In all of the darker drama themes and darkness in general in today’s pop culture, sometimes it’s nice to find light. The first of Hallmark Channel’s original series, I have to say, I’m pretty sure this is ideal summer TV watching; one that won’t leave more conservative viewers reaching for the remote.
Cedar Cove, Season Two (2014) Hallmark TV Review
Things are changing in Cedar Cove. People are forging out, leaving the town in the rearview while others are struggling to find purpose in their lives. For Shelly (Haley Sales) and Eric (Tom Stevens), a battle is still ongoing as to what is going to happen to their child. Shelly is determined her daughter should be adopted. Much as Eric tries, when the going is tough, he walks away and she isn’t prepared for single parenthood. Then there is Eric’s father Jack Griffith (Dylan Neal), who is in an emotional downward spiral with his son. Making things unintentionally worse is Olivia (Andie MacDowell), who promises Shelley she’d use her legal knowledge to help her find a home for her child.
Meanwhile, Justine (Sarah Smythe), Olivia’s daughter loses her restaurant to a mysterious fire. There’s also her boyfriend. Despite what he says, Justine is confident her boyfriend Seth (Corey Siever) doesn’t really want the burden of a restaurant when his real calling is being on the sea. Only trouble is, Seth proposes and Justine is conflicted. She knows where Seth’s heart is, but what about her dreams? What is it that makes her happy? Until she knows this, she makes changes in her own life, similar to Maryellen (Elyse Levesque). Meryellen is making a big big move when she decides to follow her boyfriend to New York, leaving her mother, Grace (Teryl Rothery) without the company and extra income.
I will confess, I watched this with no knowledge of its maiden voyage, yet surprisingly, I didn’t struggle overmuch with this premiere (keeping the “who’s who” of Cedar Cove). The script is pretty self-explanatory so that, while we don’t understand all of the emotional implications (I didn’t see season one), I don’t wind up feeling lost over all of the connections. Apart from the characters what really endears this is its setting. Everything feels cozy and friendly, making it an ideal summer escapism that’s got more going for it.
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Though some of the minor plotlines boil over in all three episodes and come across as repetitive because of that (or maybe it’s a pattern than makes more sense once we see the first season), there is no question that this show is good. Because it isn’t afraid of being different then the flashy shows usually making noise on our TV screens. This is more akin to what one might find in Pushing Daisies (in terms of its quaint premise) or what I imagine Gilmore Girls might resemble (small town setting). While the writing may not always live up to its competitors, I admire it because its wholesome.
The acting makes the show easy to watch (including Bruce Boxleitner from Scarecrow and Mrs. King) though of course – as with every TV series, we quickly pick our favorite character. Justine will have to earn my respect whereas someone like Grace is easy to like from the beginning. Then there is Shelly and Eric, who are likable, yet their life quickly becomes what seems like a revolving argument; stay together, be a family or adopts the baby, arguments heat up, there’s tears and forgiveness and repeat. All of which (no matter the emotion) doesn’t stick around half as long the whole “drama” of their story.
Setting the stickler “critic” part of me aside, this series is gold. It’s just what I need at the time because I was (and still am) on the lookout for something happier to enjoy. Sometimes, visiting a small town for an hour – even fictional, is just what we need for the best kind of escapism. For me, I found that in Cedar Cove.
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You can find Cedar Cove, season two digitally on Amazon Video.
About the Show:
Network: Hallmark Channel
Reviewed: Episodes 1 – 3
- Letting Go, Part 1
- Letting Go, Part 2
- Relations and Relationships, Part 1
Content: one couple has a child out of wedlock and another lives together outside of marriage. Nothing comes of this aside from the one remark of living together. Another character is a recovering alcoholic. The show is TVPG.