In niche casting – what cable stations do to super-serve a target audience as opposed to broadcasting – creating original content can set you apart from the others.
With "Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove," the Hallmark Channel is entering a new era, creating a place that its audience could call home.
The show debuts on Saturday night at 7 p.m. with a two-hour premier. I had the opportunity to do an advance screening of the show.
Usually, the dramas aired on the channel are pretty predictable. They are formula-following plotlines that are meant to be safe for a family audience. In many ways, they are hokey.
However, with superior acting performances, this production goes beyond the formula and will prove a success for the Hallmark Channel’s first effort in an original production.
Audiences will fall in love with Cedar Cove, a fictional coast community created by best-selling author Debbie Macomber. If it was in the Midwest, I’d compare it to Port Washington, a short drive to our north.
Golden Globe-winner Andie MacDowell stars as Judge Olivia Lockhart, who has the tact and ability to move up in the judicial ranks, but finds comfort among family and friends in her small community courtroom.
Actor Dylan Neal plays Jack Griffith, the main love interest for Lockhart. Neal seems to wear the character like a comfortable pair of shoes … which means he makes the ability of bringing a complex person come to life look easy. Griffith, the new editor of the "Cedar Cove Chronicle," is a recovering alcoholic and knows that this could be the last second chance at life that he gets.
Being a journalist that has worked in large and small markets makes me a little biased, as I can understand the difference in covering an ice cream social after cutting your teeth on police and court beats of a metro community.
Bruce Boxleitner and Barbara Niven play husband and wife, Bob and Peggy Beldon, owners of the local bed and breakfast, Thyme and Tide. They will have roles in the season’s shows as we get to know more about the lives of people in Cedar Cove.
If you are used to the drama roller coaster that "NCIS" or "Bones" or even "Grey’s Anatomy" creates, this show isn’t like that. There isn’t the death, or mystery to solve at such a sensational level. Yet, "Cedar Cove" has community mysteries and family drama that will keep you engaged and watching.
There’s a pretty intense couple of moments when MacDowell confronts actor Brennan Elliott, who portrays a wealthy developer who is engaged to Olivia’s daughter. The judge proclaims that she is a mom first, trying to protect her child. Yet, she may have used information gained by way of her new boyfriend and her office to get dirt on the man. I’m looking forward to how the storyline progresses through the episodes slated for Saturday evenings for the rest of the summer.
HOME THEATER: I’ll admit it, I’m a comic book fan. One of my geeky behaviors is getting the latest Blu-ray or DVD of a comic book movie when it comes out. As much as I enjoy going to the big screen, I enjoy watching the films and bonus features in my home theater.
That sounds way more impressive – home theater – when it is just my chair and TV set in the living room.
The folks at Marvel and Disney have announced that "Iron Man 3" will have an early debut of the HD Digital Copy and HD Digital Copy 3D on Sept. 3. For the 3D Super Set, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, Digital Copy and On Demand viewing, we will be waiting until Sept. 24.
Media is bombarding us everywhere.
Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.
The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.