Fresh off the Futon Critic, both Teen Wolf‘s Daniel Sharman and Arrow‘s Stephen Amell are listed as stars in the Hallmark channel’s upcoming world premiere movie When Calls the Heart. The 2-hour film, which airs October 5 at 9pm Eastern time, will serve as the vehicle to launch Hallmark’s second primetime series, starting with 10 episodes in January 2014.
Not only is this the channel’s second primetime series, it’s the second series based on Janette Oke’s works. The award-winning author’s Love Comes Softly books were adapted into eleven television movies, the first of which aired in 2003 and starred Katherine Heigl. It makes sense, then, that such a successful endeavor would spur the network to adapt more of Oke’s books.
When Calls the Heart is based on Oke’s best-selling Canadian West series, and in addition to Amell and Sharman also stars three-time Emmy winner Jean Smart (Designing Women), Lori Loughlin (90210), Maggie Grace (Taken 2), and Poppy Drayton.
“When Calls the Heart” is the story of Elizabeth Thatcher (Drayton), a young teacher accustomed to her high society life, who receives her first classroom post in a prairie town in the Western Frontier lead by headstrong coalminer widows Abigail (Loughlin) and Frances (Smart). She is determined to prove to her family that she is brave enough to live on her own, but struggles with her own fears and doubts. When she discovers her late Aunt Elizabeth’s (Grace) secret diary, Elizabeth learns she was a pioneer woman herself, a teacher in the frontier who struggled with prairie life and fell in love with a Royal Canadian Mountie (Amell). Inspired by her aunt’s hopeful words and unfaltering determination, Elizabeth decides to embark on her own adventure, using the diary as her guide and family friend Edward, another Mountie (Sharman), as her support.
The period drama is a drastic departure from both actors’ current projects. In fact, it can’t get much different. Sharman’s role as werewolf Isaac on Teen Wolf (returning to televisions everywhere June 3) was just promoted to series regular, and Amell doles out vigilante justice as the Green Arrow on Arrow (next episode, “Salvation”, airs March 27). Personally, I’m not going to argue with anything that might put these boys in cowboy hats and sitting on top of a horse.