Wednesday, July 13, 2016

"when calls the heart: the complete season one" dvd review

Are you a "Heartie"? I don't think I'd quite qualify as one—I'm not obsessed with When Calls the Heart, I haven't seen every episode, and I don't interact with other fans online—but I do enjoy catching it on the Hallmark Channel.

When, home of family friendly and Christian movies, offered to send me When Calls the Heart DVDs for review, I couldn't pass up the opportunity!

When Calls the Heart tells the captivating story of Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow), a young teacher accustomed to her high society life, who receives her first classroom assignment in Coal Valley, a small coalmining town where life is simple, but often fraught with challenges.

Lori Loughlin plays Abigail Stanton, a wife and mother whose husband, the foreman of the mine, along with a dozen other miners, has just been killed in an explosion. The newly widowed women find their faith is tested when they must go to work in the mines to keep a roof over their heads.

Elizabeth charms most everyone in Coal Valley, except Constable Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing) who believes Thatcher’s wealthy father has doomed the lawman’s career by insisting he be assigned in town to protect the shipping magnate’s daughter. Living in a 19th century coal town, Elizabeth will have to learn the ways of the frontier if she wishes to thrive in the rural west on her own.

The series is inspired by Janette Oke’s bestselling book series about the Canadian West, and reunites Oke with Executive Producer and Director, Michael Landon, Jr.

-When Calls The Heart (Hallmark Channel Original Movie)
-Lost And Found (Movie Version of Episodes 1 & 2)
-A Telling Silence (Movie Version of Episodes 3 & 4)
-The Dance (Movie Version of Episodes 5 & 6)
-Second Chances (Movie Version of Episodes 7 & 8)
-Change Of Heart (Movie Version of Episodes 9 & 10)
-Rules Of Engagement (Movie Version of Episodes 11 & 12)
-Getting to know Michael Landon Jr. and Jeanette Oke
-Episodes 1-12 as seen on the Hallmark Channel

First of all, let's clear up some confusion: When Calls the Heart, the novel by Janette Oke, is not the same as When Calls the Heart the Hallmark Channel show. However, When Calls the Heart the movie (which is included in this collection) is loosely based on the novel. And now Oke and her daughter Laurel Oke Logan are writing a new series that is being called a companion to the show: so far, there are three books, which I assume go along with the three seasons. I read the first book, When Courage Calls, and it bears a resemblance to the series, though it's clearly not a novelization of the first season.

Why does this matter? It might not, but if you're reading this blog, it's probably because you're interested in Christian fiction. If you've been reading Christian fiction for a while, chances are good you've read Oke's Canadian West series, and you would naturally assume that a series called When Calls the Heart would follow Elizabeth and Wynn, the couple at the heart of the series. Instead, When Calls the Heart follows Elizabeth's great-niece, also named Elizabeth Thatcher. (Further muddying the waters? In the companion series, Elizabeth is known as Beth, and her love interest Jack is known as Jarrick.)

Now, to the series itself: When Calls the Heart is one of the cleanest, most family-friendly shows geared toward adults currently on television. Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) is immediately endearing as she attempts to adjust from her pampered city life to living in Coal Valley. Her relationship with Mountie Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing) builds slowly—too slowly, some may say—and sweetly. Lori Loughlin, who never seems to age a day, shines as Abigail Stanton, the leader of a group of women who recently lost their husbands in a mine explosion. Abigail becomes a mentor and friend to Elizabeth, and their relationship is one of my favorites in the series. This season is wholly enjoyable, and I highly recommend it! 5 stars.

The Complete Season One review: At first glance, this set seems a bit redundant. Unless you're a When Calls the Heart super fan, you probably don't need both the movie version and the Hallmark Channel version of each episode! However, two things make this edition a good choice if you'd like to own the season: 1. This set includes the When Calls the Heart movie, starring Maggie Grace (LOST) and Stephen Amell (Arrow) as Elizabeth Thatcher and Wynn Delaney. In addition to telling the beginning of Elizabeth and Wynn's love story, the film also marks the beginning of the younger Elizabeth's story and introduces Coal Valley; however, the only major cast member from the film who returns for the series is Lori Loughlin. I don't know why so many roles were recast, but I do think it was a good move. (One thing that drives me absolutely crazy about the film is that Elizabeth and Wynn's story is never finished. And they don't factor into the series at all.) 2. It's actually cheaper to purchase the complete season one than it is to purchase each movie (which is two episodes) individually. So if you think you'll want to own the whole season, this is a really good deal.

Buy the DVD set.
Read my review of Where Courage Calls (3 stars), the first When Calls the Heart companion novel.
Get a $5 coupon to by joining the email list here or by texting 5-GIFT to 44222.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this DVD free for review from I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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