During the current pandemic there has been unprecedented boxset watching. Oh, to own shares in Netflix. Many of us have escaped the sad reality of the spiralling global death toll by seeking escapist refuge in our television sets, tablets or phones. We have dropped anchor on our sofas, disengaged our brains and floated off into make believe worlds where heroes prevail and everything is sorted out within a sixty minute episode, ad breaks included.
Here at chez Black, we have been no different. Ozark, Line of Duty and Warrior Nun to name but a few. Normally accompanied by lashings of Diet Coke and the occasional tub of honeycomb ice cream. Desperate times have called for desperate measures. Fionnuala and I have waded through enough explosions, fight sequences and terrifying car chases to last us a lifetime. We see more of Will Smith and the Rock than our own families. Not necessarily a bad thing.
Fionnuala has worked very hard to keep the house in order and her sanity intact, with an annoying husband and three messy teenagers permanently in lockdown residence. Adept at multi-tasking she has fitted in much of her viewing while ironing, cooking or attempting to prevent the house from resembling a bomb site. Is it little wonder, then, that she yearns for a quieter, simpler life? That’s when she discovered ‘When The Heart Calls.’
Now in its 7th season it tells the story of life in an early 20th Century Canadian frontier town where everyone has suspiciously good teeth. It’s centred around the perfect schoolteacher, Elizabeth Thatcher, played by that actress who has appeared in all those other Hallmark movies. Mountie Jack is the hero of the show, romancing Miss Elizabeth while keeping on top of the surprisingly high crime rate, given the idyllic setting and angelic population.
All the women in the show are incredibly slim and wear beautiful dresses. The men are rugged, yet dashing, and all have hearts of gold beneath their gruff features. Each episode involves a moral dilemma where the saintly status quo is threatened before good old honest moral values win the day and the natural order is restored. Bad eggs are thrown in jail, crooked businessmen exposed and everyone smiles and nods wisely as the end credits roll.
My wife is a hopeless, slavering addict. She’s devoured the first five seasons and almost lost her mind upon discovering that Netflix U.K. wasn’t currently streaming Seasons 6 and 7. She expressed her outrage in a tweet to Netflix even though I gently suggested they had probably all gone home for the weekend and their CEO most likely had bigger problems in their inbox. This observation was met with incredulity and a withering rebuke. I kept quiet after that.
Thankfully some slick research was able to locate the missing seasons. I’ve no idea how she accomplished it, as it was all very technical and far beyond my admittedly tiny circle of knowledge. But she was a happy woman last night as she settled down to the opening episode of Season 6. I returned to my book knowing all was well within the Black household again. All was equally well in Hope Valley, although a new character was rubbing the sheriff up the wrong way much to the chagrin of all concerned.
There are even numerous Christmas episodes which is timely as, seeing it is late July, the good folk at Hallmark will soon be polluting our screens 24/7 with the nine million Christmas movies they have in their archives. All involving the same three basic plot lines and dozen or so actors who make up the main cast of When The Heart Calls. All will be well again in a world where social distancing doesn’t exist and there isn’t a bottle of hand sanitiser to be seen. Happy Christmas everyone!