October 30, 2013

Hallmark’s ‘Countdown to Christmas’ begins

Posted in Between Us column, Entertainment, Movies, Television at 7:52 pm by dinaheng

The holiday movie season on the Hallmark Channel starts this weekend with the premiere of “The Thanksgiving House,” a romantic comedy starring Emily Rose as a Boston lawyer who inherits a Plymouth house that may be on the site of the original Turkey Day feast on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. Eastern.

When attorney Mary Ross (Rose) tries to save her childhood memories by keeping the house, she battles local historian Everett Mather (Justin Bruening), who is trying to prove the house’s historical significance. Their battle turns the place into an unexpected tourist attraction, and when legal mediation is needed, attorney Parker Mather (Bruce Boxleitner) steps in to help.Dinah Eng

“LIndsay Wagner and I play Everett’s parents,” says Boxleitner, a veteran actor known for his roles on TV shows like “Scarecrow and Mrs. King” and “Babylon 5” and the “Tron” movie franchise. “It’s all about the conflict over the house, when romance blossoms between the two young leads. My job is to look like I know what I’m saying as the lawyer who represents Everett. I also carve a mean turkey.”

Boxleitner says the Thanksgiving-themed movie is a good reminder to be grateful for what we have in a busy world where we often take so much for granted.

“There are a lot of places in the world where people haven’t eaten in a while,” he says. “Thanksgiving should be the most important holiday in our iPhone/iPad culture, which is   supposed to make lives easier, and doesn’t. People are the most important part of life, and Thanksgiving is a time for everyone to get together with loved ones and be thankful.”

Photo from "The Thanksgiving House." Copyright 2013 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Alexx Henry

Photo from “The Thanksgiving House.” Copyright 2013 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Alexx Henry

The actor, who also stars in Hallmark’s hit series “Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove,” (Saturday nights at 8 p.m. Eastern), plays a patriarchal character named Bob Beldon, a recovered alcoholic who runs the town’s B&B with his wife Peggy (Barbara Niven). The network’s first original scripted series, based on the best-selling author’s books about the residents of the picturesque town of Cedar Cove, Wash., has topped the rankings for non-sports cable shows on Saturday night.

“You don’t have many shows like ‘Cedar Cove’ on TV now,” Boxleitner says. “Instead, we have serial killers, vampires and zombies. ‘Cedar Cove’ is a little town with a big heart, where we talk a lot about life with people who are relatable. It’s a place where people are trying second chances.”

Boxleitner is working on another second act as co-creator and producer of a sci-fi project called “Lantern City” that he describes as “Game of Thrones” and “Boardwalk Empire” steam punk (www.lanterncitytv.com).

“We’re going to the fans first to bring a built-in fan convention base to the buyers,” he explains. “I’m trying to bring on the next ‘Babylon 5.’ Sci-fi used to have a bright, optimistic future that stemmed from the Kennedy era. Now, it’s darker. Shows reflect the times we’re in, and we’re not in that bright, optimistic time anymore.”

He says that’s why Hallmark’s programming is so appealing, bringing a more hopeful view of the world to audiences.

This year, the network’s annual “Countdown to Christmas” will feature 12 new movies about Christmas, a Walden Family Theater Original Movie, and holiday programming including The 125th Tournament of Roses Parade and holiday movie favorites from the past.

Following “The Thanksgiving House” will be Hallmark Channel original movie premieres of “Pete’s Christmas” (a Walden Family Theater film, November 8), “Snow Bride” (November 9), “A Very Merry Mix-Up” (November 10), and more.

For a complete schedule of movies and specials in the network’s “Countdown to Christmas,” check out http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/christmas/movies1.

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