Erin Krakow and the other beloved castmates on the Hallmark Channel’s “When Calls the Heart” have already wrapped the filming for Season 6 in Vancouver months ago, but that doesn't mean that anyone from Hope Valley is taking it easy. While fans are thrilled that less than two weeks remain until the Season 6 premiere of “When Calls the Heart” on February 24, the exuberant cast was busy recently at the Television Critics Association press tour. The junket involves everything from talking to network executives and local affiliates, pitching all the positive aspects of the show, to interviews and panel discussions on current television trends or other topics.

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In a room lights up when Erin Krakow enters, and when Pascale Hutton, Paul Greene, and more from the hit drama go along for the action, a good time is going to be had by all. Despite the long days, spirits seem to be soaring. By the looks of a picture shared by the actress on social media on February 11, no one had lost his or her sense of humor. The smiles were bright, and Erin takes the best silly face prize.

The star also had time to catch up with an old, familiar friend, and even in black and white, the smiles still glowed.

Joy overflowing

Erin Krakow’s character, Elizabeth Thornton, always finds the energy to help a student in a difficult situation, or summon forces together to render aid to her community, and Rosemary Coulter, played by Pascale Hutton, possesses a true gift for being the town cheerleader. The gifts of family, faith, and friends are omnipresent themes in “When Calls the Heart,” and it's abundantly clear from the actress’ playful photo that the cast feels equally close when the cameras stop rolling.

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No one can miss Erin’s wide-eyes and sideways tongue sticking out, good-naturedly hogging the shot with her characteristic buoyant spirit. Pascale is serenely smiling, simply beautiful amid the silliness, and Paul Greene, who portrays “When Calls the Heart’s” Dr. Carson Shepherd, is in the forefront, flashing a big smile. Lori Loughlin, who brings Mayor and mother Abigail Stanton to life on the drama, isn't seen in the candid camera shot, but a good friend, Candace Cameron Bure gives a wide-eyed pose of innocence. Hallmark stars are skilled in keeping the mood happy.

Another happy meeting

It’s always wonderful when old friends happen to make a get together extra special, and another post on social media from Erin Krakow is filled with radiant smiles. She and Daniel Lissing, who portrayed Mountie Jack Thornton through five seasons of “When Calls the Heart” are having their own heart-to-heart connection, probably recalling some fond memories and funny inside jokes that only they know.

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Executive producer, Brian Bird, reflected in a February 12 feature from Charisma that he was well aware of the “Wanted” posters plastered on social media for him following the death of Mountie Jack. In a podcast interview with Dr. Paul Greene, Bird insisted that the only fitting way for the character of Jack to leave was in death.

Above all, the character of Jack was forged in family tradition to serve and protect, and his devotion for Elizabeth was paramount. He would never simply go forth toward a new horizon or a new post, abandoning his newlywed bride, for whom he had waited so long. “When Calls the Heart” audiences would have “hated that outcome” according to the executive producer.

The letter that Jack left for Elizabeth after losing his life to save his men in training was the kind of gesture and keepsake that reflected his valiant heart and selfless love. He encouraged that she must find love again, and she has indeed found the deepest love created in loving and raising their infant son, whose birth was celebrated in “When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing.” Bird teased only that fans should “wait and see” what unfolds for Elizabeth in the way of a romantic future.

Brian Bird comes from a heritage of pastors, and his hope is that the fans understand that “these are real people,” who play the characters, and Daniel, who he still speaks with on a regular basis, had aspirations and dreams that he felt called to pursue.

Without being dogmatic and preachy, “When Calls the Heart” lifts every viewer with the confirmation that hope rises through every challenge in life. The “God moments” that arise in every episode are purposeful to the producer and have even sparked a series of devotional books based on the drama. Bird stressed that there has been a draught of family-friendly programming for the last 15 years, and he is thrilled that viewers find Hope Valley a wonderful place for a respite week to week.

Even through the longest days and the hardest times, a little fun doesn't hurt. Erin Krakow and the cast of “When Calls the Heart” can always find reasons to smile.