Top 10 Things I’d Like to See in Chesapeake Shores’ Fifth Season

When I submitted my review of The Great Mouse Detective last week, it became the 175th movie review I’ve ever published! In honor of this accomplishment, I decided to write a Top 10 list, especially since I haven’t written one in quite some time! Back in February, in a Word on the Street story, I reported how Chesapeake Shores was renewed for a fifth season. However, because of the Coronavirus, the show hasn’t gone into production. On 18 Cinema Lane, I recap two of Hallmark’s shows, with Chesapeake Shores being one of them. While some areas of the world are slowly going back to creating movies and television shows, the O’Brien family may not appear on screen this year. This means that my Top 10 list will probably be the only Chesapeake Shores related content I create in 2020. As “Chessies” (the show’s fandom) waits for any news of the show’s return, here are the top 10 things I’d like to see in the fifth season! Before I begin, I want to say that this list is solely based on my opinion. There will also be spoilers for the previous season.

  1. Tone down the relationship drama

As I’ve said before in my Evenings At The Shore series, the first and second seasons of Chesapeake Shores contained a healthy balance between their character and plot driven narratives. But since season three, the show’s overall quality has plateaued. That’s because the overall narrative has placed its primary focus on the relationship drama between the characters. This decision has caused the plots to be put on the back-burner. One example is the fourth season’s fifth episode, where the plot surrounding Jess’s story didn’t make any sense. In Chesapeake Shores’ next season, I hope the screenwriters bring the show back to that balance from the first two seasons. This show has come up with some interesting plot ideas, but haven’t utilized them to their fullest extent.

2. A wedding for Jess and David

Before Kevin and Sarah got engaged in the fourth season, fans had never seen a wedding within the O’Brien family. This next step in Kevin and Sarah’s relationship was history in the making for the show. Because of the fourth season’s six episode run, wedding plans were replaced with an elopement and a reception dinner. This decision was a “bait and switch”, leaving fans cheated out of a historical moment they were promised. Kevin and Sarah were not the only couple to get engaged, however, as Jess and David became engaged at the end of the season. I’d like to see Jess and David’s wedding in the fifth season. Because the filming locations of Chesapeake Shores are photogenic, maybe they could receive an outdoor ceremony.

3. Get rid of the love triangle

It’s bad enough When Calls the Heart features a love triangle that seems to have no end in sight. Like I said in one of my Sunset Over Hope Valley posts, love triangles are a waste of time and creative energy. In Chesapeake Shores’ fourth season, the narrative introduced a love triangle between Abby, Trace, and Jay. This not only enables the screenwriters to continue emphasizing the relationship drama, but it also takes screen-time away from more intriguing plots. Hopefully, this love triangle will get resolved sometime in the fifth season.

4. A subplot for Carrie and Caitlyn

Speaking of When Calls the Heart, what this show does well is provide subplots for the younger characters. It gives the audience a chance to get to know them and view the story from their perspective. When it comes to Chesapeake Shores, Carrie and Caitlyn, the youngest characters on the show, have never received a story of their own. In fact, it feels like they’ve become an afterthought within the overall narrative. I’ve been waiting for Carrie and Caitlyn to receive their own subplot for a while, so I hope this happens in season five. It would be interesting to see what the screenwriters come up with.

5. More episodes

Earlier in this list, when I talked about Kevin and Sarah’s lack of wedding plans, I stated how the fourth season of Chesapeake Shores was only given six episodes. While Hallmark shows have received seasons with less than ten episodes before, a fourth season receiving six episodes is a bit concerning. This creative decision prevented certain subplots from being fully explored and made the story feel like more was desired. Personally, I think the fifth season should be given at least nine to ten episodes. That way, Chesapeake Shores will have enough time to flesh stories out and focus on telling well-thought out narratives.

Evening view from the shore image created by 0melapics at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/landscape-in-a-swamp-at-night_1042860.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by 0melapics – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

6. The fruition of Trace’s recording studio

Chesapeake Shores excels at featuring locations that have been brought up in the story. One example is The Bridge, a musical restaurant that Trace had been dreaming about for several years. At the end of the fourth season, Trace had expressed interest in creating a recording studio. While recording studios have been presented in the story before, this particular business was never shown in Chesapeake Shores. Because this show has a good track record when it comes to locations, I’d like to think Trace’s recording studio will become a reality. However, I still want to see this location brought to life.

