Top 10 Characters Ruined by Hallmark

I apologize for not posting any new content lately. I’ve been working on a personal project for my American Girl Instagram account, which has taken me longer than I expected. But I’m ready to get back in the saddle and continue with your regularly scheduled programming! I also plan to review the newest Martha’s Vineyard Mysteries film. However, I forgot to record it on the day of its premiere, so that review will be posted later than I had hoped. Recently, I watched a video on Youtube titled ‘disney ruined these characters and i’m mad about it’. Created by a Youtuber named Caitlin McKillop, this video discussed Disney Channel characters that were “ruined” over the course of their respective series. It made me think about all the characters from Hallmark that, I feel, were ruined at one point or another. For my list, “ruined” will mean characters who regressed in character development or were not given an opportunity to reach their full potential. None of my choices were picked out of disrespect, mean-spirit, or negativity. As I have mentioned in past lists, this article is based on my own opinion. The characters on my list and in the Dishonorable Mentions section are from movies, movie series, or television shows created by Hallmark.

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Dishonorable Mentions

Juan Medina from After the Glory/An American Story, Barry Klemper from The Boys Next Door, Jace from The Music Teacher, Chideh from The Wild Girl, Matthew from The Valley of Light, every character from Back When We Were Grownups, Brett from Love in Winterland, Willow from Our Wild Hearts, Alex from Date with Love, Emma Graham from Love by the Book, Charlotte from Yes, I Do, Cowboy from A Painted House, every character from Firelight, Belinda Phillips and Dustin Cooper from Christmas Scavenger Hunt, Laurel Cooper and Clay Shepard from Wedding in Graceland, Blair from The Nine Lives of Christmas, Wil Fuller from Good Witch: Spellbound, Bree O’Brien from Chesapeake Shores, and Lauren from A Cheerful Christmas

10. Florence and Rose from The Magic of Ordinary Days

At first, I was going to put Jace from The Music Teacher in the number ten spot, as I found his transformation from bullied victim to a man who overcame his traumatic past a little too unbelievable. But the more I thought about how the creative team of The Magic of Ordinary Days glossed over the subject of Japanese internment camps, as well as missing out on a good opportunity to explore the theme of racial prejudice, I knew Florence and Rose had to be placed on this list. It’s been several years since I’ve seen The Magic of Ordinary Days. From what I remember, it felt like the sisters’ role in the story was to, simply, boost the protagonist. When one of the sisters received her own subplot, it primarily revolved around a romantic relationship that the audience knew wouldn’t lead anywhere because of where the man in that relationship was from. As I said in my article, ‘My Tier Rank List of Every Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie I’ve Seen!’, this movie is based on a book, one that I haven’t read. Therefore, I don’t know which parts of Florence and Rose’s story were true to the source material. What stings, though, is how these two characters weren’t given a chance to reach their full potential, especially in a collection of films where prominent Asian American stories are far and few between.

9. Jess O’Brien from Chesapeake Shores

In the first episode of Chesapeake Shores’ third season, Jess said how she had to deal with a lot of horrible things in her life, but was able to live with those parts of her life because they were secret. Jess has also mentioned dealing with PTSD. But as the show progressed, those parts of Jess’s life were never explored. Instead, more emphasis was placed on Jess’s love for David. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does put a hindrance on her potential for growth. With Chesapeake Shores receiving a fifth season, I hope Jess’s past is incorporated more into her story.

8. Kevin O’Brien from Chesapeake Shores

Within the first season of Chesapeake Shores, Kevin was shown displaying PTSD-like symptoms. Even though he claimed he didn’t have PTSD, Kevin was clearly dealing with some personal issues. Similar to Jess, Kevin’s issues were not brought up throughout the show. What made me put Kevin in the eighth place on this list is how he and Sarah were not given the wedding of their dreams because Chesapeake Shores’ fourth season contained only six episodes. Because Kevin was the first character from the main cast to get married, it feels like the show’s fans were cheated out of witnessing Chesapeake Shores history unfold. Hopefully, the show’s creative team makes up for this in season five.

7. Shane McInerney from Signed, Sealed, Delivered

The way Shane’s story has played out in this series is similar to Angela’s story from Bones. At the start of their respective series, each character was given a piece of their identity that set them apart from the other characters. For Angela, it was her passion for art. For Shane, it was her affinity for all things technological. But as time went on, these pieces were either ignored or morphed into something else. Angela’s passion for art evolved into exclusively utilizing technology. Meanwhile, Shane’s love for technology was abandoned. Out of the four main characters from Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I feel like Shane’s backstory was explored the least. From what I remember, the only time Shane’s backstory was highlighted was in Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Impossible Dream. If Hallmark decides to continue this film series, I hope Shane receives a little more attention in the script.

