When Calls the Heart, Season 5 (Series Review)

Why are we still here?

Plot Summary

When Constable Jack Thornton returns from the North back to the nice little town of Hope Valley, everyone expects him to finally marry Elizabeth Thatcher, which the series has been building up for way too many seasons now.  Thus, the TV couple finally ties the knot and is married long enough for Elizabeth to get pregnant, and Michael Landon Jr. and company follow this up by the long-awaited and long-expected death of the male lead, which leaves Elizabeth (shockingly) free to love again.  Elsewhere in Hope Valley, the other characters are doing the same things they always did with no significant alterations in their character arcs (except Jesse is a good guy now or something like that), but when you have a rabid fan base and unlimited season renewals, why would you try anything creative as a writer?

 

Production Quality (2.5 points)

If anything improved in this season of When Calls the Heart, it’s that the production got slightly better.  Video quality is still crisp, and camera work is still professional, but the sets and locations seem to have improved somewhat.  Props are pretty much the same old stuff.  The soundtrack is that same recycled and very tired and uncreative score that can be found in pretty much any other Hallmark production.  Further, the editing is pretty standard in Season 5, and overall, there’s not much keeping this production from being nearly perfect (except for the soundtrack), which shows you that it pays to have a good budget.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

What was Season 4 about?  I already forgot.  The railroad?  Anyways, I challenge any Heartie to tell me what Season 5 is actually about except for completing Michael Landon Jr.’s favorite romantic chase storyline with the female lead’s marriage, pregnancy, and eventual husband’s death.  Shocking turn of events, I know.  Well, Hearties can be consoled that Michael Landon Jr. is known for rebuilding the romantic chase for the young widow by introducing a new love interest later in the series.  By killing off Jack and freeing Daniel Lissing from this nonsense, Landon Jr. and company opened up a whole new world of storylines to pursue for at least three or four or five more seasons, so you can rest easy!

Acting Quality (1 point)

Are we still here?  These same old tired cast members are still old and tired.  Erin Krakow, Lori Loughlin, Daniel Lissing, Kevan Smith, Pascale Hutton, et al. haven’t changed much since last season.  Michael Landon Jr.’s approach to casting, acting, and makeup is no better than it’s always been.  However, there are a few bright spots from some of the peripheral cast members that keep this section from being zero.  Nevertheless, most of Landon Jr.’s casting work seems like a plastic surgery pageant.

Continuity Quality (1 point)

At least this season creates a story arc that is somewhat interesting, which is the loss of Jack.  It was really the only card this show had left to play, so now this move opens up a whole new world of plot possibilities.  However, I don’t expect many of them to be any good.

 

Conclusion

As I predicted months ago, after wasting away at least two seasons kicking the can down the road ad nauseum and trolling with his typically pageantry and empty characters that are ripped off from a Janette Oke novel series that doesn’t even remotely resemble the dollhouse show this series has become, Michael Landon Jr. has finally come full circle with his favorite storyline of all: the young widow plot.  As can be seen throughout the Love Comes Softly series, including Love Comes Softly and Love’s Unending Legacy, Landon Jr. is infatuated with the chase of a romance, but once the couple marries and has some kids, it’s time to kill off the husband between movies and introduce a new romantic chase for the young widow.  It’s no surprise to see the long overdue exit of Jack Thornton from this series, especially since Daniel Lissing probably has better things to do.  Expect next season to introduce Elizabeth’s new love interest and her new chase after the grief has subsided (please bring back Charles).  Also, since we’re going to keep mindless renewing this troll-fest, let’s go ahead and experiment with some other cast members this show needs right now.  I vote for Erik Estrada, Morgan Fairchild, Kris Kristofferson, and Corbin Bernsen, to name a few.  Cast-member-guessing is the only thing keeping this show interesting at this point.

 

Final Rating: 4.5 out of 14 points

 

49 thoughts on “When Calls the Heart, Season 5 (Series Review)

