Janette Oke's When Calls The Heart airs Saturday night!!!!!
So there's been a lot of info circulating about the new Hallmark movie When Calls The Heart (aka Heart). I had heard they had changed the main actress mid-filming but the new trailers and behind the scenes clips feature both a blond haired actress and brown haired actress.
So it looks like the story will mostly center on the dark haired Elizabeth with flashbacks of her aunt who is the blond haired Elizabeth. The only problem with this is that the blond haired Elizabeth Thatcher and her guy Wynn Delaney are the main characters from Janette Oke's original stories (at least the first book, I haven't read the other three and don't remember a niece being mentioned).
Then I'd seen the preview on the Hallmark Channel and it mentioned about Heart is going to be "an original series" - what? it's going to be a TV series???
There isn't any information about this on the official Hallmark page but I did find this article that helps a bit:
"Hallmark Channel said today it is boosting its original programming efforts, adding another scripted series to its schedule and two pilots to its development slate. The network unveiled during parent Crown Media’s upfront presentation in NY that it has greenlighted 10 episodes of When Calls The Heart, based on the book series by Janette Oke. The movie pilot is set to premiere October 5 and the series will debut in January 2014. It joins Hallmark’s first original scripted series, Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove, the Andie MacDowell-starrer that premieres July 20 as a two-hour movie, followed by new one-hour episodes on Saturdays beginning July 27. Set in the Western frontier, Heart centers on young teacher Elizabeth Thatcher (Poppy Drayton) who trades high society life for a classroom post in the prairie, determined to prove she is brave enough to live on her own. She learns through her aunt’s secret diary that she had been a pioneer woman herself, and uses it as a guide to embark on her own adventures." - quoted from Deadline Hollywood article
So the movie airing this coming Saturday night is a two-hour pilot for an original series based on Janette Oke's books that will start in with one hour episodes starting in January! I also remember reading somewhere that there will be 12 episodes in all (not sure if this includes the pilot or not). Hallmark's Cedar Cove series aired a new episode each weekend and just finished up (I watched one or two and didn't like the modern story very much, it got very soap opera-ish). It's hard to tell right now whether the When Calls The Heart TV series will have more flashbacks of Aunt Elizabeth (Janette Oke's character) or if it will focus completely on the dark haired Elizabeth's new life as a teacher.
There's always got to be those bigger name actors in a Hallmark movie and besides Maggie Grace (who will play Aunt Elizabeth), the movie/TV series will star actresses Lori Loughlin (of Full House fame) and Jean Smart (who I mostly remember with a Southern accent from the few episodes I've seen of Designing Women). These actresses seem to enjoy the period costumes and fit into the time period fairly well. Their characters sound like antagonist for the young Elizabeth character. Actor Stephen Amell who plays Aunt Elizabeth's Mountie beau Wynn Delaney also seems to be a fairly popular actor.
Also in a highly interesting discovery the two British actors who play young Elizabeth's parents are period drama actors!!! Cherie Lunghi who plays Mrs. Thatcher has starred in The Buccaneers, David Copperfield (1999) and Horatio Hornblower, while Mr. Thatcher is played by Christopher Villiers who I loved as Tom Bertram in Mansfield Park (1983) and who Leaguettes will recognize as Lord Anthony Dewhurst in The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)! Main stars Poppy Drayton and David Sharman are also British born actors dropping their accents for their roles.
Do you like that this has graduated from a TV movie to a TV series?
Have you read Janette Oke's When Calls The Heart and the other books in that series?
Will you watch this when it airs?
P.S. Not sure yet if I'll get to watch this right when it airs but my aunt is as big a Janette Oke fan as I am, so there's a strong possibility that if we're able to we will! If not I'm sure there will be re-runs on Hallmark that I'll be able to catch! Yipee! Writing this post does make me want to borrow all four books in this series from my aunt's church's library and devour them...then move on to the complete Love Comes Softly book series! ;)