6. Nathan Grant from When Calls the Heart

Having the same occupation and looking similar to Jack Thornton doesn’t help Nathan, driving home the idea of being the late Mountie’s replacement. His involvement in the love triangle just made things worse. Whenever I think of Nathan, his desperate attempts to win over Elizabeth’s heart overshadow all of his good qualities. Since the love triangle has lasted as long as Nathan has appeared on the show, this has prevented the audience from seeing Nathan as his own person. Now that this event is over, Nathan’s positive attributes will hopefully be highlighted more throughout season nine.

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5. Elizabeth Thornton from When Calls the Heart

You could make the argument that Elizabeth has always been entitled. However, from season one to most of season five, that entitlement was masked under a veil of sincerity. One example is when Elizabeth forbade her sister, Julie, from seeing Jack’s brother, Tom. But when Jack passed away, that veil disintegrated, making Elizabeth more self-centered. There are several examples I could give to illustrate my point. But the one I will use is how, toward the end of season eight, Elizabeth unnecessarily snapped at Rosemary when Rosemary tried to give Elizabeth advice. Elizabeth apologizes to Rosemary in the season eight finale, but it feels like she apologized just so Rosemary could listen to her problems. Similar to what I said about Nathan, the love triangle did Elizabeth no favors. She claimed she didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or give anyone the wrong idea, even though she ended up doing both of those things. I’d like to think Elizabeth will change at least some of her ways in season nine. Since she has acted this way for so long, though, I’m not holding my breath.

4. George O’Hanrahan from Good Witch

In the movie series, George was the glue that kept his family together. It was also nice when he fell in love with Gwen, allowing him to have his own subplot. But when Good Witch converted into a television show, Gwen was no longer in the picture. This took away the only subplot George had, as well as leaving the audience with no explanation for Gwen’s disappearance. What adds insult to injury is how he regressed into a vulnerable and gullible man. The change in George’s character makes him appear as a stereotypical version of who he used to be. Because older adults are usually given smaller roles in Hallmark shows, it’s disappointing to see Good Witch not give George the quality story he deserves.

3. Martha Tinsdale from Good Witch

Martha’s personality, in the movie series, was not for everyone. Determined and head-strong, Martha was almost always talking about how great Blairsville was or how Blairsville has more to offer than Middleton. But the reason why she did this was because she saw the potential her town had. She encouraged others to care about their neighborhood in an attempt to help them see Middleton the way she saw it. No matter what she said or did, Martha was never mean or a bully. That changed when the Good Witch television show reached its third season. In an episode where the Middleton Theater was about to open, Martha bullied Stephanie into not serving gourmet popcorn because Martha didn’t like the idea. I was taken aback by how Martha treated Stephanie, as this was completely different from the Martha I had come to know. Martha’s character development was complex, but the show’s writers oversimplified it to the point of watering it down.

2. Abigail Pershing from Good Witch

Abigail was one of my favorite characters from this series because of how complex she was. While she was different from Cassie, it’s not as simple as comparing these characters to the Wicked Witch of the West and Glenda. Abigail did things that Cassie would not normally do. But when the audience learned why Abigail did these things, they realized Abigail had the right reasons for doing them. In the movie, Good Witch Halloween, Abigail entered the Halloween Queen contest, the same contest Stephanie entered. Abigail knew how much Stephanie wanted that title, so she became Stephanie’s rival in order to make Stephanie work for what she wanted instead of expecting to receive the title like in years past. While the rivalry in this movie made sense, it felt pointless within the rest of the series. Both characters appear immature, with Abigail becoming meaner. Like Martha’s character development, Abigail’s character development was oversimplified. Just thinking about how much Abigail has regressed breaks my heart.

1. Cassie Nightingale from Good Witch

Cassie is, singlehandedly, what made this series so special. She was the embodiment of what makes a great character; carrying good morals and showing the audience how anyone can make a difference. But as the show went on, Cassie became a shell of who she used to be. In one episode from season three, one of Cassie’s friends suggested Cassie should be less like herself. This statement is the problem with the Good Witch television show: Cassie isn’t like the Cassie I had come to be a fan of for almost a decade. What makes things worse is how Cassie doesn’t make as many contributions to the story as she did in the movie series. In fact, when I think back to Good Witch: Spellbound, I can’t recall Cassie doing anything significant within the plot. If I had known this is what would happen to one of my favorite characters, I would have objected the conversion from movie series to television show.