7. For Bree and Simon’s paths to cross again

When Simon was introduced on Chesapeake Shores, he met Bree in her home country. At the end of the fourth season, Bree’s literary agent, Brian, wanted to bring her play to London. If this happens, Bree would be in Simon’s home country. This dynamic would be very interesting to watch, especially if Bree and Simon plan on revisiting their relationship. Should Bree decide to find a different significant other, I’d be curious to see which new British actor joins the show.

8. More appearances for Nell

Over the course of the fourth season, I noticed that Nell had such a limited on-screen presence compared to previous seasons. I was told Diane Ladd, the actress who portrays Nell, was experiencing pneumonia when this particular season was in production. As I indicated in the introduction, we don’t know when Chesapeake Shores’ fifth season will be filmed. Whenever that happens, I hope Diane is in better health. Nell is the one who keeps the glue of the O’Brien family together. Without her, things just wouldn’t be the same.

9. A Chesapeake Shores Movie

I know a Chesapeake Shores movie is on the way. However, it never went into production, partly due to the Coronavirus. Even though the film was originally about Abby, Bree, and Jess, I still want to see a St. Patrick’s Day themed movie in Ireland. Another possible film idea is a Chesapeake Shores Thanksgiving themed movie! Hallmark hasn’t created a Thanksgiving movie in several years. Also, Good Witch has capitalized on Halloween, while When Calls the Heart creates annual Christmas films.

10. Megan becoming a successful businesswoman

You’re probably thinking, “Megan’s not a businesswoman, it isn’t her forte”. However, when we look at Abby, Bree, and Jess, there is one thing they have in common: they are all successful businesswomen. While each sister has forged their own path in the world of business, they have let their passions guide them through this specific journey. For at least one season, Megan has expressed her passion for art. Toward the end of the fourth season, she had shown an interest in creating her own studio. If the screenwriters wanted, they could allow Megan to use her art as the basis for a small business. This could make Megan an independent businesswoman like her three daughters.

Chesapeake Shores poster image created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=series&ShowTitle=Chesapeake%20Shores%20Season%203&episodeIndex=3001

Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen

The results of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards are finally here!

After three months of voting, the winners of the 2020 Gold Sally Awards have been determined! This year, the nominees were expanded beyond Hallmark projects. I made this choice to better reflect 18 Cinema Lane. Because of its success, I will not only bring the Gold Sally Awards back in 2021, but I’ll continue nominating films from within Hallmark and outside of Hallmark! Thank you to everyone who liked and voted in the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! You are the reason why I keep this event around! Like last year, I have brought back the scrapbook style page showcasing this year’s winners! 2020’s theme is silver and gold with a dash of sparkle! And now, the winners of the 2020 Gold Sally Awards!

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Scrapbook page and screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Best Movie and Ensemble: Avengers: Endgame

Best Story: Mystery 101: Words Can Kill

Best On-Screen Couple: Ziyi Zhang and Chen Chang – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Best Actress: Haya Harareet – Ben-Hur (1959)

Best Actor: Spencer Tracy – Boys Town

Best Supporting Actress: Kathy Bates – Swept from the Sea

Best Supporting Actor: Ian McKellen – Swept from the Sea

Sally’s Star of the Year: Vincent Perez

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: The Company We Keep

Before I start this When Calls the Heart re-cap, I’d like remind everyone that Thursday, March 12th, is the last day to cast your vote for the Best Actress of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The Best Actor poll will be posted on the 13th! Here is the link to the poll:

 

Let’s Choose the Best Actress of the 2020 Gold Sally Awards!

 

In her opening monologue, Elizabeth says that in life’s journey, the most important aspect is the company we, the travelers, keep. Similar to season seven’s first episode, I thought about how Elizabeth’s words connect with the show. What I love about When Calls the Heart is how the overall story doesn’t focus on just one character. Since 2014, the audience has been introduced to a variety of characters, each of them serving a specific purpose. Some of these characters have remained on the show, while others have left after a short period of time. But no matter what their status is, each character has held a great importance to someone. As I write this re-cap, I wonder if this is one of the reasons why When Calls the Heart has lasted this long on television?

