Hallmark Channel drama series begins its eighth season
Hallmark Channel has given Erin Krakow other opportunities as well, but it has furnished her with a steady television home in “When Calls the Heart.”
The popular early-1900s drama based on Janette Oke’s books starts its eighth season Sunday, Feb. 21. Among its continuing stories, Krakow’s widowed Hope Valley teacher Elizabeth Thatcher Thornton is caught between two suitors, Canadian Mountie Nathan (Kevin McGarry) and businessman Lucas (Chris McNally).
“I’ve been asked if I ever get bored playing the same character, and I don’t,” the pleasant Krakow says. “We have had such incredible writers over the years, they have given me great gifts in new stories to tell through Elizabeth’s experiences. It feels like every season, there’s really something new and exciting for me to sink my teeth into as an artist.”
Krakow admits she didn’t know the Oke books when she was cast for “When Calls the Heart,” but she adds, “I went in and did my research. We’re so lucky to have these books as inspirations for the show. Janette Oke has created such an incredible legacy through her writing. We get comments from people all the time that they love the books and love the show, but they’re not the same. No, they aren’t. The show isn’t necessarily a direct translation of the books.”
Having also starred in Hallmark Channel movies (“Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen,” “A Summer Romance,” etc.), Krakow will see her latest one debut Saturday, Feb. 27: “It Was Always You” casts her as an engaged woman — also named Elizabeth — whose intended groom’s brother (Tyler Hynes) causes her to reconsider her marital plans. “It’s one of my favorite Hallmark scripts I’ve read,” Krakow attests. “I’m very excited to share this one.”
Though she also has worked on such shows as “NCIS” and “Army Wives,” Krakow knows what it means to reach an eighth season with her own series. “Whenever you sign up for a show, there are no guarantees,” she notes, “and you’re lucky if you love the experience. And you’re luckier if you love the experience and you get to keep doing it. I’m still having a fantastic time this many years later, and I just feel very grateful that we get to tell these stories.”
Someone who used to do that was co-star Lori Loughlin, whose “When Calls the Heart” scenes were excised over her college-admissions-scandal involvement. “All I have to say about that is that she will always have my love and support,” Krakow states. “I will never be far from her or her life, and as far as I’m concerned, I would welcome her back with open arms. Hopefully someday, we can make that a reality.”