When Calls the Heart has been a big hit for the Hallmark Channel, and has continued to go strong through cast changes and even more than a bit of legal controversy. But, the show is about to make a change that’s been a long time coming, because star Erin Krakow has just confirmed that the series will be adding some diversity in Season 8.
The Hearties love their (mostly) light, romantic drama dearly, and have helped the series stick around for an impressively long time. One thing that the historical show has always been light on, though, is diversity, but that’s beginning to change with the new season. Erin Krakow recently took to Instagram to introduce fans to some new characters who should help to broaden the scope of the show. Take a look!
Oooh. Well, look at that! We will soon be able to look forward to seeing an entire black family in Hope Valley. The Canfields are coming to town, and, from the details on the new characters that can be found at Entertainment Tonight, it does sound like fans are going to be treated to some good stories for the new family when they finally show up in Season 8.
As Krakow mentioned in her caption, we're looking at the four member of the Canfield family, which are comprised of mother Minnie (Natasha Burnett), father Joseph (Viv Leacock), 12-year-old daughter Angela (Vienna Leacock), and 9-year-old son Cooper (Elias Leacock). As you can likely tell by the names of the actors, three members of the Canfield clan will be played by Hallmark stalwart Viv Leacock (mostly known for his work on the Hailey Dean Mysteries series of films on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries) and two of his real-life children, Vienna and Elias.
Apparently, Joseph will try to buy the gas station in Hope Valley, while his wife, Minnie, will be concerned with her children, over whom she is very protective. This will be especially true for Angela, who happens to be an extremely talented pianist, but is also visually impaired. When the Canfields come to town and Angela becomes a student in Elizabeth’s class, Minnie won’t be immediately convinced that her daughter’s new teacher has her best interest at heart, particularly with regards to Angela’s education. Meanwhile, young Cooper will prove himself to be a terrific addition to the school and Elizabeth's class.
Hallmark movies and shows have never been the most diverse entertainment options that one can find on television. The massive number of original movies done by the network every year (even when we add in those dozens of Christmas films) rarely feature black, indigenous, or people of color in leading roles, and those who are cast are generally given very little to do. And, you'd be hard-pressed to find interracial couples or any LGBTQ characters. Hallmark got itself into quite a dust up late last year when those behind the network decided to pull a commercial off of the air which showed two women getting married.
Executives at the network were faced with a very public outcry after removing the commercial (which came after the outcry made by One Million Moms), and then reversed their decision and partnered with GLAAD so that they could show a commitment to representing the LGBTQ community going forward. In fact, it was just in August that the new movie Wedding Every Weekend aired, and not only did it show a lesbian couple getting married and kissing to seal the deal, but it also showed a black couple, a Jewish twosome and an interracial duo tying the knot.
Hopefully the addition of the Canfield family to When Calls the Heart is yet another true sign that Hallmark is serious about diversifying the casts of its projects in a significant way, and some of those Christmas movies can be a joyous occasion for many more types of people this year.