There are shows where your favourite characters might be brutally murdered at a wedding for no particular reason - and then there's Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove.
It's an enclave where longtime friends can watch snowflakes drift past a windowpane while trading love stories over piping hot cups of mulled cider.
Inspired by the series of novels penned by Macomber, the tiny northwest hamlet is a place where basketfuls of puppies are mysteriously left on doorsteps.
The show is largely filmed in North Vancouver, where producer Connie Dolphin shoulders the task of bringing Macomber's world to life.
"I was born in North Vancouver so I like returning," Dolphin says. "I think it's comfortable. It's like a really nice cashmere sweater," Dolphin says of the show's appeal. "You're learning about these people and there's not darkness and death and violence.. .. It's a really refreshing respite from everything else that's available for viewers nowadays."
In keeping with the author's Christian beliefs, Cedar Cove's residents never veer too deeply into the sensual or sexual.
"It's much more emotionally based," Dolphin says. Starring Andie MacDowell as Judge Olivia Lockhart, the show is something new for the Hallmark network, which tends to focus on talk shows, feel-good reality programs and re-runs. However, Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove blends well with the Hallmark esthetic, according to Dolphin "Things are gentler and more delicate and I think that Cedar Cove epitomizes a Hallmark show in the sense that it's beautifully shot. Nice sweet stories. There are bumps along the way. .. but it's a nice drive," she says.
A Vietnam war veteran commits suicide in one of Macomber's books, but that storyline was dropped for the show.
"That was too heavy for Hallmark," Macomber says, discussing the story change with the Seattle Times.
"The books, because there's so many of them, there's way more storylines and she has more depth, but really I think it comes down to relationships," Dolphin says. "It's relationships from a female's perspective whether it's with a mother, a daughter, a lover, an ex-husband or a husband, it's relationships of all sorts."
Dolphin is the show's on-the-ground producer, meaning it's her job to make sure Cedar Cove looks as good as it should look. While the director and actors are focused on the show currently filming, Dolphin meets with the editor to talk about last week's show and casts actors for next week's broadcast.
"Every day is different. That's why I like it," she says. "You have two responsibilities: your one responsibility is logistically to make sure that all the components and all of the spokes to the wheel all turn at the same time.. .. Your other responsibility is on the creative side to make sure that the quality is maintained, that the production value makes it to the screen and that you're true to the stories."
For Dolphin, the key to the new show's longevity is in unearthing new characters and finding new depth in the old ones.
"No different than The Beachcombers in its day," she says. "Each person has their own story. And so even if you just focus on one person, it's how their story interacts and intersects with other people."
Since first finding a readership for her brand of romantic restraint in 1988, Macomber has averaged approximately one novel or novella every two months for a quarter of a century.
She has sold more than 100 million books and been translated into nearly two-dozen languages.
The Cedar Cove series includes 15 titles dating back to 16 Lighthouse Road, which kicked off the collection in 2001.
The show airs Sundays on the W Network in Canada.
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