If you have Netflix, or live in Canada, you probably know about Heartland. I didn’t until recently. To my mind, it’s the perfect show.
First, the theme song, “Dreamer” by Jenn Grant. A simple guitar riff is joined by a cello, then attains a hypnotic, almost ancient Celtic quality. The music and visuals set the mood; Western Rockies, horses, the cast, more horses, more scenery. A crash of cymbals, and then on to the show.
Heartland used to be a cattle ranch, we are told. But Jack, the owner, is getting along in years, and now it’s a place to train and heal horses. His granddaughter Amy handles this chore, assisted by her older sister Lou. Amy and Lou’s parents divorced many years before, so Jack helped raise them.
Marion, the girls’ mom, dies in the first episode. Ty, a young man who Marion hired, shows up after the tragedy and helps Amy with her horse work. It’s the start of a very long term relationship.
Lou had left the nest in recent years, to get her MBA and work in New York City. She comes back to Heartland though and decides to stay; untangling years of finances and turning the ranch into a revenue producer. She even builds a dude ranch on the property, much to Jack’s dismay.
A tween neighbor girl, Mallory, provides the comic relief. She practically lives at the ranch and adopts one of the horses, named Copper. She will happily point out the elephant in any room and blurt out what everyone is thinking. “Mallory!” someone will inevitably say.
Each episode is horse related. Everything you can do with a horse is covered here. All of their problems are tended to by Amy, sometimes called the Miracle Girl. With both comedic and dramatic touches, problems are solved, lives improved, work continues.
As a famous movie tagline once said, a lot can happen in the middle of nowhere.
But what about Amy and Lou’s dad? After a ten year disappearance, Tim re-enters their lives and starts the long, painful process of reconciliation.
There are other characters. Amy’s best friend Soraya works at Maggie’s Diner, a hangout for the entire town of Hudson, Alberta. And there has to be a blonde mean girl; her name is Ashley. (She becomes nicer over time.) Scott is the local veterinarian who once dated Lou. Jack finds love with a horsey woman named Lisa. Will they ride into the sunset?
Every character is just right, and all form an ideal ensemble.
You gotta see this show. For me, it’s completely relaxing. I want to live in this world, not on a farm or ranch exactly, but just….there. The idea of it is appealing.
The best part is, here in my living room, all I have to do is watch. I don’t have to feed and water, perform the night check, or clean up the horse sh…er, manure. Perfect.