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Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove Preview: Pilot [VIDEO and PHOTOS] 

Photo Credit: Hallmark Channel
Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media, Inc.

Y’all know how much I love the feelgoodness that is Hallmark Channel and they’re branching out from their original monthly movies and diving into episodic television with Cedar Cove, based on Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove book series. The TV series is an hourly drama, in the same vein as Everwood and Northern Exposure, that follows Olivia, a municipal judge in the small seaside hamlet of Cedar Cove who rides her bicycle to work and doesn’t lock her doors, as life throws a few potential changes her way. Among them: a new, high-profile job, her daughter’s engagement, and a love interest–the new newspaper editor, Jack (played by Dylan Neal).

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media, Inc.
Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media, Inc.

In the two-hour premiere, airing tonight at 8/7c, we meet Olivia, Jack, and the cast of characters who make up Cedar Cove–in the pilot that includes my Ian Tracey, who plays the local bartender, Bobby, and his daughter, Cecelia, played by Katherine Isabelle (who we most recently saw in Motive, and Endgame, which you should totally check out on Hulu).

Regulars will include Olivia’s daughter, Justine played by Sarah Smyth, her mother, Charlotte, played by Paula Shaw, Justine’s boyfriend, Warren, played by Brennan Elliott, and and the town sheriff played by Garry Chalk. Post-pilot, we pick up Bruce Boxleitner and fan favorite Teryl Rothery. The series filmed in Victoria, BC, so I’m guessing we should expect beaucoup familiar faces in the weeks to come given that the season has a 12-episode order

The show has a very leisurely, sweet feel to it, and that’s a nice change from most of what’s currently on TV (Hart of Dixie is probably a thematic cousin if I had to pick out something that’s airing right now).

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media Inc.
Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media Inc.

The pilot sets up a big decision Olivia has to make, and it’s a no brainer given that this is a pilot, but it’s still interesting to watch her weigh her choices amidst her career goals and things in her past that mesh with the road Jack has traveled, too. The pilot also sets up the premise that Olivia will have a weekly case to settle.

I liked the pilot and I loved that they got Andie MacDowell to commit to a series lead role–her first. I loved, too, that Neal plays a good guy–his character has baggage, sure, but no ulterior motive. This is a light, family-friendly show and I think we can always use one of those on a Saturday night. After tonight’s two-hour premiere, the series will run on Saturdays at 8 pm/7c.

Here’s a sneak peek:

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