The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that the virtue of hope “responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude.” (CCC 1818)
The Hallmark Channel’s latest dramatic series, When Calls the Heart, brings the idea (and the DRAMA!) of hope to our living rooms. Set in rural Coal Valley, Alberta, Canada in 1910, we meet the new teacher in town, Elizabeth Thatcher. Elizabeth, played by the beautiful Erin Krakow (Army Wives), is the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate who has come to Coal Valley for her first teaching job. She soon learns that her high society upbringing is not the best formation for life in the wild Canadian west.
Coal Valley has just endured a horrific tragedy…an explosion in the mine that killed off most of the men in town leaving the women and their children to pick up the pieces and fend for themselves. This is the atmosphere that the new school teacher finds herself in.
After such a devastating loss, the town of Coal Valley is in great need of hope. Elizabeth brings this hope with her as she helps the women and children grieve and helps them continue on with their lives and open their hearts to the love that God has for them.
Elizabeth is supported by the wisdom and love of Abigail Stanton, played by the wonderful Lori Laughlin (most famous for her role as Aunt Becky in the hit 90s family sitcom Full House), whose own husband was foreman of the mine and died in the explosion. Abigail helps Elizabeth navigate her new surroundings and also her heart as she encounters the new constable, Jack Thornton, played handsomely by Daniel Lissing (Last Resort).
When Calls the Heart is based on the best selling series by the Christian fiction author Janette Oke. Fans will remember that another series of this author was the basis of the Hallmark Channel’s hit film series, The Love Saga. Hallmark also reunites the author with Executive Producer and Director Michael Landon, Jr. Michael Landon, Jr’s first film in The Love Saga…Love Comes Softly…was the highest rated movie in the history of the Hallmark Channel. His second, Love’s Enduring Promise, surpassed the first giving him the top two highest rated movies ever on the Hallmark Channel at that time. He went on to write, direct, and produce four more installments of the hit series. Needless to say this duo is a winning combination.
There isn’t a lot out there for families to choose from when looking for television that they can watch together. Thanks to the Hallmark Channel, Janette Oke, and Michael Landon Jr., families don’t have far to look. When Calls the Heart is a show that brings us all hope…hope that Hollywood is starting to realize what families really want in entertainment.
When Calls the Heart airs Saturday nights at 9 EST/8 CST on the Hallmark Channel.