I am a Hallmark Channel fan. That’s right; I admit it. They got me with their Christmas spectacular, and I just kept coming back for all their branded movie months. It is a channel that has sweet, entirely predictable, fun movies and now television shows.
Since its expansion into branded content, the channel has started creating television shows. Hallmark found success with their first venture, Cedar Cove, and kept going. Most recently they released a new series based on a series by author Sheryl Woods called Chesapeake Shores.
Now, let me say this now, I was a fan of Cedar Cove. One could argue that Cedar Cove died so Chesapeake Shores could live. Yeah, you could put it that way considering the ratings and age groups skew the same way.
However, three differences make Chesapeake Shores better than Cedar Cove. I write this a fan of both. While I miss Cedar Cove, Chesapeake Shores was a great replacement.
Chesapeake Shores follows the O’Brien family. That includes a family of three girls and two boys. A mother, father, and Gran (the one that keeps the family together). The family is the core or heart of the show. If they were to burst apart, the show would lose its sparkle. On Cedar Cove, you had Andie McDowall’s character as the lead but no family to bond over. There was no center of the show. Things just happened, and then people reacted.
Chesapeake Shores has a lot of possible narratives to follow. With that big of a family, each kid can have multiple storylines that can diverge off and then come back to involve different family members. I can see stories developing naturally for these characters. On Cedar Cove, the stories started out natural but then, in the second season at least, things began to appear forced. With a lot of characters from the books missing, a lot of the story shifted to characters that couldn’t handle it (cough the daughter cough).
Gran. Just Gran.
Finally, one character rules above them all. The one person that ties the show together is Gran. The matriarch of the O’Brien family. She is the only one who could go into a church, yell at God to bring back her grandson from war, and have it happen. She also has a secret history in her home country of Ireland that we are just starting to figure out. On Cedar Cove, there is no such character. I guess the character of Grace was a lot of fun and had meaningful moments, but she isn’t like Gran. Sometimes a show needs that one character to love unconditionally.
Both shows are great, but I can see how Chesapeake Shores may have learned from Cedar Cove’s mistakes. Try to stay close as possible to the books, create a home base, and have that one character you just can’t ignore. Some might find this show cliché or quaint, but I find it sweet. With television getting darker in tone every year it is nice to have a show be lighter and a little brighter. I guess I’m not the only one. According to Futon Critic, Chesapeake Shores is one of the most watched shows in network history among the 25-54 age group.
You can watch Chesapeake Shores on Sundays at 9 pm and Cedar Cove on Netflix.
For this Saturdays ‘Love it or Leave it’ I will be covering ABC’s Cristela.
Until then, have a great pop cultured day.