The Hallmark Channel

Essays on Faith, Race and Feminism


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About the Book

Originally known as a brand for greeting cards, Hallmark has seen a surge in popularity since the early 2010s for its made-for-TV movies and television channels: the Hallmark Channel and its spinoffs, Hallmark Movie Channel (now Hallmark Movies & Mysteries) and Hallmark Drama. Hallmark’s brand of comforting, often sentimental content includes standalone movies, period and contemporary television series, and mystery film series that center on strong, intuitive female leads. By creating reliable and consistent content, Hallmark offers people a calming retreat from the real world.
This collection of new essays strives to fill the void in academic attention surrounding Hallmark. From the plethora of Christmas movies that are released each year to the successful faith-based scripted programming and popular cozy mysteries that air every week, there is a wealth of material to be explored. Specifically, this book explores the network’s problematic relationship with race, the dominance of Christianity and heteronormativity, the significance placed on nostalgia, and the hiring and re-hiring of a group of women who thrived as child stars.

About the Author(s)

Emily L. Newman is associate professor of art history at Texas A&M University–Commerce, specializing in contemporary art, popular culture, and gender studies. She lives in McKinney, Texas.

Emily Witsell is research librarian and coordinator of reference and instruction at Wofford College. She lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Emily L. Newman and Emily Witsell

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 211
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7810-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3955-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction (Emily L. Newman and Emily Witsell) 1

The Search for the Nostalgic and Inoffensive “Embrace the Community”: Hallmark Channel Movies and Childhood Nostalgia (Lisa Tyler) 17
Popular Feminism and Female Television Stardom in Hallmark Original ­Made-for-Television Movies (Jessica Ford) 32
Faith and Religion v. Secular Morality: The Sanitization of Evangelical Christian Messaging on the Hallmark Channel (Lisa Beckelhimer) 50
Rags to Riches to Murder: Transforming the Cozy Mystery Through Class and Violence in the Garage Sale Mystery Films (Mitch Ploskonka and Justin Wigard) 67
Hallmark’s Trouble with Race (Scenery, Sass, Sidekicks and Sorcery: Hallmark’s Tired) Caricatures of Blackness (Courtney L. Novosat) 89
The “White” Christmas Problem: Analyzing Representations of Race in Hallmark Holiday Films (Joe Lipsett and Brenna Clarke Gray) 105
Too White, Too Heterosexual, Too Christian but Still Watching: A Critical Analysis of Social Media Posts Surrounding Hallmark’s Christmas Programming (Andi McClanahan) 122
Television Programming Driven by Women Characters Hygge and Halloween Spirit in Hallmark’s Good Witch (Sharon L. Pajka) 145
Mothering: A Woman’s Calling and Duty on When Calls the Heart (Jessica Schreyer) 159
Cedar Cove and the Spaces of Hallmark (Billy Stevenson) 174

About the Contributors 189
Bibliography 191
Index 197