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.

When Calls the Heart Season 7 poster
When Calls the Heart poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=series&ShowTitle=When%20Calls%20the%20Heart%20Season%207&episodeIndex=7001.

Season: 7

Episode: 3

Name: Family Matters

 

Major Stories:

At the beginning of the episode, Archie is still in jail and under suspicion of theft. One Sunday, after Mass, Nathan asks Bill if he’ll question Archie. He says that questioning his own father would be too difficult for him. After hearing this, Bill agrees. When he questions Archie, Bill learns that a debt was owed to Archie by a man named Donnie. Archie reveals that this debt was paid after he had gotten out of prison. After the interview, Bill tells Nathan what Archie told him. Not satisfied with what he heard, Nathan travels to Benson Hill to learn what his fellow Mounties had discovered. At a local hotel, a Mountie tells Nathan that a witness claims to have seen Archie leaving the room that contained the stolen necklace. But, when Nathan asks the concierge if Archie had checked in, the concierge tells him that his father was given a room on the second floor. The fellow Mountie shares that the robbery took place on the third floor. Remembering what Bill had told him, Nathan asks to look at Donnie’s file. As he’s reading it, he notices that Donny has a known alias. When Nathan questions the concierge if anyone with the alias’ name had checked into the hotel, the concierge reveals that a person with that name was given a room on the third floor. After this discovery, Nathan tries to track down Donnie’s whereabouts. He eventually finds Donnie in a nearby forest. As Nathan is searching his bag, he finds the stolen necklace. This information is able to put Donnie back in jail and clear Archie’s name.

 

Ally is upset about Archie’s recent arrest. Because of this, she decides to run away to Elizabeth’s house. While Ally leaves for Mass with the Coulters, Elizabeth visits Nathan at the Mountie office. She tells him that Ally has run away to her house. When Nathan says that Ally might be overreacting, Elizabeth reveals that Ally’s suitcase contained all her belongings, indicating that Ally’s decision was legitimate. After Mass, Nathan tells Ally that running away from home was a bad idea. Ally says that she’ll come back home when she’s allowed to see her grandfather. Nathan refuses, so Ally continues to stay with Elizabeth. In the evening, as Ally is drawing a picture of her former house, she tells Elizabeth that the reason why she wants to see her grandfather is to learn more about her mother. Elizabeth reminds her that Nathan does have her best interests in mind. The next day, at school, Elizabeth discovers that Ally has gone missing. When Opal refuses to share Ally’s whereabouts with Elizabeth, Elizabeth realizes where her student went. A trip to the Mountie office later, Elizabeth finds Ally having a conversation with her grandfather. Upset with Ally’s defiance, Elizabeth reminds her of the aforementioned rule that she and Nathan had put in place. Ally then shares her concerns about her small family, saying that her grandfather is one of the only family members she has left. Toward the end of the episode, after Archie is found innocent, Archie leaves Hope Valley to take advantage of a new job opportunity. Before he leaves, Archie gives Ally a letter containing stories about her mother. Archie promises to share more stories through a series of letters.

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Envelope with hearts image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/hearts-and-pink-envelope-for-mothers-day_1950691.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/love”>Love image created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Minor Stories:

Jesse and Clara continue to plan their wedding. Before Mass, Jesse asks his friend, Kevin, if he’d like to be a groomsman. Because he has never stood up in a wedding before, Kevin agrees. After learning this news, Clara is disappointed that the wedding party will not be an even number. So, the next day, she and Rosemary ask Elizabeth if she’ll be a bridesmaid. After Elizabeth accepts the position, Clara feels that the wedding party is now an even number. Over the course of the episode, Clara and Jesse ask some of Hope Valley’s residents if they’d like to play a role in their wedding. In an effort to help, Fiona shares some bridal magazines with Clara and offers to give wedding advice. Fiona says that she has stood up in several weddings, so she feels that her knowledge could be of use to Clara. This causes Clara to ask Fiona if she’d like to be a bridesmaid. After Fiona accepts this role, Jesse and Clara talk about how the number of people that attend the wedding doesn’t matter, it’s the people themselves that matter. At the end of the episode, Clara tells Bill that he’ll be walking her down the aisle. This is a relief to Bill, especially since he was worried about being left out of the wedding ceremony.