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Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Evenings At The Shore: Steering the Ship

At the beginning of this episode of Chesapeake Shores, the U.S.S. Kelsey, an important prop in Carrie and Caitlyn’s school play, has been destroyed due to a water leak. This prop has been used in this particular play for fifty-three years, even recording the signatures of former cast members. Abby, Bree, and Jess are obviously heart-broken about the U.S.S. Kelsey’s fate, as Abby and Bree clean up what remains of their school-time memento. On this show, it seems like everyone is trying to steer their ship. In some episodes, the characters’ journeys are smooth sailing. At other times, they end up facing stormy seas. While not as broken as the U.S.S. Kelsey, each character does have flaws in their ship’s foundation. As long as they have an anchor to keep them grounded and a compass to guide them, each character will eventually find their way.

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of Chesapeake Shores, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.

Chesapeake Shores Season 4 poster
Chesapeake Shores created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.hallmarkchannelpress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=series&ShowTitle=Chesapeake%20Shores%20Season%204&episodeIndex=4001.

Season: 4

Episode: 4

Name: Breaking Hearts and Playing Parts

 

Abby’s story: Abby, once again, volunteers at her daughters’ school. This time, she agrees to help with school play preparations. Luckily, Jay is the play’s director, so she has a friend to spend time with. As mentioned in this re-cap’s introduction, the U.S.S. Kelsey ends up becoming destroyed. When Jay asks her if she knows anyone who can help re-build this prop, she asks Mick for his assistance the next day. Unfortunately, he turns down her offer. One day, during play rehearsal, she discovers that Trace has volunteered to re-build the U.S.S. Kelsey. She carries on small talk with him, but that’s the extent of their interaction. Later in the episode, Abby and Jay talk about her relationship with Trace. She tells him that she and Trace used to date, but are now just friends. Jay and Abby also agree with share lunch together. When their lunch outing arrives, they also invite members of Abby’s family. They end up having a good time, with Jay even sharing his fries with Bree. At the end of the episode, Abby and Jay marvel at Trace’s handiwork as they take one final look at the new U.S.S. Kelsey. During their observation, Abby notices that Trace preserved all of the signatures from the old ship.

 

Trace’s story: When Mark Hall makes one final offer to make Emma a singing sensation, Emma politely turns him down. This decision pleases Trace, as he has rarely seen people tell Mark no. One day, at The Bridge, Trace meets Jay for the first time. The purpose of this meeting was for Jay to convince Trace to re-build the U.S.S. Kelsey. When Trace learns that Carrie and Caitlyn told Jay about his handiwork, Trace agrees to volunteer. Trace shows up to play rehearsal one day, which happens to be on the same day that Abby is helping with the play. Abby and Trace share small talk, but that’s about it. After getting to know Jay a little bit better, Trace realizes that Abby may be starting a new relationship. For the majority of this episode, he has been torn between wanting to get back together with Abby and potentially beginning a new relationship of his own. At The Bridge, one night, Trace helps Emma with an original song. During this song-writing session, Emma kisses Trace. After Trace kisses Emma back, he shares that he probably shouldn’t have done that. The next day, Trace apologizes for the unplanned kiss. During this interaction with Emma, he learns that one of Mark’s offers to Emma involved her trying to recruit Trace back on tour. This discovery makes Trace lose trust in Emma.

 

Mick’s story: Mick’s legal situation just became more complicated. His former business partner is trying to make a deal where Mick is named co-conspirator. Mick’s lawyer also suggests that he hire a PR firm to help him establish a presence on social media. Because of everything that going on in his work-life, Mick’s personal life has been affected. One day, he ends up cancelling plans with Megan because of a meeting with his lawyer. He apologizes to her by giving her a red rose and explaining what’s been happening. Mick shares that he’s overwhelmed by the changes that are taking place around him. Megan forgives him and accepts the rose.Megan’s story: At the beginning of this episode, Megan is busy planning Kevin and Sarah’s wedding, as well as creating a vision board for herself. When discussing her progress with Nell, Megan is told that she should focus less on the past and more on the present. During lunch with the O’Brien family, Kevin and Sarah announce that they recently eloped. This shocks the family, especially Megan. Not only that, but she’s also heart-broken that her chances of planning their wedding are now gone. When they ask her if everything’s ok, she tells them that she’s fine. But, in reality, she’s trying her best to hide her true feelings. Throughout the episode, Megan processes what has just happened. She also realizes that Mick has been trying to process what’s been going on in his life. At the end of the episode, Kevin and Sarah reveal that, even though they eloped, they want to organize a wedding reception. This pleases Megan and makes Mick happy for her. Mick and Megan share a gesture that indicates that they are growing closer in their relationship.

