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Any Netflixers catch this?  It premiered I believe on 12/6 and I binged it over the weekend.  And I gotta say, I'm a big fan.  It's Hallmark series-ish, but with a lot more depth, MUCH better acting, and much darker elements.  Which I'm super into, as the Hallmark series usually just wind up being too sappy and boring for me.  This one actually acknowledges that, hey, sometimes the world ain't perfect, and that adults sometimes (*gasp*) get drunk and (*another gasp*) have premarital sex!  And they cuss!  And not everyone is an evangelical Christian!  And whoa, a main character is black!  And the main woman character has a career that she loves and is really good at!  And drugs, they're a thing!

The guy who plays Jack I think overacts a bit and he seems quite a bit older than Mel.  But I buy them together.  And speaking of Mel, I am loving her.  She's got some balls, which is nice to see in a romantic drama.  Usually those types of roles are very milquetoast.

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I have watched 4 episodes and have read 13 of the 20 book series by Robyn Carr.  I have liked the Netflix show so far, though some of the plot changes (from the books) have thrown me off a bit.  I know that's the way it goes though with adaptation from books to the screen.  I like casting for Jack and Mel and I think the actors are doing a good job with the characters.  I like the casting of the actor for Preacher, but Paige does not fit and the bakery truck either.  The actors for Doc and Hope work for me too.  So far, I'm enjoying watching and will finish the series and hope for a second season! 

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9 hours ago, eclectcmoi said:

So far, I'm enjoying watching and will finish the series and hope for a second season! 

With the way it ended, a second season is really needed. I expected this one to be more self-contained and probably open possible storylines for Paige and Preacher, and Joey and whoever for next season, while settling Jack and Mel. However, nothing, aside from Doc and Hope, I guess, gets any sort of resolution. 

Also, I really like Tim Matheson and Hope can be a pill, but it was disappointing to have only her apologizing at the end. There was the talk from the town busy body that Doc needed to show Hope he was sorry but I honestly never saw that. 

ETA: I'd love to hear about the changes from the book. From what I gathered by reading through some summaries 

Spoiler

Mel's husband died differently and there wasn't a still born. And the plot with Jack's ex being pregnant is actually from another book from the series, dealing with another couple? 

What's the deal with Brady, is he a book character? 

Edited by bijoux
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I was really hoping someone would start a thread on this series. I finished it this morning. The Official Netflix facebook page says they're almost finished filming the second season. So- GOOD! What am I going to do until the second season hits? Well, watch it again.

I'm a big fan of the series of books, and have listened to them twice. The tv series is both different and the same. I do see that a few plots have been combined. I definitely saw Paige as a teeny tiny woman. But I can get used to it. I really hope Muriel lands a storyline next season, because she is one of my favorites. 

Spoiler

There is a character named Brady in the books, but it isn't the same person we see here.

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I've read all the books (I think -- I may have missed one that the library didn't have) and am in the middle of the series. I'd have watched all of them by now, but life got in the way.

Some of the changes threw me at first, but so far I think I'm OK with them. I'm only on episode 6, though, so there might be some still coming that I won't like. So far the changes seem to be things that help introduce characters in a way that cuts out too much exposition.

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I read this entire series a few years ago, so I was really excited to watch it.  Some of the storyline changes were minor, but Jack getting Charmaine pregnant really ticked me off.  I also thought there was way too much of the Hope and Doc drama.

Overall, I liked it a lot.  The writing and meshing of characters was done much better than Chesapeake Shores on Hallmark.  I generally love Martin Henderson, especially on Grays Anatomy, but he looked kind of puffy in the face, and the scruff was a little much for me.  He needed to smile more.  So glad they got a Season 2.

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23 minutes ago, Jellybean13 said:

I also thought there was way too much of the Hope and Doc drama.

I think the real problem was that they just kept repeating the same beats. It was a merry go round of bickering and then Hope apologized in the 11th hour. 

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7 hours ago, Jellybean13 said:

I read this entire series a few years ago, so I was really excited to watch it.  Some of the storyline changes were minor, but Jack getting Charmaine pregnant really ticked me off.  I also thought there was way too much of the Hope and Doc drama.

