On February 15, Forbes reports, ” ‘Hearties’ Mobilize To Drive Hallmark’s Top Rated Show.” Further, they write of the TV series “When Calls the Heart,” that followers are “…One of the most vibrant grass-roots fandoms of recent years – which has driven the object of its affection to the top of the basic cable rating charts – centers on a family-oriented historical romance-drama: not a costumed hero, zombie, sorceress or alien in sight…Welcome to the world of the Hearties: the burgeoning fan community surrounding When Calls the Heart, which is kicking off its third season on the Hallmark Channel on February 21. Set in small town Canada in the early 20th century, the series…has attracted a devoted viewership…whose tastes in family-friendly programming are not well-served by today’s gritty and violent network fare…”
During the first season in 2012, fans first started coming together online to celebrate their love of the show and its characters, taking the name (and hashtag) “Hearties” to show their allegiance. Fans built and manage a Facebook community of over 30,000 members. They are active on social media in force when the show airs. They have their own Web site with many updates on the series. This past season’s holiday special, “When Call the Heart: New Year’s Wish,” was not only the top rated non-sports program on its airdate, but it was also the #1 tweeted event for cable and broadcast TV. The story of The Hearties is an important story about the power of consumer support to facilitate good TV and movies.
For those who missed the two-hour special of “When Calls the Heart” on the Hallmark Channel on December 28, 2015, it has been reported that viewers can see it on iTunes and/or Amazon. Hallmark.com also provides the latest updates for this popular series with many extra videos of interviews, season’s greetings, behind-the-scenes and more. Season One and Two can be seen on DVD, as well as streaming.
The “When Calls the Heart” family TV series follows Elizabeth Thatcher, a young school teacher from a wealthy Eastern family, after she moves from a big city to teach school in a small coal mining town in the west. It is one of the best family-friendly series on television. Michael Landon Jr., along with Brian Bird et al produces this television series, which is set on the Canadian frontier. Like his father before him, Michael Landon Jr.’s produces the best in television programming that deals with timeless, universal themes: faith in the midst of tragedy, hope despite loss, community that heals the broken hearted, and the power of inner strength to overcome obstacles. This series is based on the work of renowned author Janette Oke (also the writer of the popular “Love Comes Softly” series). It has broad universal and timeless appeal. Michelle Vicary, Crown Media’s Executive Vice President of Programming says. “We are incredibly proud of the series’ success and …to bringing families…together…”
Many viewers, especially the “Hearties” are anticipating Season Three, which resumes February 21. “When Calls the Heart” follows the development of Elizabeth Thatcher, as well as with the development and growth of other characters and relationships, as they all learn to cope with hardships and find that inner strength of character develops in and among themselves. With its promise of new beginnings, in Season Two, the town is renamed Hope Valley.
In “When Calls the Heart” Elizabeth Thatcher (Eric Krakow), a young teacher accustomed to affluent, high-society life, receives her first teaching assignment in Coal Valley, which is a small coal-mining town in Western Canada. With no indoor plumbing, electricity, or modern conveniences in this simple town Elizabeth must adjust. Gradually she earns the friendship, respect, and support of most everyone in Coal Valley, except at first from the Royal North West Mounted Police Constable, Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing). He initially thinks that Thatcher’s wealthy father has assigned him to the town to protect his daughter and is not pleased about that.
Living in this 1910 coal town, Elizabeth learns on the Canadian frontier to survive and serve in the rural west on her own. Lori Loughlin wonderfully plays Abigail Stanton, who is the strong hub of the town. Along with a dozen other mining families, Abigail has lost her husband (the foreman of the mine) and her only son in the town’s mine recent explosion, The question about who is responsible for the tragedy looms. The newly widowed women find faith and develop strength of character, both individually and collectively. At first they first go to work in the mine to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table, and to provide wages for the town’s teacher. Like them, their sons and daughters also grow and develop in character as role models. Further, the surviving men in the community develop in character and as role models.
Movieguide.org commends “When Calls the Heart” as an entertaining television show with a strong Christian, moral worldview. “The whole family can sit down and watch this show together, be entertained, and know that their faith and values won’t be offended,” says Movieguide.org.
