starts to come up this season that it’s going to leave people on the edge of their seats. At least, I hope. I’m excited to get into that.”
Virgin River’s mayor Hope will continue recovering with the help of Lizzie and hopefully, get back to her mayoral duties and solidify her friendship with Muriel.
Brie revealed her rape to Brady and while facing her former boyfriend-rapist Don, she decided to report her sexual assault and take him to court. The new season could focus on Brie’s trial and her disclosing her assault to Jack.
We left Preacher and Paige in a cabin with Vince unconscious on the floor so we might be saying goodbye to Paige for good next season. That’s mainly because Julia, a new love interest for Preacher, has been introduced in season 4, and there’s little evidence there’s room for a love triangle.
Doc’s grandson Danny revealed to Lizzie he doesn’t want to get romantically involved with her because he has been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, a rare disease that causes the progressive breakdown (degeneration) of nerve cells in the brain.
Next season both Lizzie and Doc will have to face Denny’s illness. Lizzie, who has matured immensely during season 4, will have to decide if she wants to pursue a relationship with Danny despite his disease or if she still has feelings for Ricky, who, even though she left for the marine boot camp in San Diego, won’t probably stay away from Virgin River for too long.
Lots of new and returning characters
In an interview with Deadline, Netflix’s head of drama Jinny Howe, touched on how the series will change going into the fifth season.
She told the Hollywood trade site:
“I think what’s going to be interesting is to see this universe continue to grow and expand and to see new characters, other characters return. A lot of that was set up in the Season 4 finale but it’s going to be really exciting to see all of that come to a head in Season 5. And some of the soap that’s going to come out of these new complex tensions and triangles.”
More Diversity and LGBTQ Inclusion in Virgin River season 5
Finally, Breckenridge disclosed in her interview with Glamour that the new showrunner, writers, and directors will bring more LGBTQ+ stories to create more inclusivity in the show. Breckenridge has been extremely vocal about more diversity in Virgin River since the beginning.
When will Season 5 of Virgin River be on Netflix?
With production only just underway, it’s a little too early to say when season 5 will be on Netflix. With that said, using production schedules and release dates from prior years, it takes around 6-7 months for the show to drop onto Netflix eventually.
It’s safe to assume that the show will return sometime in 2023.
Since production is scheduled to end in November 2022, we could see season 5 of Virgin River on Netflix as soon as summer 2023.
Will there be a Virgin River season 6?
The show is only currently renewed through to the end of season 5 but there’s definitely more on the cards, according to those in the know.
In the aforementioned interview with Netflix’s head of drama, Howe told Deadline that we’ll “definitely see more longevity and growth with the show,” adding:
“As long as the audience asks for it and shows up — and I think we see with Season 4 that the fandom is very strong and growing in many places as well — it feels like based on what we’re seeing with Season 4 and the anticipation for Season 5 that there is a lot more storytelling to offer us. It will be exciting to see which characters continue to break out and audiences crave more of; we’re paying very close attention, understanding that this is a really rich universe of characters and that people can’t seem to get enough, myself included. So I think as long as that continues to be the case — which we’re very hopeful for — you can rest assured that there will be more Virgin River.”
With thanks to @VRPassionate on Twitter for helping source and compile some of the information for this article.
Are you looking forward to watching Virgin River season 5 on Netflix? Let us know in the comments down below.