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Bree’s story: Bree is dealing with the aftermath of her break-up with Simon. She changes the end of her play, which pleases Hannah and is a better fit for the story. But, no matter what she does, she still feels upset about Simon leaving her life. The people around her have been understanding of her situation, from Abby inviting her to help clean up the U.S.S. Kelsey’s remains to Jay sharing his fries with her. Trying to take her mind off of her dilemma, she helps David and Jess with a personal problem. But, when she helps them solve their issues, she realizes that she’s the only sibling in the O’Brien family that isn’t in a relationship or starting a new relationship. This causes Jess, David, and Connor to comfort Bree.

 

Jess’s story: Jess and David are trying to choose an overarching style for their bed & breakfast. Jess wants the bed & breakfast to have a traditional look, complete with a couch from their previous bed & breakfast. David thinks the facility should adopt a modern style, using a day bed that he cherishes. When they ask Connor for advice, he is unable to help them make this decision. For the majority of the episode, David and Jess are finding it difficult to come up with a solution. When Danielle, Connor, and Bree hang out at the new bed & breakfast one day, Bree suggests that Jess and David try to look at the problem from the other person’s perspective. This technique helps them realize the importance of their beloved piece of furniture. They both come to an agreement where they not only get to incorporate both of their styles into the bed & breakfast, but they also get to create a new, shared style for the main sitting area.

 

Connor’s story: Connor is figuring out where his relationship with Danielle stands. He feels that Danielle telling him “I Love You” complicates things. He turns to various family members for advice, including Nell. She tells him that it’s important to “like who you love”. While helping Kevin move his belongings to Sarah’s house, Connor tells Danielle that he loves her. But, Connor still feels like something isn’t right in his and Danielle’s relationship. When he is comforting Bree at David and Jess’s bed & breakfast, Danielle doesn’t approach Bree to console her. The next day, at dinner, Connor addresses Danielle’s dislike toward her family. She doesn’t provide an answer, but instead talks about how she doesn’t like to spend time with his family. This makes him realize that he and Danielle want very different things in life. He shares this thought with her.

Ship steering wheel pattern background
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Some thoughts to consider:

 

  • In this episode, I found some of the wardrobe choices to be very interesting. In the very first scene, I noticed that all of the O’Brien sisters are wearing a white shirt. In another scene, Hannah and Bree wear outfits that are color coordinated. Hannah’s shirt is black and her jacket is maroon. Meanwhile, Bree’s jacket is black and her shirt is maroon.

 

  • In the scene where Connor and Danielle realize that they want different things in life, Andrew Francis and Britt Irvin gave one of the best performances in any Hallmark project they’ve ever appeared in! It was both emotional and powerful, things that are needed for a scene like this. It makes me wish that Andrew and Britt would receive a lead role in a Hallmark film.

 

  • Ever since the third season, it feels like Chesapeake Shores has plateaued. In the first two seasons, the show had a healthy balance between being story-driven and character-driven. From season three on, the series has become so character-driven, that it comes at the plot’s expense. Every time an interesting subplot is about to be introduced or an overarching plot can be revisited, the screenwriters don’t take advantage of those creative opportunities. What also doesn’t help is how this season is only six episodes long.

Starry night landscape with reeds
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How do you feel about this episode? Do you think that Kevin and Sarah made the right decision? Please state your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen

Why Dr. Ian Malcolm is my Favorite Character in Jurassic Park

Imagine; you’re at a party that you’ve been invited to. You don’t know anyone there and you have no idea if you’re going to have a good time. Then, they show up. That one person that stands out from the rest. They seem so different, in a good way, from everyone else. Yet, they immediately catch your attention because of how interesting they seem. When they show up, that’s when you know this party just got a lot more memorable. This made-up scenario is similar to how I became a fan of Dr. Ian Malcom from Jurassic Park. I had seen this movie for the first time last year and I didn’t know if I was going to like it. When Ian showed up on screen, he instantly got my attention because of how cool he seemed. As the film went on, he became my favorite character in Jurassic Park. This list illustrates why Dr. Ian Malcolm is the one that became my favorite. I’ll bring up examples directly from the movie. Before I begin, I want to take the time to thank the moderators of the Jeff Goldblum Blogathon, Gill from Realweegiemidget Reviews and Emma from emmakwall (explains it all). Because of you, I now have an excuse to talk about one of my favorite characters!

Jeff Goldblum Blogathon banner
The Jeff Goldblum Blogathon banner created by Gill from Realweegiemidget Reviews and Emma from emmakwall (explains it all). Image found at https://weegiemidget.wordpress.com/2019/06/09/the-jeff-goldblum-blogathon/.