 

Faith is still contemplating the idea of medical school. One day, she receives a phone call from the president of the medical school in Union City. He tells Faith that, because of her academic record, she only has to take two classes in order to be eligible for medical training. However, in those classes, there won’t be an opening until next year. Feeling defeated, Faith thinks that it might be a better idea to wait a year. Later in the episode, Faith receives another phone call from the medical school president. He reveals that an opening for the two aforementioned classes is available at a medical school in Chicago. These classes will begin the following week. As Faith is still figuring out what to do, Carson gives her the medical book he used in school. After he claims the book brought him luck, Faith decides to attend the school in Chicago.

 

Elizabeth has finished some chapters of her novel. She gives them to Lucas so he can provide feedback. After he reads these chapters, Lucas tells Elizabeth that he enjoyed her work. According to him, the characters are strong, yet vulnerable. One character in particular has caught Lucas’ curiosity. He believes that this character, Luther Brant, could be based on him. When Lucas questions Elizabeth about her inspiration, she claims she made the character up. Several days later, Lucas meets up with Elizabeth at the Mercantile. He tells her that while he was reading her literary work, he learned that Luther was a widower with a daughter. Elizabeth tells him that he shouldn’t focus so much on who the characters are based on, especially since her story is a work of fiction.

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Wedding schedule image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/infographic”>Infographic vector created by Freepik</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/welcome-to-the-wedding_831989.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found on freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • While some of Hope Valley’s residents were given roles in Jesse and Clara’s wedding, I honestly thought that Bill would end up officiating the ceremony. I was expecting a conflict where the pastor couldn’t come to the wedding, so Bill would have to take his place. But the idea of Bill walking Clara down the aisle came as a pleasant surprise. When Clara told Bill he was the closest person to a father she’s ever had, I found myself getting teary-eyed. Once again, the writers of When Calls the Heart are doing a good job at subverting my expectations!

 

  • During the episode, Fiona approaches Kevin and asks him to fix her telephone station. Throughout this part of the story, they end up helping one another. When Kevin delivers the tools for the telephone station, Fiona provides Kevin with an explanation of what’s expected of a groomsman. Their interactions make me wonder if they’ll start dating by the end of this season?

 

  • In a Word on the Street story from last November, when I talked about the synopsis for When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas, I said that Elizabeth has seemed more self-centered and entitled than in previous seasons. I also said that the show was slowly becoming “The Elizabeth Thornton Show”. So far, Elizabeth seems less entitled than she did in season six! What helps is how she’s put her time and energy into writing a book. Providing the other characters with equally interesting stories also solves this problem. I really hope this change can continue in season seven!

Red sunset clouds over trees.
Sunset image created by Photoangel at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Photoangel – Freepik.com</a>.<a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/red-sunset-clouds-over-trees_1254327.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What are your thoughts on this episode? Are you looking forward to Jesse and Clara’s wedding? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Desolation Canyon Review + 120 Follower Thank You

Two weeks ago, 18 Cinema Lane received 120 followers! I had wanted to publish this post much sooner. But due to other blog posts that I felt had to be posted before the end of the month and technical difficulties related to the weather, this blog follower dedication review had to be put on hold. Fortunately, I now set aside some time to publish this important post! For my 120 follower dedication review, I chose a movie that was released in July of 2006. Originally, I was going to talk about Monster House. However, when I discovered that there were two Hallmark movies that were released in the aforementioned month and year, I decided to choose one of those films instead. Desolation Canyon is the movie that I ended up picking. Since I haven’t reviewed a Western film since Allegheny Uprising back in March, I wanted to see how Hallmark approached this particular genre. Films of this nature are rarely seen on Hallmark Channel or Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. In fact, when it comes to stand-alone films, the last Western that either network created was JL Family Ranch from 2016. Despite this, I know that Hallmark has what it takes to tell stories from this genre, especially after watching programs like When Calls the Heart. Now, let’s see if Hallmark pulled off a good movie in this review of Desolation Canyon!