In an exclusive interview with Austin Movie Examiner, Erin Krakow personally conveys the same of kind of grace, strength and respect for strong women that she displays in her character Elizabeth in this series. In the delightful interview, Erin is enthusiastic about her ongoing portrayal of the leading female character in the series. She tells about working on the third season this past fall in beautiful, albeit cold and rainy Vancouver, Canada.
Erin shares how supporters, directors, cast, as well as crew, have motivated her to joyfully continue with the third season. She shares how the supporters, called “Hearties,” have shown a loyal devotion to the series. She also tells how much she enjoys with the directors, cast and crew. She counts it a privilege to work on this series. Erin loves interacting with the Hearties on social media and in person. They give her motivation to give her best to the series.
Through her involvement with supporters, Erin sees that part of what drives the Hearties’ enthusiasm for the series it is that it is appropriate, safe, inspirational programming, which they can safely watch with their whole families. The Hearties value the inspirational, wholesome, uplifting episodes that are suitable and without inappropriate content with the family values of the series.
Erin shares how she values the presentation of women in the series. She tells after women in the coal mining community lose their husbands, they learn how to stand up for themselves, to support each other, and to build a strong community. Erin shares how the other women help Elizabeth (the school teacher that Erin plays) to grow up, find self-respect, and humility. Throughout the series, Elizabeth Thatcher and the other women convey grace, inner strength, and friendshp in the midst of hardship. Erin, as the school teacher, believes that her character and those of the other women serve as role models for young women. Erin tells how the women in the series are lovely even in the midst of their struggling economic conditions. Erin sees them as women who display both physical strength and inner character.
In another exclusive interview with Austin Movie Examiner, Pascalle Hutton, who plays delightfully plays Rosemary in the series, gives a charming interview. Pascalle Hutton plays the spunky, multi-talented, adorable former fiancée to Mountie, Jack Thornton. In Season One, viewers are introduced to Rosemary who immediately and consistently takes center stage as she jumps on and rides a horse; skillfully shoots a gun; entertains with her performances and more. Pascalle, in the exclusive interview with Austin Movie Examiner, tells about the continuing development of Rosemary, who like others grows in character and relationships. Pascalle tells that her character, like other characters in the series, is multi-dimensional, multi-faceted as she becomes more grounded and as she learns to value community. Rosemary has come from a glitzy stage background to the coal mining community in pursuit of Jack Thornton.
Like Krakow, Hutton believes that this series is important for whole families who can all enjoy it together without inappropriate content. Pascalle Hutton believes that the series is not only valuable as family entertainment but that it picturizes how families can get through hardships and suffering, especially with the strength of relationships in and among the families of the community. Pascalle also expresses appreciation for the strong women in this series. These women are tested by adversity and loss, but they persevere and grow in strength of character and relationships, as do the men in this series.
In an further exclusive interview with Austin Movie Examiner, Martin Cummins, who plays Henry Gowen, the adversarial coal mining manager in “When Calls the Heart,” also provides some insights as to how his nemesis character will develop in Season Three. Martin hints that his character may become more humanized as his back story is revealed.
Cummins tells how he often plays the villain role in stories but he sees this is necessary to move and build the stories. He shares how he has appreciated playing the role of Henry Gowen for three seasons in “When Calls the Heart.” He tells that in Season Three viewers will see how his character is more than a hard-hearted business guy and that he wants relationships. He shares that viewers are likely to become more sympathetic towards Henry Gowen, as they learn his back story of how he has been hurt and why he has become bitter. Like with the other characters, viewers will likely see Gowen develop and grow.
Martin tells how this series, which is set in a small town with its intergenerational stories and history of developing relationships, has been refreshing for him as an actor. He also appreciates and values this family series, which whole families can watch together. He, like Erin and Pascalle, thinks the series deals with tough realities but processes them in ways that are constructive and positive. He, like his cast mates, thinks it deals with universal, timeless, and relevant themes of how to overcome hardship to experience redemption, reconciliation, and renewal. Cummins believes Hallmark produces excellent programs about simpler times and relationships. He thinks these shows are valuable because they fill the vacuum for good, family programming.