Breaking Down “Nerdy” Stereotypes

Over-sized glasses. Suspenders. Obsessive conversations about “geek” or “nerd” related topics. These are some of the stereotypes that we’ve seen in books, movies, and television shows when it comes to characters that are labeled as “nerdy”. Because Dr. Ian Malcom is a mathematician and earned a doctorate degree, he would be someone that could get easily labeled as a “nerd”. His actions, behaviors, and even his wardrobe goes against the created image of what some people expect from a “nerd”. He looks as if he’s on his way to lead a sold-out concert at any moment. Confidence and a healthy dose of self-esteem are the things he carries in his pocket. The way that people interact with Ian in Jurassic Park shows the audience that not only is he well respected, but that he’s popular enough to get invited to theme parks before they’re open. This film was released in 1993, a time when we still saw characters display the stereotypical idea of a “nerd”, such as on Full House and Family Matters. The idea of a character with “nerdy” qualities going against the grain is something that was probably mind-blowing back in the day.

 

Influencing Other Characters

In my review of Queen of the Damned, I mentioned that Dr. Ian Malcom was probably one of the factors that influenced the creation of that film. My reasoning was that because Ian is a likable rock-star-esque mathematician, Lestat became a mostly likable rock-star-esque vampire compared to the film’s predecessor. Almost two decades after the release of Jurassic Park, the world was introduced to Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr.’s depiction of this character helped create a superhero that a large number of people would choose to be a fan of. Tony Stark is quick-witted, popular, and grows as an individual over the course of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Similar to Ian in Jurassic Park, Tony becomes well-respected within the Avengers group. But beyond the glitz and glamour associated with this character, he has the qualities that would classify him as a “nerd”. He’s an inventor, works with Bruce Banner on scientific experiments, and has one of the most gifted minds in the MCU. Because a character like Dr. Ian Malcom broke the mold of what it means to be a “nerd”, it allowed Iron Man to distance himself from the stereotypes and portrayals of yesteryear.

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The Voice of Reason

The reason for the existence of Jurassic Park was because John Hammond wanted to create a unique experience for people of all walks of life. When all of the key characters come together to Jurassic Park and learn about the logistics of the operation, Ian Malcolm is the only person that’s bold enough to tell John that the park is a bad idea. Throughout the film, Ian’s point is proven right while John’s dream falls apart. Among these characters, Ian represents the Voice of Reason through a sense of realism and common sense. He doesn’t let the magnificence of the idea of Jurassic Park deter him from his beliefs. No matter how much objection he faced, he still stood up for what he believed in. Ian even became physically injured because of the violent nature of Jurassic Park. Instead of letting his emotions get the best of him, he helped the other characters find a way to stop the madness.

 

Great Writing and Acting

When it comes to movies, a character is only as good as the performance of its actor, as well as the screen-writing. Both acting and screen-writing need to work together, instead of contradicting each other. Ian Malcom is a good example of these two factors working side by side. The script allowed this character to be a likable and unique individual. It also gave the screen-writers the opportunity to go against the grain when it comes to how their characters are presented. If it wasn’t for the screen-writers taking creative risks, we would have never gotten the iteration of Ian that we did. Jeff Goldblum also helped when it came to bringing this character to life. With the right amount of charisma, Jeff gave audiences a character that they wanted to root for. What also added to his performance was a good amount of well-roundedness. Every emotion was expressed by Jeff with realism and believability. Because of the quality of his acting performance, it helps the audience stay invested in what was happening to Ian.

Jurassic Park poster
Even though I’m not talking about the movie itself, putting a picture of Jurassic Park‘s poster does make sense within this article. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Final Thoughts

Jurassic Park is a film that has captivated the world for over twenty years. The thrill of the adventure and the beauty of prehistoric creation are the things that, prior to its release, would be considered “the stuff of dreams”. While the idea of dreams is not necessarily a bad thing, reality shouldn’t be entirely excluded. This is why Dr. Ian Malcolm is so important in this story. He was the only one that kept his feet on the ground when everyone else was ready to fly toward John Hammond’s dream. John was so obsessed with the idea of Jurassic Park, that he, pretty much, forgot about the reality behind it. When we pair dreams with a healthy sense of reality and common sense, there is a chance that we can find more satisfaction. Our goals can be more attainable and results can be beneficial for ourselves, as well as the people around us. Had the characters in Jurassic Park paid more attention to what Ian had to say, they would have learned some important lessons a lot sooner.

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen