Binge-watching has become a next-level thing with so many people confined to their homes (unless you’re an essential worker, in which case THANK YOU) and it’s entirely possible that a month in, you’re now looking for title suggestions. We’re happy to oblige, especially if you’re a Hallmarkie. In addition to its three networks–Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama, the Hallmark Movies Now streaming service is available right now for a free 30-day trial–expanded from its normal 7-day offer.
For the uninitiated, HMN is home to fan favorites from the Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Hall of Fame libraries, as well as some some first-time Hallmark premieres that might have originally aired on Up, PiXL, ABC Family (before it was Freeform), and Lifetime, or been direct-to-video releases. Below are some of the flicks and series worth checking out. Where applicable, I’ve linked to our original previews.
This spinoff of When Calls the Heart was the streaming service’s first foray into a series, and the episodes are now airing behind new episodes of WCTH. If you’d like to check out the series in its entirety, the whole first season is available. My interview with Wendy Crewson and preview is here.
When this one aired in 2016, it quickly became one of my favorites. Alison Sweeney and Marc Blucas are terrific together in the story of a woman who goes back to her late grandmother’s hometown and discovers a whole side of her–and herself–that she never knew. Shirley Jones, WCTH’s Kavan Smith, and Samantha Ferris also star. My original preview is here
This 2003 gem from the vault is back in rotation and I love it. Kimberly Wiliams-Paisley, Brad Rowe, and Patrick Dempsey star as three sides of a love triangle (which y’all know I usually disavow, but this one gets a pass). Williams-Paisley is Amy, a woman who’s mapped her life out according to a sweet timeline her late mother left her when she was a girl.
So far, it’s all come to pass as she’d hoped, but she gets knocked off her trajectory when a new romance with the seemingly perfect Daniel (Rowe) seems to check all the boxes until she befriends Peter (Dempsey) at her local coffee house. It originally aired on ABC Family, so it’s a little more adult than Hallmark fare but it’s one that I’ve loved for years. It was filmed in and around Victoria, B.C. and is gorgeously lensed.
This one from 2017 was initially intended as a started for a potential franchise that never came to pass, but it works just as a well as a very sweet standalone romance. I love it first because Cameron Mathison is in it. And from there, I love it even more because it follows two characters who’ve done some living when they find each other.
He’s a small-town pastor who befriends a children’s book author (Andie MacDowell) when she returns to her beloved uncle’s home to try to get past a case of writer’s block. They initially meet-cute as next-door neighbors and then partner to help take care of a young boy when his grandfather is hospitalized after a fall. It’s a really lovely movie, and hugely repeatable. It gets rewatched in our house on the regular. My original preview is here.
Haven‘s Emily Rose stars opposite Barry Watson in this 2017 romcom about missed connections that turn out to be just what the universe ordered. When there’s a mix-up about the timing of a blind date and a case of mistaken identity, the mismatched pair lean into it and see where it goes. I love that Rose is doing romcoms–she’s only had The Thanksgiving House on Hallmark Channel. If we could get her paired with Lucas Bryant again on Hallmark, that would be win-win for everybody. Seed, planted.
Mark Deklin and Emmanuelle Vaugier star in the 2013 romcom about an unlikely pairing of a woman home to figure out her next professional and personal steps and a local lawyer who work together to try to save a small church. It’s the first thing I saw Deklin in and he’s since become a Hallmark staple. Vaugier did the very good Love in Paradise opposite Luke Perry and is overdue for another appearance. Shelley Long also stars.
Luke Macfarlane titles
I covered The Memory Book here, and this month, his 2019 Valentine’s entry, Just Add Romace is now available. He stars opposite Meghann Fahy in a story of competing chefs who were on the road to a new friendship when real-life intervened. Years later, they get another chance when they both enter a competitive cooking show. I chatted with Macfarlane and previewed the film here.
Cindy Busby and WCTH‘s Kevin McGarry co-star in a romance that’s a little more serious but very well done. She’s a widow weighing the sale of her horse-training ranch and he’s a developer who potentially has ulterior motives about buying the property. As they spend more time together, he starts to question whether to listen to his heart or help his career. I interviewed Busby and previewed the film here.
One of my hands-down, all-time favorites, this is the story of a woman (Anna Chlumsky) who gets in over her head–at first–when she’s called on to fill in for her parents and babysit her nieces and nephew for three weeks while her sister and brother-in-law take a long-overdue honeymoon trip to Paris. Life lessons and a potential new romance with a neighbor (Warren Christie) ensue. I’ve rewatched this one A LOT. My preview is here.
Originally a Hallmark Hall of Fame entry on CBS almost 20 years ago, The Wedding Dress has a ridiculous who’s who of a cast. It’s a multi-generational story about a wedding dress that gets passed down and around to a large group of family, friends, and strangers, bestowing good will–and love–on everyone who comes in contact with it. It’s just exceedingly well-done. If you’ve never seen it, you absolutely should watch it at least once. I adore this one.
In case the random marathons of Christmas titles aren’t sating your need for holiday programming, there are 14 selections available on demand, from two of the Father Christmas titles to Paul Cambell’s Window Wonderland to Hallmark newbies imported from other networks and starring Hallmark favories Erin Karpluk, Amy Acker, Jonathan Bennett, and more.
A selection of series
The streamer has several series offerings, starting with its own Cedar Cove, Chesapeake Shores, and Signed, Sealed, Delivered. Beyond that, it has 11 seasons of the Canadian series Heartland, which follows the life and loves of a ranch family in Alberta and is full of recognizable Hallmarkies. For the Aurora Teagarden folks who can’t get enough of Yannick Bisson, his pre-Murdich Mysteries series, Sue Thomas, F.B. Eye, about a hearing-impaired investigator for the FBI, has all three seasons up.
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