Not sure if we need to do spoilers for things in the books. So just in case:

Spoiler

I think Jack getting Charmaine pregnant is them getting rid of the stupid Paul, Vanessa and his 'not my baby' storyline from the books. At least I hope that is the case. Then we can not have Vanessa, which I would be OKAY with. I want her dad, and am okay with her brother eventually coming on (if they do- not sure). But she annoyed me to no end! 

I actually enjoyed the Hope and Doc stuff because it was not predicted. That wasn't in the books, so I enjoyed it. Besides, I enjoyed them bickering at each other. And his total cluelessness. But he did apologize. I saw it a few times.

Spoiler

It took her betrayal of Jack's trust for her to get what it feels like when you apologize and the person doesn't accept it.

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13 hours ago, Jellybean13 said:

I read this entire series a few years ago, so I was really excited to watch it.  Some of the storyline changes were minor, but Jack getting Charmaine pregnant really ticked me off.  I also thought there was way too much of the Hope and Doc drama.

Overall, I liked it a lot.  The writing and meshing of characters was done much better than Chesapeake Shores on Hallmark.  I generally love Martin Henderson, especially on Grays Anatomy, but he looked kind of puffy in the face, and the scruff was a little much for me.  He needed to smile more.  So glad they got a Season 2.

Yes... the Jack/Charmaine baby plot really throws me exactly because its way too different from the books.  As well as Mel's pregnancy and baby loss with her first husband.  Not sure also if we should hide book spoilers so... 

Spoiler

The big deal in the books is that Mel never thought she could ever get pregnant and it was a big deal for her with being a midwife.  Then Jack's magical sperm changed all that.  And that was mentioned in many of the books... how she could never get pregnant before Jack.  Jack also talks about how careful he was not to ever get a woman pregnant.  And again... the magical conception with Mel and never another woman.  The Charmaine pregnancy blows this all out and lessens I think, Jack and Mel's bond. 

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eclectcmoi, that's a very interesting book spoiler re: 

Spoiler

Jack getting Mel pregnant with his magic sperm.

Though honestly that's something that you can kind of see coming in the show.  Whenever people in shows like this talk over and over about how they can't get pregnant, it usually means they're about to get pregnant.  According to Dr. Wikipedia, the complication she had in her pregnancy (placental abruption) doesn't appear to cause permanent infertility unless you get a hysterectomy (which she didn't because she did IVF afterwards), so I'm not sure where they got that from, but then again I'm about as far from a medical professional as you can get so I would have no idea.

I'm re-watching and the stuff with Chloe doesn't make a whole lot of sense.  The town doesn't want to call social services because...the town will raise her?  Because they "take care of their own"?  Um, that's not how the legal system works.

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2 minutes ago, dubstepford wife said:

I'm re-watching and the stuff with Chloe doesn't make a whole lot of sense.  The town doesn't want to call social services because...the town will raise her?  Because they "take care of their own"?  Um, that's not how the legal system works.

It makes more sense in the books (I think -- it's been a while since I read that one).

Spoiler

As I recall, in the book, Doc was pretty sure who the baby belonged to, and Lilly offered to take care of Chloe before they found out that she was the mother. It took longer to find out in the book.

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I binged watched the whole thing and it is abundantly clear that they are ripping off Hallmark. Several of the Hallmark stock company players appear along with every Canadian actor you have seen on the CBC.

It seems to be a fun series and I am not familar with the books so it is all new to me. I do think it does not have the essential “sweetness” of Hallmark so it is lacking. Why not get the real thing?

Edited by The Ringo Kidd
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7 minutes ago, The Ringo Kidd said:

I do think it does not have the essential “sweetness” of Hallmark so it is lacking. Why not get the real thing?

Respectfully disagree.  I wouldn't call Hallmark sweet, I'd call it saccharine.  Tooth-achingly so.  And Hallmark would NEVER include things like out-of-wedlock pregnancies or illegal drug camps or doing shots of Jim Beam with a man you just met, that's all way too much for their conservative evangelical Christian base.  

This is a good series for people who keep wishing Hallmark would actually include some adult themes and keep being disappointed.

