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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: April 13, 2016.

Consumer support makes a difference in what is produced for TV.  On April 12 TV Series Finale announces the cancellations and renewals of TV programs by network, along with updated TV news and ratings. It reports current data on Hallmark’s new scripted series and announces that When Calls the Heart has been renewed for a fourth season. When Calls the Heart is one of the most beloved family series on television today. It has its own active fan club, The Hearties, which follows, supports, and provides the latest news on the series. “The Hearties”  also announce on April 12  the renewal for the fourth season and the latest news for the series.  Hallmark.com further provides the latest news and videos for When Calls the Heart.

This top TV series follows the life and relationships of Elizabeth Thatcher, a young school teacher from a wealthy Eastern family, when she moves from a big city to teach school in a small coal mining town in the west. Michael Landon Jr., along with Brian Bird et al produces this beloved series. This team, like Michael Landon Jr.’s father before him, produces the best in family TV programming. Their TV programs deal 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.

When Calls the Heart is a redemptive family TV series based on the work of Janette Oke, who also wrote the popular Love Comes Softly series. Michelle Vicary, Crown Media’s Executive VP of Programming says, “We are incredibly proud of the series’ success and …to bringing families…together…” This series has many elements that make it captivating and engaging: meaningful content, universal themes, dynamic characters, surprising twists and turns, action and suspense, heart-grabbing storytelling and much more.

When Calls the Heart characters

The women, their children, and the others in the town develop in character in ‘When Calls the Heart’ : Photo courtesy The Hallmark Channel.

In an exclusive interview with Austin Movie Examiner, Brian Bird, a veteran producer and screenwriter for the best in redemptive television and movies shares his observations on how he thinks redemptive media can bring light into our present darkness. He says that all great stories and top movies that people have loved are redemption stories. “This is because we are wired for them, ” he says. He states, “… we all are hungry for redemption and want resurrection stories because it is innate within us. Redemptive media points the way to the original redemption story. ” Brian says, “… much of what is happening today is a departure from reason and truth that ultimately leads to hopelessness and despair … redemptive media can effectively provide hope, guidance, and Truth.”

Brian Bird tells how when he worked on Touched by Angel, he saw the power of faith-affirming stories. After episodes of Touched by Angel aired, suicide lines would open up and people who had viewed the episodes would reach out for help and find it. He shares, “…redemptive television… can create a hunger in audiences and lead them to take the next step to find the ultimate redemptive Truth…today there is void that redemptive media can fill. Souls are starved and redemptive media producers can feed these souls…”

The When Calls the Heart series traces the development of Elizabeth Thatcher and that of other characters and relationships, as they all learn to cope with hardships and develop inner strength of character in and among themselves.  In When Calls the Heart  Elizabeth Thatcher (Eric Krakow), a young teacher accustomed to high-society life, receives her first teaching post in Coal Valley (later renamed Hope Valley), which is a small coal-mining town (later a lumber town) in Western Canada. With no modern conveniences, Elizabeth must adjust to life in this little pioneer town. Eventually, she develops friendships, respect, and support of most in Coal Valley, except at first from the Royal North West Mounted Police Constable, Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing). He thinks that Thatcher’s wealthy father has assigned him to the town to protect his daughter and he is not happy about that.

Gowen When Calls The Heart

Henry Gowen (Martin Cummins) smiles big in a recent episode of ‘When Calls the Heart’ : Photo courtesy The Hallmark Channel.

Living in the 1910 coal town, Elizabeth not only survives, but she thrives as she serves others in the community on the Canadian frontier. Lori Loughlin beautifully plays Abigail Stanton, who is a strong hub of the town. Along with other mining families, Abigail has lost her husband (the foreman of the mine), as well as her only son in mine explosion. A looming question in the town is who is responsible for the tragedy. At first, Abigail’s husband is accused. The widowed women grow individually and collectively in faith and strength of character. Initially, they go to work in the mine to provide for their families and to pay the town’s teacher. The women, their children, and the others in the town  develop in character.

In an exclusive interview with Austin Movie Examiner, Erin Krakow expresses the kind of grace, strength and respect which she demonstrates 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. Erin tells how supporters called “Hearties,” directors, cast, as well as crew, have motivated her to joyfully continue with the series. Erin tells that part of what motivates the Hearties’ enthusiasm for the series it is that it is appropriate, safe, inspirational programming that they can confidently and safely watch with their whole families.

Erin shares insights about the women in the series. She observes that after women lose their husbands, they learn how to stand up for themselves, to support each other, and to build a strong community. Erin says that the other women help Elizabeth (the school teacher that Erin plays) to mature, find self-respect, and to develop humility. Throughout the series, Elizabeth Thatcher and the other women grow in grace, inner strength, and friendship in the midst of severe challenges. Erin, as the school teacher, believes that her character and those of the other women in the series serve as role models for young women. Erin says that they are women who display both physical strength and inner character.

When Calls the Heart season 3 2

Elizabeth, Jack, and Abigail are three of the main characters from ‘When Calls the Heart’ : photo courtesy The Hallmark Channel.

In another exclusive interview with Austin Movie Examiner, Pascalle Hutton, who in the series is charming as Rosemary, gives another gracious interview. Pascalle Hutton plays the perky, spunky former fiancée to Mountie, Jack Thornton. Pascalle, in the exclusive interview with Austin Movie Examiner, tells about the continuing development of Rosemary. Pascalle says that Rosemary, like the others, also develops in character and relationships. Rosemary, who has come from a stage background to the coal mining community in pursuit of Jack Thornton, becomes more grounded and learns to value community.

Like Krakow, Hutton says that this series is valuable for whole families who can all enjoy it together without inappropriate content. Pascalle Hutton thinks that the series is not only important as family entertainment, but it picturizes how families can get through hardships and suffering with the strength of relationships in families and in a community. Pascalle also tells of her admiration for the strong women in this series.

In a further exclusive interview with Austin Movie Examiner, Martin Cummins, who performs Henry Gowen, the cantankerous coal mining manager and later mayor in “When Calls the Heart,” also provides some insights as to how his adversarial character develops. Martin suggests that his character will become more humanized. He tells how he has appreciated playing the role of Henry Gowen. Martin shares how this series has intergenerational stories of developing relationships, which has been refreshing to him. He is thankful for this family series that 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 believes that this series is important because it fills the vacuum for good, family programming.

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