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I apologize if this poster doesn’t have the best quality image. I decided to take a picture of it on my phone. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Things I liked about the film:

The acting: I was really impressed with the acting in Desolation Canyon! Before watching this movie, the only Hallmark film of Patrick Duffy’s that I saw was The Christmas Cure. In that movie, his character was more light-hearted, in order to fit the tone of that film. In Desolation Canyon, Patrick’s portrayal of Tomas had that same light-heartedness. But this time, his character was also tough and rugged, which was a good fit for the genre. Patrick was able to successfully bring both of these elements to his character, helping him to be a likable protagonist. Stacy Keach also did a good job at portraying the character of Samuel. Even though he has a tougher persona than Tomas, Samuel still was an honorable individual. Stacy was able to incorporate these aspects of the character through the believability of his performance. The rest of the cast brought the best of their acting abilities to their roles, keeping me investing in their on-screen stories!

 

The script: Desolation Canyon’s script was such a pleasant surprise by how well written it was! Anytime the three protagonists spoke to each other, their dialogue was witty and clever. In fact, all of the dialogue in this film sounded like real-life conversations. It’s also important to point out that the character development was well done. There was one character in particular who not only grew as an individual, but also pulled off a very effective plot twist. I’m not going to say which character it was, in case you haven’t seen this movie. But I thought this part of the film shows how good this movie’s script was!

 

The movie’s created world: Hallmark doesn’t create period films often. But, when they do, the network puts all they have into their projects. Everything in Desolation Canyon looked and felt like the time period this story took place in. Even the natural scenery felt like it fit within that cinematic world! The care for detail showed, as even smaller props added a sense of authenticity to the narrative. It tells me, as an audience member, that the creative team behind this film made the best effort possible to bring this world to life on-screen!

horse saddle - soft focus with film filter
Horse with saddle photo created by Topntp26 at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/stallion-black-equine-race-sky_1104246.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Topntp26 – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Under-utilized characters: Even though this movie had well-crafted characters, some of them were under-utilized. One example was Alejandra, who was the wife of Samuel. Since she was given an interesting backstory, I had assumed that she would serve a significant purpose within the overall narrative. Unfortunately, Alejandra didn’t really do anything besides keep Olivia, Samuel’s daughter-in-law, company. This disappointed me because Alejandra was both a well-written and well-acted character. It just seemed like all of the potential this character had was wasted.

 

A weak plot for the bandits: In Desolation Canyon, the group of bandits play a key role in the story. Their subplot, however, wasn’t as strong as their on-screen presence. For most of the movie, the bandits were primarily seen on their journey. The only things they talked about were the journey itself or about an injured member of the group. It wasn’t until about the last thirty minutes when the bandits receive any semblance of a plot. While the father-son relationship between Johnny and Abe was an interesting element, it felt like it had little connection to the bandits’ subplot. If anything, the aforementioned element should have been its own plot.

 

The inclusion of the bounty hunters: The story of Desolation Canyon featured two bounty hunters who, like the protagonists, were searching for the bandits. While these characters were interesting, they didn’t really add anything to the overall story. Throughout the film, these bounty hunters follow the protagonists in an attempt to seek revenge toward the bandits. But anytime they showed up, it seemed like they were there for the sake of plot convenience. If this part of the story was eliminated from the film, it wouldn’t have made a difference.

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Small, western town image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Desolation Canyon is a much different Hallmark movie than what the network provides today. It doesn’t feature the usual tropes and clichés that are found in the romantic comedies that dominate Hallmark Channel. Instead, this Western is filled with interesting character development, action, suspense, and a story with stakes. Desolation Canyon was released in 2006, only five years after Hallmark Channel premiered. This was a time when movies had more creative freedom and thought outside the box. While I wish that Hallmark would go back to this kind of story-telling, I’m glad to have been given the opportunity to revisit the films of the network’s past. Desolation Canyon is a film that I found entertaining! There are things about the story that could have better. On the other hand, this movie had creative choices that I liked seeing. It amazes me how my followers continue to be supportive of 18 Cinema Lane! With that, I will end this review by thanking each and every one of my 120 followers!

 

Overall score: 7.4 out of 10

 

Do you like watching Hallmark movies? What genre would you like to see the network incorporate into their stories? Please tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

The results of the 1st Annual Gold Sally Awards have finally arrived!