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6 minutes ago, dubstepford wife said:

Respectfully disagree.  I wouldn't call Hallmark sweet, I'd call it saccharine.  Tooth-achingly so.  And Hallmark would NEVER include things like out-of-wedlock pregnancies or illegal drug camps or doing shots of Jim Beam with a man you just met, that's all way too much for their conservative evangelical Christian base.  

This is a good series for people who keep wishing Hallmark would actually include some adult themes and keep being disappointed.

I think we fundamentally agree. I love sugar and I don’t need any grit in my delicious pastry served up by the woman who moved back home to help on her families bakery and starts dating a fireman with a cat. 
 

This is simply a rip off of the Hallmark brand by a huge conglomerate.

This is a good series for people who need a little misery with their pastry.

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Well they do have a couple of prominent Hallmark actors in this show and they have been promoting a line of Christmas movies. There is a reason for that.

Netflicks is like Amazon. They want to strangle the competition in its crib.

Still and all this is a good show. They changed the formula by dirtying it up a little. 
 
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

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40 minutes ago, The Ringo Kidd said:

I think we fundamentally agree. I love sugar and I don’t need any grit in my delicious pastry served up by the woman who moved back home to help on her families bakery and starts dating a fireman with a cat. 
 

This is simply a rip off of the Hallmark brand by a huge conglomerate.

This is a good series for people who need a little misery with their pastry.

Misery...? No.  More in depth plots... Yes. 

Hallmark movies are simplistic and formulaic, all essentially the same - a couple meets, deals with simple conflict and then lives happily ever.  If that works for you, then great.  The Virgin River series and books are more complex and to me, interesting.  The stories and characters go on and interact with each other, which I happen to like.  There is definitely room for more than one type of show without having to be Hallmark cookie cutter exact or a ripoff. 

12 minutes ago, The Ringo Kidd said:

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Robyn Carr is a very successful writer, with many books published.  She wrote the first Virgin River book, on which the Virgin River series is based, in April 2007.  I don't think she was trying to imitate anyone.  

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I think you misunderstand my point. Virgin River seems like an interesting story and I bet the books are great.

I just can’t stand Netflicks.

You know they put out “The Irishman.” That’s two years of my life I will never ever get back!

Edited by The Ringo Kidd
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I unabashedly love the books so was nervous but excited to watch this. I really like it, though a few of the changes are odd. Mel is great, I've only seen the actress in This Is Us but I find her very likable. She captures the no-nonsense aspect of the character while still seeming warm. 

I'm married to a Kiwi, so I have a real soft spot for Martin Henderson. He's not exactly as I pictured Jack, but he brings across the sense that Jack is an inherently decent man that was so important in the book. I wish he could have kept his real lovely accent, but obviously it wouldn't make sense for the character.

Very cool to see the series come to life. 

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4 hours ago, The Ringo Kidd said:

Well they do have a couple of prominent Hallmark actors in this show and they have been promoting a line of Christmas movies. There is a reason for that.

The reason is that they film in Canada, as does Hallmark.  Netflix doesn't want to be Hallmark specifically; they want to be everything entertainment to everyone.  They want viewers to spend all their time on their site which is why they have sci fi series, crime series, documentaries, soap operas and now books based off of romance novels.  But they haven't sanitized their movies the way Hallmark has in the past few years. 

3 hours ago, SallyAlbright said:

Mel is great, I've only seen the actress in This Is Us but I find her very likable. She captures the no-nonsense aspect of the character while still seeming warm.

Yep. I really like her.

I don't like Jack as much.  I feel more drawn to the flashback scenes with her husband than I do to her current relationship.  I think a lot of it has to do with his relationship with Charmaine.  I don't know why they wrote him as dense as they did.  Even if they did start off as agreeing to be casual, two years is a long time to be casual and she wasn't hiding the fact that she was developing stronger feelings for him.  So his assertion to Mel that Charmaine knew where things stood made me wonder if he was just plain old dumb. Then he did the thing that irritates me the most in relationships.  When Charmaine chose to break off communication with him when she realized they weren't in the same place, he tracked her down.  When she asked him to clarify how he felt, he hemmed and hawed.  So once again, she had to break up with him--again, even though it's not what she wanted.  He couldn't act like an adult and allow her to not respond to him or end things once he realized they weren't on the same page any longer. 