  1. I am a year late in posting about this, but I just binged Seasons 1-5 on Netflix and to say I was devastated at the end of Season 5 is an understatement. I kind of wish I had ended watching it at the wedding episode and left it at that. I, too, noticed the strange non-period look of Seasons 2 on (Season 1 seemed more true to the period). I was really surprised when Season 2 started and the town was suddenly clean and bright, buildings crisply painted, hats gone, hair no longer pulled up, bright and perfect make up, etc. etc. The weddings were beautiful but definitely not true to the period. And there were several storylines that just got dropped or forgotten – Molly and Florence were mothers of a couple of Elizabeth’s students in the first season and then became busy body Bert and Ernie type characters with nothing better to do than meddle in other people’s business. What happened to their kids? Molly’s daughter had a whole episode devoted to her and then she was gone. The romance between the nurse Faith and Philip’s dad? One moment and done. Julie’s disappearance when she ran away? Not even mentioned in Hope Valley or further talked about. Maybe alluded to when she arrived for E’s wedding, but not really. Nora and Gowen? She disappeared after their accident and was never mentioned again. I will not qualify myself as a ‘heartie’ because I hardly fit the moniker when I have only watched the show for the past two weeks, but I definitely fell for the Jack/Elizabeth story and can’t quite understand why they chose to write him out the way they did, except that the idea that MLJr favors the ‘bereaved widow’ stories and they wanted to continue the series for more seasons. Based on interviews I watched, Daniel Lissing wanted out likely before the 4th season (Erin and Lori mentioned knowing he was leaving for a year and a half) and in an interview with Jack Wagner, he said he understood Daniel not wanting to be ‘pigeon-holed’ into a certain role, so he likely wanted to get out before he became ‘Mountie Jack’ forever. The MLJr playbook seemed likely to happen in hindsight because the underlying tone was that Jack wanted to live life like his father – to die a hero. He was reluctant to get married because of the risks, hated that someone else died doing ‘his’ job and that someone under his leadership had died presumably instead of him. That was also Elizabeth’s main issue with pursuing a relationship with him. It just seemed like that was always the plan and maybe Daniel knew that and just wanted to end it as soon as possible. The relationship was so dragged out and there were so many obstacles in their way, it got old sometimes. Had I written the 5th season, I would have ended the whole series with a wedding and a flash forward for an episode of the town 10 years later showing Jack and Elizabeth with the home he dreamed of building for her, both still following their hearts in their chosen vocations and the family they dreamed of and brief vignettes of where the town and main characters are at that point. Not being a loyal heartie, I would not have been sad for the show to be over, but would have been much better ending for my own personal tastes. The story that Hallmark chose just ruined the whole thing for me and I will likely not continue watching. I truly appreciate how clean and wholesome the show was, but it just wasn’t what I was hoping for in a storyline.

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    • What’s this, an honest opinion of WCTH? Hearties cover your eyes! But seriously awesome insight Laura! Nice to see that some people do still hold quality standards for entertainment instead of just saying everything is awesome just because someone they new on social media said it was ” so magical”. I believe that another reason people so called like this show is because it is a fantasy they can escape to away from reality.

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      • In saying all I did, I really loved the show even with the inconsistencies, etc. I watched 5 seasons in less than two weeks because i just wanted to keep watching to find out what happened next, especially with Jack and Elizabeth. But I felt like Elizabeth did in the last episode of season 5 – ‘cheated’. Yes, I did watch the show to escape, to see a happy ending and that was far from what happened. I felt like I wasted all that time watching the show to have the rug pulled out. It’s the Disney playbook. A character must lose someone close to them in order to become who they truly are. It’s the reason I don’t really like Disney films.

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  2. Pingback: When Calls the Heart, Season 6 (Series Review) – Box Office Revolution

  3. I do not blame Daniel Lissing for leaving the series. His character on screen time and role were greatly reduced, and, he was eliminated from the last four episodes of season 4. The handwriting was “on the wall” and Daniel was intelligent enough to take note. The writers and producers (executive or not) are at fault and should bear the guilt of destroying what was once a beautiful series. Scripting, or research for, was ridiculous. A nurse reading an in-patient chart in a restaurant! A nurse “forcing oral fluids” on an unconscious person – did she want to finish the “near drowning”??? Rosie chases after Jack in seasons 1 & 2, but marries Lee in season 3 – but no pregnancy after two years of marriage aka Margaret Sanger? Jack tells Elizabeth “she is the one” in season 1 and waits four more years to marry Elizabeth. But, but, but, but, despite being married only two weeks before he is killed, he manages to impregnate Elizabeth. Is this a comedy or a drama?

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  4. They didn’t display Jack’s death, he could have been hurt and hidden away in a hospital somewhere instead of dying, bring him back, he and Elizabeth belong together and will hold the show together. The show is terrific, good example for families to see and enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have watched WCTH since the beginning and I was one of the first Hearties.. S1 was magnificent and mesmerizing. It was refreshing to see a simple show tell such powerful messages with simply dressed characters. It was authentic. Then, S2 came along with the whole glamorous Hamilton storyline, unfortunately foretelling what was to come. Rabid fans complained and S3 returned to Hope Valley. But, not the simple, powerful storytelling we all initially fell in love with. All of a sudden, a town without industry has glamorously dressed and made up characters fluffing through the storylines. Authenticity and continuity is gone. Stories are trivial and I found I no longer cared what happened. Even serious topics like Jack’s “PTSD” was trivialized and a complete insult to those who truly suffer from it. But, I kept watching and posting comments I thought were constructive, hoping the powers would realize how they were ruining what was once great. Instead, the “official” fan page became a place where differing opinions were not welcomed. Either drink the koolaid or you’re banned. Those in control stole the Hearties moniker and trademarked it for their own gain. Staff of Hearties International make claims of past achievements that were actually created and done by other people in the beginning years. Books are being sold where Hearties have contributed the copy but I’m certain they will not see any royalties. Hallmark and the producers turned what was once a shining star into a money making machine and showed their disdain for the fans with how they handled Mr Lissing’s choice to leave a sinking ship. Ratings at any cost. And then one of them had the arrogance to suggest the final episode should be used by grief counselors. Really? One ride on a horse and it’s all better? Just shows how out of touch the show and the powers behind it have become.