Earlier this February, I started the Gold Sally Awards as my way of celebrating 18 Cinema Lane’s first anniversary. These awards were created to be interactive for all my readers and followers. After several months and voting polls, it’s finally time to reveal the winners of the very first Gold Sally Awards! Instead of just listing the names of the winning actors and movies, I’ve created scrapbook pages that showcase photos of these winners. The pages are Christmas themed to represent the 10th anniversary of Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Christmas” movie line-up. Before this celebration begins, I want to say thank you to everyone who supported the Gold Sally Awards by voting in the polls or liking the posts. Because this became a successful experience, I will definitely continue to host these awards next year! Now it’s time to announce this year’s winners!

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Scrapbook page and screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

Best Movie and Best Story: Northern Lights of Christmas

Best On-Screen Couple: Aimee Teegarden and Brett Dalton – Once Upon a Christmas Miracle

Best Actress: Alicia Witt – Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane

Best Actor: Colin Ferguson – Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane

Best Supporting Actress: Rebecca Staab – Christmas Bells are Ringing

Best Supporting Actor: Mark Humphrey — Christmas Bells are Ringing

Best Ensemble: Marrying Father Christmas

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Scrapbook page and screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Hallmark Channel

Best Movie: Pearl in Paradise and Love, of Course (first tie in Gold Sally Awards history)

Best Story: Love, of Course

Best On-Screen Couple: Rukiya Bernard and Dewshane Williams – One Winter Weekend

Best Actress: Nikki DeLoach – Truly, Madly, Sweetly

Best Actor: Mark Deklin – Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa

Best Supporting Actress: Rukiya Bernard – One Winter Weekend

Best Supporting Actor: Preston Vanderslice – Cooking with Love

Best Ensemble: It’s Christmas, Eve

Hand holding trophy
Hand holding gold trophy image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by macrovector – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Hallmark Star of the Year: Paul Greene

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Star on red carpet image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

Sally Watches… Murder, She Wrote!

On the Youtube channel, Hallmarkies Podcast, there is a series of videos called “Amber Makes Rachel Watch”. In this series, Amber, one of the hostesses of Hallmarkies Podcast, introduces Rachel, her friend and fellow Hallmarkies Podcast hostess, to television shows that she has never seen before. This inspired me to broaden my television horizons for the Mystery Mania blogathon. You’d think with the amount of content I watch and talk about from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, I would have gotten around to watching Murder, She Wrote. Well, to say it honestly, I’ve never seen any episodes of the show…until now. For this special post, I will review three episodes of the show that I have chosen at random. Because Hallmark Movies & Mysteries regularly airs re-runs of Murder, She Wrote, I was able to easily access these episodes by recording them on my television. Throughout this blogathon entry, I will break down each episode and share what I liked about it, what I didn’t like about it, the mystery within the episode, and the other factors from the episode. I will also be sharing my overall thoughts not just about each episode, but about the show as a whole, based on the three episodes that I’ve seen. Now that this introduction is finished, let’s have Sally watch Murder, She Wrote!

Mystery Mania Blogathon banner
Mystery Mania Blogathon banner created by Robin from Pop Culture Reverie. Image found at https://popculturereverie.wordpress.com/2019/01/22/announcing-the-mystery-mania-blogathon/.

Episode Name: The Legacy of Borbey House

Season 10, Episode 3

Premiere Date: October 3rd, 1993

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The title card for “The Legacy of Borbey House”. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
What I liked about this episode:

The acting was definitely one of the stronger components of this episode! Within this cast, there were three actors that gave stand-out performances. The first is David Birney, who portrayed Lawrence Baker. Even though his on-screen appearance was very limited, David did a good job at making his character equally charismatic and suspicious. Roy Dotrice also gave a memorable performance as Dr. Howard Sorenson. All of his reactions appeared believable and Dr. Sorenson’s enthusiasm for the subject of vampires seemed genuine. The last stand-out performance came from Gary Hershberger. His portrayal of Dave Perrin was one of the most well-rounded performances in this entire episode, giving this character the emotional depth that kept me invested in his story.

 

What I didn’t like about this episode:

When I read the synopsis for this episode, I was excited to see how the subject of vampires would be incorporated within the overall narrative. Before I watched “The Legacy of Borbey House”, I thought this subject would play such a large role in the story, that various characters would have continuous competitions to see who could drop the most vampire related pop cultural references in one sitting. Unfortunately, this was not the case. In the overall context of the episode, the subject of vampires seemed like an afterthought. While it was addressed to a certain extent, it was never explored enough to keep me satisfied. If anything, the most talked about subject in this episode was the various renovations that were taking place in the town of Cabot Cove.

