There was a flurry of “When Calls the Heart” news from the Television Critics Association’s press tour event last week, and most of it was wonderful for fans of the Hallmark Channel drama that has cultivated millions of viewers over the past five seasons. There can never be too much heart or too much hope for the true Heartie fan, and news came last week that fans will have a double helping of hope next year with the premiere of “When Hope Calls [VIDEO].” The spinoff series from “When Calls the Heart” will be offered through Hallmark Movies Now, the network’s subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) option. There will certainly be a plethora of opportunities for the long-time residents of Hope Valley to make themselves at home with new surroundings and friends.

On another front, fans already know that some new, handsome arrivals are headed for the Northwest Territory. Kevin McGarry will portray Nathan Grant, the newly-assigned Mountie sent to serve the close-knit community. While his character falls in line with the quiet and dutiful type, Chris McNally carries a past in character saloon owner Lucas Bouchard. After the heartwrenching loss at the close of Season 5, the people committed to Hope Valley are due for a brighter turnaround, especially with a baby to welcome. Cast favorites, Lori Loughlin and Jack Wagner, sat down with Entertainment Tonight during the TCA festivities, as reported by Click2Houston on August 2. The veteran stars would never spill too many details about the newcomers to the cast, or exactly what awaits expectant mother, Elizabeth Thornton (Erin Krakow), through Season 6, but a new love is a definite possibility on the horizon.

Following the letter

Part of the moving epilogue to Season 5 was Jack's letter to Elizabeth, one that he hoped she would never have to read. His words extolled their love together, but also admonished that she should “find love again.” Lori Loughlin, who plays Elizabeth’s closest friend, Mayor Abigail Stanton, on the drama, stresses that obedience to her departed husband doesn't need to be the only reason for Elizabeth to love again. “Elizabeth is such a young woman,” says Loughlin, that every viewer should hope “she would find love again.”

After Daniel Lissing’s personal decision to leave the series as Mountie Jack, the entire cast, production staff, and crew were involved in handling the shock in very sensitive ways and giving fans and the characters the kind of celebration and closure that they deserved. In a similar way, Loughlin assures that there will be no rush to a relationship for Elizabeth. “We won't force anything, or push anything,” insists the actress, who is also an executive producer of the show, “but romance down the line is definitely in the picture for her.”

Lori Loughlin has faith in “When Calls the Heart” fans, too.

She affirms that “I think they are gonna like this new season and I think they are gonna like these new characters.” A major theme throughout the “When Calls the Heart” TV adaptation is finding strength and blessing through adversity, and drawing on the strength of others. Lori Loughlin would agree, reiterating that the saga is not just about a love story, but also “a story of moving on and moving forward and life goes on.”

Jack Wagner portrays Bill Avery, one of the closest friends of Elizabeth Thornton’s departed husband. He also sees love in her future but feels that “she's gonna be very careful” regarding any new relationship, knowing that every eye in Hope Valley will be on any new person who enters her life and deeply considering the impact on her child. With a touch of teasing from his daytime drama training, Wagner tosses in that “there's new blood in town, and I'm not talking women,” referring to the new arrivals in the cast. He urges that fans should not be despondent in any way looking to the new season, because ultimately, the sudden departure of Lissing could lead to new and exciting directions on “When Calls the Heart.”

Erin Kraków hasn't shared any Season 6 details - she's probably too busy shooting scenes. She has managed to give a fun tease of her own to Lori Loughlin and her daughters about picky food preferences on social media.

Love rising from the loss

Author Janette Oke permeates her writing with a sense of hope and promise rising from a deep loss. The long-running family-friendly drama is based on her “Canadian West” series of books, and cannot capture the full scope of characters and storylines in single, hour-long episodes. Trials besieged Elizabeth Thornton before she ever took her teaching position, but her struggles forged deep friendships and strength that led to not just her calling but to great love.

In the “Love Comes Softly” book series which also became mammoth television successes for Hallmark, Michael Landon Jr., and Brian Bird, Janette Oke also created characters who found the deepest love after tragic loss, as in the characters of Clark and Marty Davis, and their children, through generations. Love, faith, and hope can prevail, and those constant gifts are destined to be multiplied, in many forms, for the future of “When Calls the Heart.”