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  6. Box Office Revolution, I think your conclusion is the best part of your review. I like the comment that the show is “wasting away,” it is a perfect description. This show had potential in the first couple of seasons but quickly lost my interest. I do not watch broadcast or cable TV today, but I used to watch it for a large part of the day and night. Now I only stream what I want to watch. This gives you an interesting perspective. Instead of mindlessly turning the channels and landing (no pun….ok it is actually appropriate) on channels like Hallmark and simply drinking the Kool Aid poured for me, I think before I partake. Hallmark, I believe, takes advantage of their deep pockets and mindless viewers in order to sell commercial time and laugh all the way to the bank (or makeup counter). I agree that WCTH has decent content, if as Larry pointed out above, you believe people really looked like that back then. As the idiom goes, “All good thing must come to an end” so goes WCTH. BTW this idiom has an interesting tie to WCTH. Geoffrey Chaucer is credited with the original use of this idiom. It first appears in the English author’s poem, Troilus and Criseyde (I found it on the internet so it has to be real), evidently it sounded much different in Middle English, but the jist of it is this: Two lovers met and sang, then the female left. If only Elizabeth would have left it would have been perfect. Anyway enough of my thoughts. Bottom line, keep writing reviews and keep seeking the Lord for His direction. We as commentators do not have the last say, God does, so honor Him!

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  7. The only way this show can make up for the void left behind by Daniel Lissing is to replace him with Kirk Cameron. He would make a great addition to the show as Elizabeth’s next love interest. He could also bring his expertise with writing and directing to the show and possibly even take over as the show runner.

    I have been a loyal Heartie for years, but unless Hallmark makes this happen, I won’t be watching season 6.

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  8. Guys — this is a site that measures based on Christian values and principles. Yes, I love that it has great values and morals but I think if you read how they measure shows, I think it is fairly accurate. I love WCTH. It is a great show but it really doesn’t dive deep into faith and how God works in their lives. Still think they need to bring Daniel Lissing back…big mistake on Hallmark’s part.

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  9. The fact that everybody is defending this show is pitiful, nobody can stomach an honest review anymore, especially the “Hearties”. I’d like to hear what sort of christian message people have actually gotten out of all of the seasons of this show(Hearts and Flowers don’t count). I thought the review was great, awesome job BoxOfficeRevolution!:)

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    • I am with you my friend about the avid defense of this show. There is NO Christian message in it. There is a lot of pageantry and vanity. I really do not think that Janette Oke intended her characters to look like this or act like this. Wait a minute are these people acting or do they believe they really live in the Hope(less) Valley bubble?

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    • I did not know that Hallmark was a “Christian Channel”. I thought it was a channel based on greeting cards and Christmas ornaments. I do however, become upset when Brian Bird et. Al. Post comments about Christian values. Christianianity is not the only religion that advocates the content of the Ten Commandments – written by God, delivered by a Jew. All religions/beliefs share values that are also found in Christianity. Please, Hallmark, keep that in mind when “preaching” on this channel.

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  10. OKAY FIRST OF ALL WHO EVER WROTE THIS STUPI D INACCURATE REVIEW OF THIS SHOW NEEDS TO CHECK THEIR SOURCES BEFORE WRITING!! Daniel Lissing CHOOSE to leave it was not Michael Landon Jr. Who killed off jack! Dan choose to leave for reasons that were very personal to him!!! He did not act like he wanted to leave, he had to leave. I WILL NOT IN NO FREAKING WAY SPECULATE ABOUT WHY HE LEFT! These actors are AMAZING! The finale was amazing even tho Jack died, which I wasn’t very happy about, it was still amazing, think of how hard it would of been for them to play that? There are plenty of more story lines for them to fill in the next seasons. So I’m the end I HATED THIS REVIEW! IT WAS TOTALLY INACCURATE!! NOW, I’m going to give a speech on WHY WHEN CALLS THE HEART SHOULD WIN AN EMMY!

