When Calls The Heart doesn't exactly set the pond on fire, but it's very wholesome, which isn't a bad thing. And it did elicit some laughs- well, snickers- when Lori Loughlin's character (Abigail) was righteously taking the corrupt mayor to task for his bribery scandal. She was written out of the show off screen- so she could deal with her own bribery scandal- by having Elizabeth (the main character) write in her journal that Abigail had to move back east to care for her sick mother. A lot of the characters are pretty bland- especially the school kids- but again, that's not the end of the world. What really grated on my nerves was the complete jettisoning of any pretence of historical accuracy or even reality.
Doubtless if the plot lines and characters were more interesting, I'd be more apt to overlook all of the needless flaws, but generally the plots are obvious and predictable. While this can no doubt be comforting- like woolly pyjamas- it leaves lots of time to pick the show apart if one is so inclined... which I admittedly was. When Calls The Heart is exactly what it aims to be: visual comfort food, undemanding escapism and complete fantasy. It's not my cup of tea but, despite my carping, I can see how it would be for lots of people just looking for something to watch while unwinding. Certainly my sisters enjoyed it, and it's definitely a step or two up from Hallmark movies.