Hallmark Original Series Ranked From Worst To Best

While Hallmark isn't really known to be the pinnacle of modern cinema, many people who watch the channel do so for a compelling reason: it's just so darn comforting. Hallmark is renowned for its wonderfully corny seasonal movies, but the channel also has some original series that are just as good as the Hallmark classics. Something about the wholesome characters, idyllic scenery, and predictable storylines is just *chef's kiss.*

One of the best things about the channel is you know what you're getting yourself into — good-natured entertainment that can be so cliché at times that it makes you laugh. No one expects a Hallmark movie or TV show to be life-changing –- who needs highbrow cinema when instead you can be transported into a Hallmark reality where nothing that bad ever happens and there is always a happy ending? Nevertheless, some Hallmark original TV series are better than others.

11. Mystery Woman

The Hallmark film series "Mystery Woman," which ran from 2003 to 2007, seems promising from the outside. It stars Kellie Martin as Samantha Kinsey, a bookstore owner and fan of murder mystery books who — surprise! — gets involved in some murder mysteries in real life, 

Samantha may be a likable character, and the audience can live vicariously through her as she embarks into the world of amateur sleuthing with her partner-in-crime, Philby, but the plot is lacking. It veers into unbelievable territory too frequently to allow viewers to get fully immersed in the show. In "Mystery Woman: Mystery Weekend," for example, one character dodges a bullet only to be quickly killed by bee venom. 

The "Mystery Woman" falls short of being truly suspenseful and it ultimately can't compete with modern mystery shows. Also, it has one of the corniest scores of all time. As one IMDB reviewer put it, "The over syrupy score that accents every dramatic word makes me think this is an early 80's nighttime soap. So distracting." Yikes.

10. Meet the Peetes

"Meet the Peetes" is a reality TV show that first aired in 2018. It focuses on the Peete family  — singer and actress Holly Robinson Peete; former NFL player Rodney Peete; Holly's mom, 86-year-old Dolores Robinson; and Holly and Rodney's four children, Ryan, R.J., Robinson, and Roman. The show gives viewers a glimpse into this big family's life, offering a "real" look at how a close family overcomes challenges and relates to one another.

"Meet the Peetes" is Hallmark's first foray into unscripted reality TV, and, well ... you can tell. Some episodes simply lacked the drama needed for good reality TV. While the Peetes genuinely seem like great people, their lives may not be as compulsively watchable, as, say, the endlessly drama-filled Kardashians. Research shows that people love reality television for a couple of reasons: one, because watching on-screen drama is exciting, and two, because we compare ourselves to the people onscreen, and watching other peoples' meaningless drama makes us feel better about our own lives (via The Latch). So even though "Meet the Peetes" was a favorite for some, others found the show boring — perhaps due to the lack of explosive drama. One IMDb reviewer even called the show a "trainwreck," and ultimately, the show was canceled after two seasons.

9. Gulliver's Travels

Based on the 1726 satire novel by the same name, "Gulliver's Travels" is about a man who travels around the world and eventually returns home to share his tales with his loved ones. The miniseries was produced by Hallmark and Jim Henson Productions and aired on NBC back in 1996. The show features a good amount of fantasy (giants, ghosts, and super smart horses, to name a few) but also focuses on more serious themes like mental illness and what it means to be human. While some people find it to be one of the best adaptations of Jonathan Swift's novel, others found issues with it.

Ultimately, audiences gave the miniseries a 62% on Rotten Tomatoes. On IMDb, some viewers lament the main character's (played by Ted Danson) failed attempt at an English accent while others feel to goes on too long — it's never a great sign when you're waiting for a show to end. And while the special effects featured in this miniseries are impressive for 1996, they are decidedly less impressive in current times.

Still, "Gulliver's Travels" may be worth a watch for fans of the fantasy genre or those who like the original novel by Jonathan Swift. But for the average person looking for a traditional feel-good Hallmark series, this one doesn't quite hit the mark.