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@Irlandesa, I get and agree with all your points on Jack, yet I mostly like him due to Henderson. He really sells the completely bowled over by Mel aspect to me. So I'd say the weaknesses lie in the writing with regards to him, but there are some great things in that regard as well. Like the way he genuinely comforted Mel, telling her things would work out with her husband, regardless of his feelings. Hers mattered more then.

He's a really minor character, but the kid helping out at the bar is very endearing and I want good things for him. 

One thing I wasn't wild about were the flashbacks. The device just grew tedious. Probably because they used them for both Mel and Jack. I hope they don't amp them up next season, even though Paige seems like prime candidate for them. 

Regarding the books, man, Carr is really prolific. It took me a while just to through the summaries of the series. Does this town become a booming economy by the series' end? So many people relocate there! I sttaight up laughed when I read one of the characters in later books is named Luca Brazzi. Good thing for the slightly different name, he could have easily been sleeping with the fishes. 

Another thing aside from being prolific, is that Carr is surprising. 

Spoiler

I completely expected that Joey would be getting a book from seeing the show. And the fact that Jack has five sisters seemed typical laying of groundwork for this type of series. Instead, it's a niece of his that gets a story in like book 20.

The material is really ripe and ready for the picking, Netflix could use it for years if it wanted to. Great pick on their part. They can wrap up the story relatively early on if they want to, but also extend it for ages if it looks profitable. 

Edited by bijoux
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I watched and thought there were parts that were pretty slow and other parts were overly dramatic, but I eventually got sucked into it.  Love the scenery. I did think it was kind of crazy that Paige was shown dying her son's hair, yet she has not changed HER appearance at all (if we are going by the driver's license picture shown). Seems odd not to make some change to her own appearance, if she is on the run.

And I had to laugh at how the dumpy, run down cabin was completely transformed inside and out. The furnishings and everything looked fabulous. Lol. Seemed pretty incredible that it all was done while the guys were not working their jobs at the bar and that new furniture, bedding, porch furniture and everything else under the sun magically appeared.

It was too much high drama for me though, between the baby and the husband dying. So much for one person to handle. Just my opinion. Was overkill.

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Love this series and the casting.  I agree that Jack really shows the "bowled over by Mel" feelings.  If you find a man who looks at you like that, well... !   The cabin re-do (compared with the book of years ago) certainly had an HGTV influence - not very plausible but I still loved it.   It showed how much he cared to provide her with a place to heal.  But Charmaine - am I remembering from reading years ago that she was not a cute, young thing?  She was older than him - so the change in plot line has thrown me.

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I watched it on Netflix last week.  I did enjoy most of it.  I really don't think the Paige character fit--perhaps it was the actress playing the part--not really certain.   Love the guy playing the Doc.  He was great in Hart of Dixie.  

I don't compare it to Hallmark at all, where all the stars are stunningly handsome/beautiful.

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5 hours ago, monhuhi said:

In the books does Mel's character follow or only appear in the first one?

Spoiler

She appears in most of them (I think), although she is not always a main character. That's the thing I like about the books. The previous main characters mostly appear in later books as well interacting with the new main characters.

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watching now,  it's really good but did not read the whole b/c of spoilers.

Have read some Robyn Carr books and they were good, and this is a genre that I enjoy reading in general 

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I like Alexandra Breckenridge, but I'm so-so on this. It's one of those that I've been putting on, on my phone, as I try to go to sleep, or when I was cooking something yesterday. I'm not big on hallmark anymore, and it reminds me of Hart of Dixie, which I preferred. 

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I’m nearly through this and I really am enjoying it. It gives me hallmark vibes from like 10 years ago when they weren’t just pumping out fifty bajillion half assed, soulless schlock. Basically what I want hallmark to be, in series form. 
 

And reading the thread, I realized why it seems vagualey familiar (in a good way). I now remember reading a few of the books. 
 

