No more countdowns, Heartlanders. We've endured the off-season, and now Canada's favourite family drama is about to premiere its 7th Season in three short days' time.
My mind goes back to six years ago this weekend. None of us - myself, the producers or the CBC - knew that Heartland was going to last as long as it has. It's a testament to the skills of everyone involved, from the talented cast to the dedicated behind-the-scenes crew and post-production team to those at the CBC who have proudly showcased this 1-hour drama and have turned it into the television series that it's become.
Long may it run. And to that end, as I blogged last week, we can expect a new Season 7 episode of Heartland every week for the next 10 Sundays, with the sole exception being November 24 when the Grey Cup is played.
And yes, this all starts this Sunday. Before I go into a little detail about the Season Premiere, let me say what most of us are thinking - "Oh Boy oh Boy oh Boy oh Boy oh Boy!!!"
I have included some exclusive images from Sunday's episode, which is entitled "Picking Up the Pieces." Written by Heather Conkie and directed by David Frazee, the episode picks up a few months after the last shot of Season 6, when we saw Jack being cradled in Tim's arms in a snowy field not far from the Heartland ranch.
A lot has happened in those months. Yes, that's Jack's horse - Paint by the family cemetary in the top photo, being approached on horseback by Amy and Ty. It's a disturbing image and even more disturbing is the first 4 minutes of the episode, which you may have already seen if you have downloaded the Heartland Companion app (https://appsto.re/i6xZ74F). More on the free app and why you should get it below.
First and foremost, Heartland is a horse show, and in the season premiere a Prince (Prince Ahmed), played by season guest star Jade Hassoune, has a horse named Emir who is balking at jumps. A beautiful horse with a lovely white blaze, he is the horse we have first seen in the plane flying through the dark skies. If you haven't yet seen this then you have not yet downloaded the free Heartland Companion app (https://appsto.re/i6xZ74F), which I again strongly recommend you do!!
Anyway, you know Amy is going to be asked to help, and she is, by the horse's trainer, Adrian, played by Shaun Benson. The trouble is, Prince Ahmed doesn't believe that Amy can be of any assistance. Obviously not yet a Heartlander, he's going to have to be shown.
With Jack gone, Tim has taken over and imposed his will and applied his knee jerk decision making to things around the ranch, including adding sheep(!) and removing some of Jack's old relics.
Meanwhile, Georgie is still adjusting to life at the ranch as Lou and Peter try the best they can to make her new home feel like... home.
As the preview and these photographs show, Season 7 starts with a bang!!! You'll not want to miss it.
That's this Sunday, October 6th at 7:00pm across Canada (7:30pm in Newfoundland). I'm watching this again with the new app in full operation. It's going to rock!!!
Speaking of the app...
The Heartland Companion App is finally here!!! (Get it here: https://appsto.re/i6xZ74F)
Maybe you've heard this before about the app, but let me tell you about it again; When you're using the app while you're watching the brand new episode this Sunday night on CBC, during the commercial breaks you're going to see EXCLUSIVE app-only videos -- scenes from that very episode that you can't see anywhere else, not even on your television when you watch the episode! You'll still be able to enjoy the show without the app, but WITH it, you're going to get to see and enjoy much, much more. More scenes = more Heartland = Happy Heartlanders, right?
For those of you who don't have an iOS device, come back here to the Heartland website either on your phone, tablet or computer, because we'll have a special web version of the app for you to use.
And if you're outside of Canada, you won't be able to get this app, as it's only available in the Canadian App store. Yes, some of you who get CBC in the border states will be watching Sunday (lucky you!), but we can't put the app anywhere but the Canadian App store (for now).