Former fans of Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart have been posting scathing reviews on the show’s IMDb page. They call themselves “Departies,” a play on “Hearties,” the nickname fans of the show have given themselves.
The reviews they write critique everything from the costumes and hairstyles to the writing and story lines, but many follow the same vein: the show has strayed too far from the original formula.
“Was an amazing show for 8 seasons and then the fans had the rugs pulled out from under them,” one former Heartie wrote. “Started out as a family friendly show and turned into a soap opera with a divided fan base and poor writing. Watched from the beginning, but now no more. Makes me sad, because it used to be great.”
The reviews have become so common that one of the show’s co-creators, Brian Bird, took to social media to ask fans to post their own positive reviews on IMDb to counteract the complaints.
“Any #Hearties can leave their positive reviews, too, if they want to take the time to do it,” he wrote. “That’s probably the only way for light to overcome the darkness on pages that allow reviews.”
Some of the complaints about When Calls the Heart have to do with the love triangle that ended during the Season 8 finale. Some Hearties thought Elizabeth Thornton (Erin Krakow) made the wrong choice when she picked businessman Lucas Bouchard (Chris McNally) over Nathan Grant (Kevin McGarry).
“It feels like she went for the rich guy rather than the true guy,” one former fan wrote. I won’t be watching any more.”
Others said the writing on the show has suffered in later seasons.
“I have watched When Calls the Heart from Day 1, now I will never watch again,” wrote another Departie. “From a beautifully written series to a show that no longer resembles its earlier stories. The last season was a total dumpster fire.”
Others said they couldn’t watch the show because of the costumes and hairstyles.
“Fake looking wigs, overdone makeup, and everyone wearing new designer clothes,” one wrote. “Ah yes, that’s what comes to mind when you think of pioneers in the great northwest, right?”
There were many positive reviews left on the IMDb site as well, praising the series for being faith-based and family-friendly. One Heartie even called the show helpful for anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one.
“If you have ever lost a loved one, watch this,” the fan wrote. “There is something so comforting about the show that makes you feel like it’s all going to be okay. I really feel like the show understands the tragedy of loss while life moves on.”
Season 9, Episode 3 of When Calls the Heart will air on Hallmark Channel on Sunday, March 20 at 8/7c.