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  11. Interesting that this is the review a “Christian” site gives….no mention of how wholesome the show is (no nudity, no steamy scenes, no scantily dressed actors/sctresses, etc); no mention of how the Lord, and faith is honored; no mention of the fact that right and wrong are still right and wrong and good vs evil is accurately portrayed. Shame on this reviewer.

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    • It is true that there is no explicit content in this series, however, there is also no meaningful content. As a Christian site, we believe that TV shows claiming the name of Christ should be held to a higher standard than secular content. Thanks for reading and sharing your opinion!

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    • If this is a Christian show then please remind me where they share the Gospel or truly stand for a principle other than the color of Lori Loughlin’s hair.

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  12. I loved When Calls The Heart UNTIL they killed off the LEAD character. It was wonderful to have a show that I actually looked forward to watching every week. I knew that my entire family could watch it and we would all be entertained and they would be wholesome values throughout. The hard part with this show is they grabbed the audience and made them fall in love with the Jack and Elizabeth love story. It was sweet and innocent and beautiful. We waited five years for the couple to get married. And then immediately after they got married they killed Jack off. I am sure Daniel Lissing was frustrated because of the lack of story he was getting in the show. For some reason his presence was diminished. Unfortunately the show has now lost its shine. The love story of Jack and Elizabeth was a huge reason for most of us watching the show. The show has become flat and the storylines holds little interest. They have a wonderful cast of people but the chemistry between the two leads Daniel Lissing & Erin Kraków was unbelievable. They are remarkable actors. I am sad to say that they will lose many fans because of this move. This show proves that there is a demand for family oriented tv. I hope WCTH brings back Daniel Lissing and gives him more of a storyline….would love to see him as a father and protector of his beautiful wife.

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  13. Barbara Condrey MY REVIEW OF THE REVIEW….Truly after pondering this review of When Calls the Heart, my first thought is why is this reviewer so angry…and who is responsible? Has Michael Landon Jr. taken the reviewer’s ice cream cone or what? Is it possible that the reviewer is frustrated that there is an audience for the family fare? Maybe the viewer hated watching television as a child with parents in a cozy setting in the livingroom…while really wanting to watch the violence of the latest imagination from Hollywood? I think the fact there is an audience for a family series demonstrates that not everyone is still looking for cruel unhappy stories that have a message that life is not worth living….or that there are still new ways to kill someone. It is true that the death of Jack has made very few happy…but creating controversy ever a much-loved show is non-productive. The fans have a right to disagree on the movement of the plot but I do not think any of the devoted fans would like someone maligning the value of the series. I suggest the reviewer go back and play the action-packed Die the Hardest in 1001 ways computer game and leave the Hearties and their show alone.

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    • I agree with you that this show is very clean and family-friendly, however, I do not understand your all-or-nothing reasoning. Just because we did not like this series does not mean we approve of violent television programs. Rather, we believe that if Christian entertainment is claiming to be better than the world, they should be held to a higher standard. There is simply no relevant or meaningful content in this series. Thanks for reading and sharing your opinion!:)

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    • Barb, if you have ever met this reviewer as I have in person at a convention. You would find that he is the opposite of a gamer. He is a dedicated Christian who is a deep student of the Word of God. He lives what he believes and has a passion for Christian movies and books to be held to a higher standard. As I mentioned to another commenter, show me the Gospel in WCTH.

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    • My Review of your Review of the Review! Please!! SERIOUSLY, get over yourself!! How in the world did this turn into a Psychoanalysis of a person by their opinion about a television show? The saddest thing about this series is that it could have so much potential for family viewing with real substance but they have chosen pageantry over depth and character. It would be great for viewers to be honest as to the lack of authenticity, true character or meaningful story line that exists in this series. Keep up the great work, Box Office Revolution!!

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  14. I think Erin Krakow has better things to do as well. Would have liked to have seen her move on with Daniel Lissing.
    Then it can become fully the acting gig for Lori Loughlin and her washed up soap opera besties.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I have to make one additional complaint; EVERYEONE is TOO WELL DRESSED for early 1900’s west Canada, and everyone has way too much time on their hands. Early 1900’s women wore hat, almost always. Colors were sort of rare. They started better. I know the heroine is supposed to be wealthy, but really, this is out of hand. I know Landon knows better; his dad’s Little House was ‘normally’ dressed. Someone at hallmark wants romance to be colorful and idyllic. The truth in that period was people over the age of 16 had almost no time for romance. I’m sure this series is for a specific target audience. While I’m complaining; I agree whole heartedly that they are having a hard time filling 50 minutes of plot without a bunch of ‘little’ plots. This is what really kills long-running series like Waltons, Little-House or even Star Trek; it’s hard to keep writing interesting plots after a few years. BTW, anyone want to bet that there will be an episode where because of the landslide we won’t be sure if Jack is really who is buried? Another plot staple.

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