8. When Hope Calls

"When Hope Calls" is a 2019 spin-off series from Hallmark's beloved original series "When Calls the Heart." "When Hope Calls" takes place in the early 1900s and centers around sisters Lillian and Grace (played by Morgan Kohan and Jocelyn Hudon, respectively), who were separated as children but reunite as adults. Viewers get to watch as the main characters navigate life and the challenges of running an orphanage — all with a sprinkle of humor and a large serving of family-friendly romance.

There are things to like about this show — upbeat characters, beautiful scenery, and heartfelt stories. It has that feel-good vibe you'd expect from a Hallmark series. But here's the thing: it's rare for spin-offs to be as good as the original, and that is the case when it comes to "When Hope Calls." Along with it being too slow at times, IMDb reviewers highlight that the setting looks like a movie set, and one, in particular, noted how "everyone has clean clothing that never seems to get dirty." Reviewers also mention that the show's content is almost too squeaky-clean and would benefit from a bit more realistic drama. While it's not the worst show overall, there is definite room for improvement.

7. The Infinite Worlds of H.G. Wells

Hallmark's science fiction miniseries, "The Infinite Worlds of H.G. Wells," was released in 2001, and it generally earned good reviews. It focuses on the famous author, Herbert George Wells who finds he can travel through different dimensions, experiencing different points in time. IMDb reviewers were impressed with the characters and the script, and many found the miniseries to be engaging, thanks to a mix of fantasy and light romance.

However, there are a few issues with "The Infinite Worlds of H.G. Wells," and one is that it's not quite what you'd expect from the Hallmark Channel because, while it does have some romance, it is first and foremost a sci-fi series. Someone wanting the quintessential Hallmark experience would likely be let down by this series because it's lacking a lot of the hallmarks of Hallmark classics — small-town setting and simple, small-yet-solvable problems, typically in the romantic drama genre. Another downside, as an IMDb reviewer highlighted, is that "the acting, makeup and effects can be dodgy at times."

6. Chesapeake Shores

Is there such a thing as a too Hallmark-y Hallmark show? If so, it may be "Chesapeake Shores," based on the novels of the same name by Sherryl Woods. This TV series, which premiered in 2016 and was canceled after its sixth season in 2022, focuses on a young woman named Abby (played by Meghan Ory). She leaves her high-stakes job in New York to go back to her hometown to help save her sister's inn from foreclosure. The show focuses on themes of family and resilience, and "Chesapeake Shores" really gives Hallmark lovers exactly what they want, which is idyllic scenery, small-town vibes, light romance, and problems that always have a way of working out in the end.

Some love "Chesapeake Shores." Television critic Gwen Ihnat of The AV Club wrote in a review, "These two acting powerhouses [Meghan Ory Jesse Metcalf] alone may make the show worth watching, and the giddy chemistry of the romantic leads certainly doesn't hurt." However, others, like Neil Genzlinger, formerly a TV critic for The New York Times, found it "predictable" and "well-scrubbed." Some IMDb reviewers agree, finding the show disappointing, with one citing "super cliche soap vibes." Whether you love it or hate it, there is no denying that "Chesapeake Shores" is very Hallmark.

5. Signed, Sealed, Delivered

The premise of Hallmark's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" is cheeky enough to pull even the least-seasoned Hallmark viewers in. It focuses on a group of detectives who work together to deliver lost letters to people, changing their lives in the process. Sure, it can be cliché at times, but isn't that what Hallmark is all about? IMDb reviewers praised "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" for its nerdy but lovable characters and heartwarming stories. Many agree that it's the perfect show for people who don't want to watch violence, gore, or R-rated content, and that it's entertaining while still maintaining Hallmark's family-friendliness.

"Signed, Sealed, Delivered" may not be the show for everyone, though, with some reviewers finding the characters to be overly simple and lacking in depth. And, as David Hinckley of New York Daily News wrote in his review, "It's got to be possible to be wholesome and a little more inspired at the same time." Nevertheless, the show has earned good reviews from audiences overall.

