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.
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