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Chesapeake Shores, Pilot (2016) – A Familial Drama about Coming Home


Hallmark Channel is known most for their original movies, especially in the last two years. But what they also do very well are network shows. With a track record consisting of popular procedurals like Good Witch and perhaps, most popular, When Calls the Heart, as summer fades, they invite us to Chesapeake Shores (based on the best-selling series by Sherryl Woods). All of which is in the hopes we’ll fall as much in love with the O’Brien clan as they presumably have. 


New York is treating Abby Winters (Meghan Ory) well. As a Wall Street executive she runs with the best of the best in business and at home, she has two beautiful daughters (Abbie Magnuson, Kayden Magnuson) waiting for her. Everything changes when a spur-of-the-moment trip home to visit her sister, Jess (Laci J. Mailey) uncovers their grandmother (Diane Ladd) is protecting a secret about her health. This forces Abby to reexamine her own life and that of the relationship she has with her father (Treat Williams).   

Also newly returned to Chesapeake Shores is Trace Riley (Jesse Metcalfe), the high school sweetheart she left behind without explanation or goodbye. As Abby settles into her father’s home, she discovers she’s become the person she never thought she would: her father, and thereby she realizes she’s missing milestones in her daughter’s lives. As if the complications with Trace and her mother (Barbara Niven) weren’t enough, she learns her ex wants to sue for custody of their girls.

Bar none, I can easily say Chesapeake Shores is my favorite of Hallmark’s original series. Granted, it’s early yet and my opinion may shift (my “rule” is to give a show 2-3 episodes), but this pilot is magic (of a short). I loved so much beyond its care free setting (filmed in Canada, set on the Eastern shore). This includes (but is not limited to), the characters, romance and of course, the poignant themes likely to play into the arc of the “bigger picture” story. As is the normal around here, I want to dig deeper into these so let’s talk about them. 



The characters are what are going to drive this story further which is just as it should be. There are five children in the O’Brien family, all of whom are going to factor into each installment’s 40-minute epistolary (because yes, these stories are like letters). Beyond that, we also meet the patriarchs of the family and learn it’s Abby who will be the main focus. Her return to Chesapeake Shore sets events into motion. The introduction to everyone couldn’t have been better written. We meet the primary members of this family staggered (over the 90-minute runtime) which helps us adjust to each new character and learn something new about them. In fact, one of the sweetest scenes (proving the writer’s knew how to take their time with new additions) is the scene between the three sisters.

The cast are brilliant. Unlike some series, I don’t think I felt like anyone was ill suited to their roles or a drag. From Once Upon a Time’s Ory (The Memory Book, Dashing Through the Snow) to Dallas’ Metcalfe (A Country Wedding) and everyone in-between (including many familiar Hallmark favorites), you’re sure to enjoy the lineup.

What else does this wholesome series boast? A new OTP that, in my opinion, has all the right “stuff” to succeed. To place my finger on exactly what I loved best about this pair is impossible, but I know I do (already) adore them. The chemistry is there (as is a moonlit swim) and there is plenty of flirty banter to keep a smile affixed on the viewers’ face.  

If you’re looking for something with charm, Chesapeake Shores has it. If you’re looking for something to enjoy on these waning summer nights, Chesapeake Shores is your answer. There’s nothing better or more enchanting than it. Despite the comfort of a familiar theme, there are some unique threads (three cheers for a powerful job not being villainized!) which I hope are kept intact. There are poignant themes about love, family, forgiveness and realizing ones weaknesses, to say nothing of a story that manages to balance it all with heart.

Have you seen Chesapeake Shores? Are you planning on checking it out? What do you like best? Sound off below with your thoughts (I’d love to read them) and don’t miss an all-new episode of Chesapeake Shores Sunday night.  

Photos: Hallmark Channel
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Rissi
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8 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed the pilot episode. I missed episode two, but I plan to check back in for episode three tomorrow night. I totally agree with you on the casting--at least in the pilot, everyone seemed suited to their roles. Looking forward to more of this show (especially since Cedar Cove, which had been my favorite of Hallmark's original series, is no more).

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    1. To be honest, this is (without question) my favorite of Hallmark's series to date, Becky. Why I cannot put my finger on, but I thought everything was wonderful. I haven't seen episode two yet either (I have it in iTunes though) and am looking forward to it. My mother and I both liked the pilot so here's hoping we've found our latest Hallmark addiction. :)

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  2. Ohh this review just makes me want to watch it more! Hopefully tonight my mom and I will catch up unless my siblings have the TV. LOL

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    1. ...and did you catch it, girl?! :) Hope so. I thought it was charmingly romantic and the cast? Wonderful.

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  3. I SO want to watch this! I saw the trailer online and am in love. I think I'll have to wait to buy it though or rent it because we don't have cable.
    Lovely review and sorry for not posting your comments on my blog sooner - I was away for a few weeks.
    Blessings,
    Kara

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    1. It's SO good, Kara. I liked the romance (chemisty in abundance while still holding true to Hallmark's standards) and the family drama. It reminds me of favorite family sage books like Susan May Warren or Dani Pettrey writes. :)

      No worries! I understand balancing life and blogging. It can be a challenge.

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  4. Alright, so I finally watched the first three episodes, and it is exactly as awesome as you said, and as I suspected it would be :) One of the best things about it was how much it reminded me of Melissa Tagg's Walker family; it is just so weird how much alike the siblings are!

    Abby, Bree, and Jess in particular are all such brilliantly awesome women, and their banter and affection for one another is so hilarious, believable, and warm-hearted.
    However, the two characters I'm actually looking forward to learning more about the most are definitely Bree and Connor, maybe because they are more in the background at this point, and I have a feeling their story-lines could be quite rewarding ones, especially finding out what makes Connor tick!

    As for the main romance, I am very much excitedly looking forward to seeing how it will play out; Jesse Metcalfe is one of my all-time favourite Hallmark actors, and I love that Trace proving to be more than just the love interest, but a character in his own right who has his own baggage to work out. It's also great to see Meghan Ory in something again, and hopefully this is the show that will stick!

    Oh, and I can't sign off without also mentioning how amazing the music is; I wish the song that Lee was singing at Jess' B&B in Episode 4 was actually a real one, because I could listen to it over and over, it was so beautiful!

    God Bless
    Eleanor Rose

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    1. What a great comparison, Eleanor! I agree now you mention it. This is merely further proof that Hallmark should totally adapt Melissa's novels (especially now she's writing Christmas-themed novellas).

      The entire family is fascinating. I am a bit concerned that the "drama" pattern within the family may wear thin (the writer's should try to look for drama - if they need it to propel the story - outside of the immediate family). Beyond that, Connor and Bree definitely have great beginnings - I suspect at some point (if we haven't already - I'm an episode or two behind), we'll meet Bree's boyfriend.

      Ditto. Love Jesse and Meghan's chemistry/characters. Like you, I'd love to see this one stick around. :)

      I've actually bought some of the music from this show, though I don't think I've heard Lee's song (yet). I have the theme song (love it) and a couple others. Normally I don't pay much mind to TV show's music. Not so with this one!

      Thanks, as always, for sharing your thoughts! :)

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