devotees looking for a new show to fill the hole Y good witch you will find it in The way home, the network’s new primetime series. This multigenerational saga about three women who must come to terms with their family’s painful past offers a moving narrative twisted in time. It opens on January 15.
A newly separated mother returns to her hometown in the new Hallmark series
combines familiar Hallmark tropes with a dash of the supernatural. Kat (Chyler Leigh) has recently separated from her husband and has just lost her job as a journalist. Her teenage daughter Alice (Sadie Laflamme-Snow) is misbehaving and has been kicked out of her private high school in Minneapolis. When a letter from Del (Andie MacDowell), her estranged mother, arrives unexpectedly, Kat takes the olive branch she would otherwise have rejected. She and Alice pack up the car and head back to Kat’s hometown of Port Haven, Canada.
Kat is looking for sanctuary, but it’s unclear if she’ll find it in the quaint fishing village where she grew up. (Like all Hallmark towns, Port Haven oozes with postcard-perfect charm.) Her return forces both Kat and a cantankerous and distant Del to confront a decades-long family tragedy that has led to an estrangement between mother and daughter. Meanwhile, Alice tries to get over her parents’ divorce and adjust to her new life in Port Haven. Things get even more complicated when she discovers that a pond near her grandmother’s farm allows her to travel back in time to 1999, just before a painful loss forever changed the Landry family.
Andie MacDowell shines in ‘The Way Home’
MacDowell, who also starred in– brings the perfect blend of home warmth and no-nonsense attitude to Del. She’s spent years learning to accept unbearable loss, but her grief is still raw and palpable. Leigh is believable as a overwhelmed woman caught between trying to reconcile with her mother and raising her rebellious daughter. And Laflamme-Snow delivers a healthy dose of snobby teen attitude that her character unfurls like a mask to hide her most sensitive core.
The three Landry women are at the center of The way home, but the show leaves room for some intriguing supporting characters. They include Al Mukadam as Kat’s ex-Brady (who, refreshingly, isn’t depicted as a villain) and Elliott (Evan Williams), a science teacher at Alice’s new high school with a connection to Kat’s past. This is a darker show than some Hallmark fans may expect, though flashes of humor balance out the more serious moments. Unfortunately, some of the attempts at comedy land awkwardly, notably an embarrassing joke involving Alice and Elliott. (We can’t say more without giving away spoilers.)
Time Travel Twist Makes ‘The Way Home’ Feel Fresh
Hallmark could have easily made a version of The way home without the time travel twist, using flashbacks and other devices to unpack the traumatic past of the Landy women. But the period-hopping episodes give the show some freedom to experiment (and indulge in some late ’90s nostalgia). anyone who has seenknows the potential of a story involving a teenager meeting a younger version of his parents, and The way home use that premise to good effect.
Those looking for iron-clad time travel logic won’t find it in The way home. Neither Alice nor the audience know exactly how the portal to the pond works, although the show’s opening sequence indicates that the Landry women have been using it for centuries. Based on the first four episodes that were made available for review, it looks like the rules that govern it will become clearer as the show progresses. The key is that Alice’s time travel begins to allow her to better understand the tense history of her mother and her grandmother, and perhaps help all three women take their first steps toward healing. That story of a family grappling with the messy reality of life after a devastating loss is the kind of drama that will keep viewers tuned in.
The way home premieres Sunday, January 15 at 9 pm ET on the Hallmark Channel.
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