4. When Calls the Heart

Hallmark's historical romance series "When Calls the Heart" premiered in January 2014. Since then, it's become a fan favorite, with nine seasons available to watch and a 10th in production, as of this writing. It's based on the "Canadian West" book series by Janette Oke and centers around Elizabeth Thatcher (played by Erin Krakow), a widowed teacher who leaves her high-society life to teach in a middle-of-nowhere mining town. A romance blooms between Elizabeth and local businessman Lucas Bouchard (played by Chris McNally), but Elizabeth must first process grief from losing her late husband before she's able to love again.

It's easy to see why people love "When Calls the Heart" — it's sappy in all the best ways. It deals with real issues like grief and loss and keeps viewers interested in the chemistry between the characters. Some IMDb reviewers have criticized the hair, makeup, and wardrobe choices — which are admittedly pretty modern-looking for a show set in the early 1900s. But overall, this cozy Hallmark original series is widely loved.

3. Home & Family

"Home & Family" initially aired on The Family Channel from 1996 to 1998. It was dropped from the network and disappeared into the entertainment void until 2012 when Hallmark revived the talk show. "Home & Family" isn't a scripted series like other Hallmark original series; instead, it's a talk show that features DIY projects, recipes, crafts, and more, with a different guest each episode. It combines Hallmark's cheerful vibe with useful information, making it not only pleasant and easy to watch but also a legitimate learning experience. It was even nominated for multiple Emmy awards, so there's that too.

"Home & Family" covers a wide range of topics — from knitting to cooking to ancestry — and this means that it's a show that has the power to entertain just about anyone. Additionally, viewers can see behind-the-scenes content and get to know the cast and crew of the show, making for a warm and personal take on the typical talk show. Sadly, the show completed its eighth and final season in 2021, but it's worth going back in the archives to watch.

2. Cedar Cove

Having a bad day? Sit back, relax, and watch "Cedar Cove" — nothing bad ever happens there. Judge Olivia Lockhart (played by Andie MacDowell) is well-liked, trusted, and supportive of her community. Even when problems come up in Olivia's life, they get solved seamlessly. When Nancy deWolf Smith wrote in The Wall Street Journal that "Cedar Cove" is as "burden-free as a day on the beach with an umbrella, a book and a breeze," she wasn't kidding.

Based on a series of books by the same name written by Debbie Macomber, "Cedar Cove" premiered in 2013 and ran for three well-loved seasons. While Hallmark shows and movies aren't necessarily known for their incredible acting, IMDb reviewers note that the actors in "Cedar Cove" are exceptionally talented. Reviewers also appreciate the beautiful scenery in the show (filmed in Vancouver but set in Washington state) and the themes of family and friendships that come up throughout the series. Ultimately, "Cedar Cove" is an easy watch that really epitomizes what Hallmark shows are all about.

1. Good Witch

"Good Witch" is a fun, feel-good comedy/drama/fantasy series about Cassie Nightingale (played by Catherine Bell), a woman who runs a magic store in a small town where she offers advice and healing remedies to her customers. There's so much to love about this series — from Cassie's magical psychic powers to the soothing, small-town setting where everyone knows everyone.

Described by one IMDb reviewer as a mix of "Gilmore Girls" and "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," there is very little drama in the family-friendly series — and also no dark magic or anything remotely scary. It's all about the good vibes on "Good Witch," which is why it's in the number one spot on this list.

We're not the only ones who love the "Good Witch," though. In 2017, the series was the second-most-popular scripted show on TV, bringing in upwards of 2.5 million viewers, according to The New York Times. More people were watching Hallmark's "Good Witch" than super popular shows like "Silicon Valley" and "Pretty Little Liars." Despite its popularity, "Good Witch" never got the critical reception or recognition it deserved, which is why we're here to say, go watch it!