It gives me the warm and fuzzies yet also depth and real, adult interactions. Y’know, when you kinda cringe, bracing yourself for some terrible, trite, unhealthy (or downright toxic) reactions but then you’re pleasantly surprised by the mature response? And it actually works. It moves the story, or character development, or drama without pandering to it. Yeah. I like it. 

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On 12/10/2019 at 2:53 AM, bijoux said:

With the way it ended, a second season is really needed. I expected this one to be more self-contained and probably open possible storylines for Paige and Preacher, and Joey and whoever for next season, while settling Jack and Mel. However, nothing, aside from Doc and Hope, I guess, gets any sort of resolution. 

  Reveal spoiler

Mel's husband died differently and there wasn't a still born. And the plot with Jack's ex being pregnant is actually from another book from the series, dealing with another couple? 

What's the deal with Brady, is he a book character? 

I agree. (And not having finished this yet) it would make for a nice break from having to keep throwing increasingly ridiculous obstacles/situations at a couple once they get together, a la every single show that focuses on the love story of a couple then gets dumb once they get together. 

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I liked the show once I got past thinking it was just Hart of Dixie in a different location. There were times when it seemed like there were too many things going on at once and I think Mel's backstory didn't need to be so tragic but there were definitely enough positives to get past those few critiques.

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Mr Bird and I finished watching we loved it, nice blend of drama that keeps you wondering, what's going to happen, romance -not too mushy for me, mushy enough for him, good acting

can't stand Hallmark

eager for 2nd season of this one

the only thing I think could have been toned down was Hope, but perhaps she was comic relief?

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7 hours ago, hummingbird said:

the only thing I think could have been toned down was Hope, but perhaps she was comic relief?

I liked her character.   Pleasantly surprised that she isn't drop dead gorgeous like so many TV characters nowadays.  

It is somewhat like Hart of Dixie.  But without Lemon.

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1 hour ago, parrotfeathers said:

I liked her character.   Pleasantly surprised that she isn't drop dead gorgeous like so many TV characters nowadays.  

It is somewhat like Hart of Dixie.  But without Lemon.

I liked the character too but thought it was just a bit too silly with all the meddling after  awhile KWIM 

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14 hours ago, hummingbird said:

I liked the character too but thought it was just a bit too silly with all the meddling after  awhile KWIM 

Oh absolutely.  I don't know anyone who has that kind of time on her hands!

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20 minutes ago, parrotfeathers said:

Oh absolutely.  I don't know anyone who has that kind of time on her hands!

obviously no internet in Virgin River 😉

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3 hours ago, hummingbird said:

obviously no internet in Virgin River 😉

Or any real mayoral tasks aside from duping people to come work and live in town. 

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20 hours ago, hummingbird said:

I liked the character too but thought it was just a bit too silly with all the meddling after  awhile KWIM 

Yes, the relationship between Charmaine and Jack was none of her business. Just because she likes the new nurse that she hired, Jack likes her, too, and Hope doesn't like Charmaine (was that her name? I haven't finished the show). 

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On 12/18/2019 at 7:08 AM, hummingbird said:

obviously no internet in Virgin River 😉

Which does lead one to wonder how Preacher used it to locate Paige? 'Tis a puzzlement.

 

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On 12/9/2019 at 1:25 PM, dubstepford wife said:

Any Netflixers catch this?  It premiered I believe on 12/6 and I binged it over the weekend.  And I gotta say, I'm a big fan.  It's Hallmark series-ish, but with a lot more depth, MUCH better acting, and much darker elements.  Which I'm super into, as the Hallmark series usually just wind up being too sappy and boring for me.  This one actually acknowledges that, hey, sometimes the world ain't perfect, and that adults sometimes (*gasp*) get drunk and (*another gasp*) have premarital sex!  And they cuss!  And not everyone is an evangelical Christian!  And whoa, a main character is black!  And the main woman character has a career that she loves and is really good at!  And drugs, they're a thing!

The guy who plays Jack I think overacts a bit and he seems quite a bit older than Mel.  But I buy them together.  And speaking of Mel, I am loving her.  She's got some balls, which is nice to see in a romantic drama.  Usually those types of roles are very milquetoast.