 

The mystery itself:

Honestly, I was very disappointed in this mystery. The entire first half of the episode was dedicated to exposition and build-up to the mystery. The myself itself, however, didn’t start until the halfway point. Several moments after this happened, Jessica ends up solving the mystery single-handedly based on one photo she was given from her acquaintance. Because of this, it didn’t give the audience a chance to solve the mystery alongside Jessica. This made the mystery not engaging or interactive.

 

The other factors from this episode:

There were three things within this episode that stood out to me. They are:

  • The opening scene when Dr. Sorenson pops out of the grave was so random, that it was hilarious!
  • Even though the Borbey House wasn’t on-screen for long, its architecture and décor were gorgeous! I have no idea if this is a real-life house or just a television show set.
  • I really liked the brief discussion about how different people view topics relating to belief systems and the supernatural. This added depth not only for the episode’s story, but also for the characters.

 

My overall thoughts:

At best, “The Legacy of Borbey House” was just ok. But, at worst, I found it to be disappointing. Instead of an engaging mystery featuring the topic of vampires, I ended up getting an episode that treated renovations as if they represented social status. The mystery in “The Legacy of Borbey House” was not very well-written. In fact, this episode didn’t really talk about the “legacy” that was referenced in the title. Yes, there was a myth about vampires being associated with the Borbey family. However, this concept was not explored in this episode. If this episode were given an honest title, it would be called “The Legacy of Cabot Cove’s Renovations”.

 

Rating: A low 3 out of 5

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This book seems a lot more interesting than the episode I ended up watching. I wonder if this book has a chapter about Lestat and Jesse’s relationship? Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Episode Name: Film Flam

Season 11, Episode 16

Premiere Date: February 19th, 1995

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The title card for “Film Flam”. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
What I liked about this episode:

I really liked seeing the different steps that are involved in the process of bringing a movie to its premiere stage. As someone who likes movies and appreciates the movie-making process, I thought this portion of the episode was very interesting and educational. Even though I knew that planning and hosting a movie premiere required a lot of time and effort, this episode opened my eyes to some of the aspects that could affect a movie’s release. In “Film Flam”, the creative, business, and legal areas associated with a particular film were represented. This episode also discussed the various people and situations that could also affect a movie premiere as well as the film itself. I thought this topic was not only well explored, but also effortlessly woven into the overall narrative.

 

What I didn’t like about this episode:

In this mystery, I thought that the guilty culprit was a little bit obvious. As soon as they introduced themselves and revealed some of their back-story, I immediately knew that they must have something to do with the crime. After everything was said and done, I ended up being correct in my guess of “whodunit”.

 

The mystery itself:

The mystery in “Film Flam” was much better than in “The Legacy of Borbey House”! While the first half of the episode was still dedicated to exposition and build-up to the mystery, it was also paired with the behind-the-scenes aspect of coordinating a movie premiere. These two elements balanced out the story really well. There was also enough room for the audience to solve the mystery alongside Jessica. This allowed for the mystery to be interactive and intriguing. With various suspects and clues, I thought that “Film Flam” was a well-written mystery story!

 

The other factors from this episode:

Here are some of the things that caught my attention while I watched “Film Flam”:

  • Whoever scouted locations for this show did a really good job at choosing gorgeous houses! Fritz’s house in “Film Flam” was beautiful, both in architecture and design/décor.
  • Whenever Elaine Brown and Darryl Harding appeared on-screen together, I could sense strong on-screen chemistry between Jim Caviezel and Stacy Edwards. Because of this, I was really hoping that Elaine and Darryl would, at least, start a romantic relationship by the end of the episode. While this is only assumed, based on the fact that Darryl and Elaine were holding hands toward the end of “Film Flam”, I’m hoping these two characters appeared in other episodes. That way, there could be a chance for them to receive their “happily-ever-after”.
  • I won’t spoil anything if you haven’t seen this episode. However, all I will say is when the guilty culprit reveals why they committed the crime, I found their explanation to be very creepy.

