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story.lead_photo.caption DVD cover of Cedar Cove

What is it? Cedar Cove, Season 1, 13 episodes on three discs from Cinedigm

When? Now

How much? $24.95

I take it Cedar Cove is a place? It is indeed. It's a small coastal town in Washington state. The word "idyllic" comes to mind. It looks like it was built to be a setting for postcards. It's clean, picturesque and populated by solid, attractive middle-class people. Those who aren't attractive are at least quirky.

Actually, the whole town is quirky. It's the kind of place where the hippie cafe owner (Timothy Webber) lectures people about the dangers of coffee and the seagull calling contest is an annual highlight.

One of Cedar Cove's most respected residents is Olivia Lockhart (Andie MacDowell), the municipal judge whose no-nonsense courtroom demeanor doesn't completely hide a soft heart. She has some tragedy in her background with a marriage that ended in divorce after the death of a child.

Her ex-husband, Stan (Andrew Airlie), isn't completely out of her life, but Olivia is more focused on her growing relationship with town newcomer Jack Griffith (Dylan Neal), editor of the Cedar Cove Chronicle.

She also has a pushy, nosy mother (Paula Shaw) who has a tendency to show up uninvited and unannounced to put in her two cents' worth.

Olivia's artistic daughter Justine (Sarah Smyth), still scarred by her twin brother's death and her parents' divorce years earlier, finds herself in a love triangle of sorts, torn between her unscrupulous real estate developer boyfriend, Warren Saget (Brennan Elliott), and her more low-key high school sweetheart, Seth Gunderson (Greyston Holt in the first episode, then Corey Sevier).

Grace Sherman (Teryl Rothery), the hip librarian and Olivia's best friend, is usually around for advice and moral support.

The town is further populated with other assorted oddballs and characters such as rancher Cliff Harting (Sebastian Spence) and bed-and-breakfast owners Bob and Peggy Beldon (Bruce Boxleitner and Barbara Niven).

The series follows Olivia's personal and professional life and the various romances, setbacks and day-to-day lives of all the residents of Cedar Cove.

How is it? Sort of like a watery, over-sweetened mug of hot chocolate -- meant to be comforting, soothing and uncomplicated, but ends up being unsatisfying. It's a Hallmark Channel series, which should tell most people all they need to know.

This is the type of series that will inspire warm fuzzies in some, sap-induced stomach- aches in others. Potential viewers should be able to tell which camp they'll fall into.

It's a beautiful show in a gorgeous setting and the characters are (mostly) nice people, the morals are strong and there's nothing offensive. It's safe family viewing.

But its preciousness can be grating and the emotion and sentiment feel unearned. The quirkiness is self-conscious, the acting borders on hammy and while the town is full of good folks, it's also full of cliches.

If the viewer is looking for something simple, straightforward and not particularly challenging, this is a good place to go. But if one is looking for something clever or sharp or subtle, best keep looking.

Extras? An 11-minute making-of puff piece.

New this week: Californication, Season 7; Community, Season 5; Mad About You, Seasons 1-2; Naked City, Seasons 1-4; The Nanny, Seasons 1-2; Perry Mason, Movie Collection 3.

Next week: Bitten, Season 1; The Blacklist, Season 1; Gunsmoke, Season 10, Volumes 1-2.

Style on 08/03/2014

Print Headline: Cedar Cove’s first season offers a sugar OD on DVD

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