Jack is 45 in real life and Mel is 37...not what I’d call unheard of but ok.

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I loved the first season and can’t wait to see number two! A few major things threw me for a loop like Mels pregnancy... and I agree with previous posters that it lessens her and Jacks bond. I also hate that Charmaine is pregnant!!

I'm just reading the novels in order and see a discrepancy. In Whispering Rock, Vanessa delivers her baby. In a Virgin River Christmas she comes to the cookie exchange still pregnant. Did I miss something? Is it meant to be read before Whispering Rock?

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I read the first, oh, seven I think, Virgin River books.  The series lost me a bit over time because RC can become a  bit of a 'the more you know' writer with her little messages she splices into the books esp. about teenagers and life choices etc.

Anyhoo, I LOVED the first two books the most.  I read them in 2008.   sI was very curious about how Netflix adapt it considering at the time the books were written marijuana was not legal in CA and it is now.

Book Spoiler:

Spoiler

Marijuana being illegal a big subplot in the first book.  Especially with the sketchy grower guy coming to basically kidnap Mel and take her to the illegal grower camps to take care of a pregnant girl.

I am only on about episode 5 I think.  I think they got the vibe of the first book correct.  Martin Henderson is actually a good cast for Jack.  As is the actress cast for Mel.  But I hate the inclusion of the Charmaine character. 

Book Spoiler:

Spoiler

There is no other woman for Jack.  He is ALL about Mel in the books.  Including Charmaine character kinda sours the relationship for me because in the books Jack is a real stand up guy.  He is one of my book boyfriends and this taints him for me.

I like Doc and Hope.  And I really like Preacher.  Jury is out on Paige right now. They also changed her from the books.  I loved her origin story in the books so I am kinda reserving judgement til I see what they do with her.

Regards Hallmark comparisons:  I don't see it at all.  I see Hallmark name checked any time there is a romance type show on tv.  The only reason that even comes up because it is very rare for tv to adapt romance novels.  And Hallmark basically took  the concept of the most basic romance formula and reworked it for their use.  They aren't adapting original works, they are xeroxing stale formulas and pumping them out over and over again. 

As someone upthread mentions, The Virgin River series is deeper and edgier than anything Hallmark will ever produce.  It delves into some serious social issues.  And this series is on the 'sweeter' end of the spectrum in the genre.  Actually these days, Hallmark wouldn't touch 90% of what is being written in the romance genre.   The first Virgin River book was published in 2007 the romance genre has evolved a lot even since then.

 

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Ok guys im having a hard time buying that Charmaine is really pregnant. She said that its been a couple weeks? If so, why was she just in the bar drinking her white Zinfandel? 

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I LOVE the book series, even when it gets cheesy. I have read most of what RCarr writes though. She has another series about a family that is raised by unconventional parents and the dad has mental issues. That one would be perfect for TV optioning. 

I watched the series but I don't know if I can continue. The Charmaine change is utterly ridiculous when you compare it to the book. 

Spoiler

Jack ends his very casual thing with Charmaine as soon as he realizes how he feels about Mel. Charmaine then shows up in Virgin River because she can't let it go. Changing that and making Jack seem so stupid and indecisive with the back and forth and chasing after her is ridiculous. Additionally, the entire thing about Mel and her not realizing she was pregnant is because she was absolutely sure she could not become pregnant without assistance. Changing that to her having a stillborn baby and still not utilizing safe sex methods with Jack at her age and considering her occupation...It will fundamentally change the story. Especially if they continue on and add in her 2nd pregnancy. She very much considers the first baby (David? I think) to be a miracle baby. 

 

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On 12/30/2019 at 1:50 AM, MommaT said:

Ok guys im having a hard time buying that Charmaine is really pregnant. She said that its been a couple weeks? If so, why was she just in the bar drinking her white Zinfandel? 

I hope you are right.

@Tasya, after their baby was stillborn, didn't Mel and her husband have some kind of fertility issue? Weren't they arguing about IVF and surrogates in the car? I thought perhaps the birth caused some kind of issue that would prevent her from having more children.

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