 

My overall thoughts:

I really liked this episode! It combined a well-written mystery story with something that I love; movies. Because this episode centered around the process of a movie premiere, I feel like I gained valuable and educational information about what it takes to coordinate an event like this. “Film Flam” was both intriguing and engaging, things that I think a good mystery should be. While the guilty culprit was a little bit obvious, I still enjoyed the experience of trying to solve the mystery alongside Jessica. Even though I’ve only seen two episodes of Murder, She Wrote so far, I would be willing to guess that this story was one of the show’s stronger episodes.

 

Rating: A 4.7 out of 5

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Honestly, seeing Darryl and Elaine’s relationship progress as this episode went on was, for me, a highlight of “Film Flam”. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Episode Name: School for Murder

Season 11, Episode 19

Premiere Date: April 30th, 1995

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The title card for “School for Murder”. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
What I liked about this episode:

I liked how some of the students of St. Crispin’s Academy were able to play a role within the overall narrative. When reading the description for “School for Murder”, I wasn’t sure if any of the students were going to be prominently featured in the episode. Even though I’ve now only seen three episodes of the show, I’ve noticed that there aren’t many opportunities for young people to be included in the overall story. So, it was nice to see these students incorporated into this episode.

 

What I didn’t like about this episode:

I wasn’t a fan of St. Crispin’s Academy’s “secret society”. Because of the inclusion of this story element, it felt like there was too much going on in this episode. It also felt like the screenwriters were trying to accomplish too much in one story. While this “secret society” did play a role within the overall narrative, it just seemed like it didn’t need to be there.

 

The mystery itself:

The mystery in “School for Murder” was very interesting. There was not only a primary mystery, but there were also two sub-mysteries. All three of these mysteries were connected to each other in some way. I thought this was a very unique approach to the story-telling aspect of this episode, especially compared to the previous two episodes that I’ve seen. There were also a few surprises that I did not see coming. Added with enough room for the audience to solve the mystery alongside Jessica, the mystery story of “School for Murder” stood out from the rest.

 

The other factors from this episode:

In this episode, there were only two things that stood out to me. These are:

  • I’m sorry if I sound like a broken record, but whoever was the location scout for this show knew what they were doing when it came to choosing the locations for Murder, She Wrote. St. Crispin’s Academy was a really nice-looking facility! Like with the Borbey House in “The Legacy of Borbey House”, I’m not sure if St. Crispin’s Academy is a real place or just a set.
  • I’m not going to spoil anything if you haven’t seen this episode. But I thought the way the guilty party was written was very interesting. Instead of being deceitful or hateful, like the guilty parties in “The Legacy of Borbey House” and “Film Flam”, the guilty party in “School for Murder” was portrayed in a more human and realistic way. To me, this was a unique departure from the aforementioned episodes.

 

My overall thoughts:

While “School for Murder” was ok, it wasn’t as disappointing as “The Legacy of Borbey House”. There were too many story elements associated with this episode, which caused this story to feel too jam-packed. However, “School for Murder” did have some merits. One of them is the inclusion of young people in the overall narrative. These merits and strengths added something interesting to this episode. It made “School for Murder” somewhat different from “The Legacy of Borbey House” and “Film Flam”. I wonder if the other episodes of Murder, She Wrote took creative approaches to its use of story-telling?

 

Rating: A 3.2 out of 5

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This facility definitely looked the part of an well-respected, private school. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
My final assessment:

So, now is the moment you’ve all been waiting for. What do I think of Murder, She Wrote? Overall, the show is fine. If I had nothing else to do and if my options for what to watch on television were limited, I would definitely watch an episode or two. Something that I noticed when I watched these episodes was that the overall quality of the show was not consistent. Out of the three episodes that I saw, I really liked only one of them. The other two were just ok. But no television show is perfect and some episodes are bound to be better than others. If you’re like me and have never seen Murder, She Wrote before, I would definitely recommend it! Just pick a few episodes and then decide if this show is for you. The great thing about Murder, She Wrote is that it doesn’t really rely on an over-arcing story. This makes it easy to watch any episode without having to watch its predecessors.

 

Have you ever watched Murder, She Wrote? Would you like me to review other episodes of the show? Please tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Cabot Cove!

Sally Silverscreen