If there is one show I recommend to everyone, it’s When Calls the Heart. When Calls the Heart is Anne of Green Gables/Road to Avonlea meets Little House on the Prairie. The story was originally written by Janette Oke (also penned the Love Comes Softly series). And it’s the best. You’re totally missing out on if you haven’t watched this show. 9/10 people I’ve met have at least liked it. Even my non-hearties husband who teases me about this seems to like it a liiiiiitle. (That’s a big deal).
All right. I’ll give you a quick crash course. And I’ll try not to spoil it… too much. (Edited to Add– there are some spoilers…so read at your own risk!)
Before I start on the series, there is also a pilot movie that aired prior to the series also called When Calls the Heart. The leads are Maggie Grace, Stephen Amell, and Poppy Drayton. Brian Bird, the producer and creator of the show, has a crazy story of how this all came together. (LINK) The movie is about “Aunt” Elizabeth Thatcher (Maggie Grace) and how she meets her Mountie (Stephen Amell). The movie is loosely based off of the original book by Janette Oke, When Calls the Heart. Due to issues Brian Bird talks about in this article (go read it– it’s seriously fascinating), they had to come up with another storyline quickly to piece together a full movie. Enter young Elizabeth (Poppy Drayton). Elizabeth’s goal is to prove to her sister Julie and her parents that she is capable and can thrive out west as a young teacher. Her father encourages her cautiously, and Elizabeth starts her journey West.
This is where people get confused. Elizabeth in the series is played by Erin Krakow. But is she “Aunt” Elizabeth played by Maggie Grace? Or “young” Elizabeth played by Poppy Drayton? I tweeted to Brian Bird, and he said Erin Krakow is playing the part of young Elizabeth, originally Poppy.
@brbird #WCTH question! Friend & I were discussing & I can’t find official answer so hope u can help! Is @erinkrakow’s Elizabeth Thatcher based off of Poppy Drayton or Maggie Grace in the original movie? #hearties
— Kaycee (@hallmarkmywords) January 9, 2018
Poppy Drayton. Maggie Grace played her Aunt Elizabeth Thatcher. https://t.co/3UR3y29Zqt
— Brian Bird (@brbird) January 10, 2018
Here’s my take– watch the movie all the way through because as a stand-alone, it’s fantastic. If you want to bridge it to the series (starring Erin Krakow), stop your mind at the stagecoach robbery and bridge that to the Pilot episode where Erin Krakow leans out the window and realizes that they are about to be robbed. As for Edward? Let’s just pretend he gets kidnapped or that he goes off and fights the bad guys and gets stuck somewhere. (This will make sense when you watch the movie)
A lot of #Hearties didn’t care for the movie. I get it. It’s weird to see someone else play Elizabeth as we all love Erin Krakow. But if you just watch it for the story, the whole series makes sense. Plus, you see a side of William Thatcher that you don’t see in the series (at least until season 5). In the movie, he is a concerned parent. In the series, people deem him as an arrogant snob. I didn’t care for William Thatcher until I watched the pilot movie. He and Elizabeth seem to have a special daddy/daughter bond, while Julie takes more to their mother Grace. I’m getting ahead of myself, but I truly think that in season 2, William just wants what’s best for his girl and is nervous that she’ll end up hurt as it wasn’t uncommon for Mounties to pass fighting the good fight. And as a parent of two daughters, I can sympathize with him.
Let’s get into the series.
Season 1: Elizabeth tries to prove herself to the residents of Coal Valley and the “handsome annoying Mountie” Jack that she is capable to be the school teacher.
This season gave me so many feelings. I cried a lot during season 1. Maybe it was the hormones because I just had a baby, but the stories told in season 1 drew me into the show. A few storylines come to mind– Rosaleen’s story and Bo’s story. I also laughed a lot. I was surprised by how much I laughed out loud. The banter between Jack and Elizabeth was priceless. And oh, the angst! I also wanted to punch Rosemary in the throat and send her back to New York. Her and Henry Gowen both.
Season 2: Jack and Elizabeth go back to Hamilton and he realizes they are from two different worlds. Elizabeth seems to be blinded by this realization. Meanwhile, the mysterious Lee Coulter arrives in Coal Valley, now Hope Valley, and opens a sawmill. He also woos Rosemary. We also meet Charles Kensington III.
While this season wasn’t my favorite, it was interesting to see Elizabeth’s family and her upbringing. I remember cringing so many times during this season. And interestingly enough, the Lee and Rosemary arc kept things light and happy, while the Jack and Elizabeth arc brought a little more drama.
Season 3: Jack and Elizabeth’s relationship grows. Abigail takes in an orphan boy named Cody. Enter Charlotte Thornton, Jack’s mom. Rosemary and Lee get engaged and are married.
I loved this season. I think I watched it 500 times. I missed seeing the townspeople in season 2 and I loved watching Abigail’s story unfold. Some fans were a little put out by the Cody storyline, but Lori Loughlin had said in interviews that she had pitched to the writers and producers that Abigail adopts a child. I personally loved that storyline for her because Abigail is already like the mother hen of Hope Valley. She is a natural mother. She lost a son, and Cody lost his parents. Why not make them a family? Speaking of family, we also meet Jack’s mom, Charlotte played by Brooke Shields.
Season 4: We can call this season “With this ring, I say goodbye.” Jack proposes and then heads off to the Northern Territories to fight “the good fight.” Rosemary and Lee figure out the newlywed life. The railroad guys are being mean for lack of better words. Elizabeth almost loses her job (which was a great nod to the original movie). Hope Valley gets a doctor who carries a heavy burden. Abigail officially adopts Cody and Becky.
This season seemed to have a lot of drama. More drama than past seasons. We finally get to hear the infamous line “Take a walk with me” and we FINALLLLLLY get a proposal out of Mountie Molasses–I mean– Mountie Jack. Personally, the best episode of the entire season (besides the proposal episode) is the one where Rosemary tries to learn how to drive Lee’s car. I SO wish they would have filmed that because I know Pascale Hutton (Rosemary) and Kavan Smith (Lee) would have really amped that up with comedy. We also see a turning point in Gowen– maybe.
Season 5: This season bops along without any major events. Oh wait– there was a certain wedding mid-season. I’ll let you figure out who FINALLLLLY gets married after five long ridiculous years of waiting. Then, we keep bopping along until the last sixty seconds of episode nine. And then there’s episode ten… the most heartbreaking episode known to man.
Season 6: Hasn’t been filmed yet! I assume they’ll start filming in August/September 2018 as that’s what their filming schedules have been the last few seasons.
So there you have it! A quick crash course on When Calls the Heart. Any other #hearties out there? Let me know! Tweet at me: @hallmarkmywords