The Morning Call (Sunday)

‘Sullivan’s Crossing’ perfectly pleasant import

Show makes some changes to books by ‘Virgin River’ author

- By Robert Lloyd on the CW

With the industry’s scribes back at their keyboards, it feels marginally less deplorable that, in order to preserve an appearance of a normal fall season, content purveyors are presenting imported material as if it were something they’d cooked up themselves.

That’s not to denigrate the content itself, which is made by people as committed to their work as their American cousins and as capable of greatness (or, for that matter, ordinarine­ss). And when it comes to Canada (home to the invaluable “Schitt’s Creek,” “Slings and Arrows” and “High School”), only a footstep away from us, their show business has long been entwined, often unrecogniz­ably, with ours.

To wit: The Canadian series “Sullivan’s Crossing,” now airing Wednesdays on the CW. It’s based on a series of books by American romance novelist Robyn Carr, whose writing is also the foundation of Netflix’s “Virgin River” (set in Northern California but filmed in British Columbia).

Adapted by “Virgin River” (Canadian) executive producer Roma Roth, the largely Canadian cast of “Sullivan’s Crossing” (including “Virgin River” veterans Lynda Boyd and Lauren Hammersley) features Americans Scott Patterson, who was Luke on “Gilmore Girls,” and Chad Michael Murray, who was Lucas on “One Tree Hill,” as well as a recurring player in early “Gilmore Girls” seasons.

And the action of Carr’s novels has been transferre­d

from the American Rockies to the rocky coast of Nova Scotia, which, if nothing else, makes it visually distinct from “Virgin River” and is very pretty to look at.

In other respects, it is less distinct, which will certainly be part of its attraction. As in the earlier show, the story concerns a medical profession­al who moves from the problemati­c city to the differentl­y problemati­c but life-affirming countrysid­e.

The insignific­ant difference is that, here, officially lauded “rising star” neurosurge­on Maggie Sullivan (Morgan Kohan) is not escaping to a new place but escaping back to an old one, the campground her family has run for generation­s, overseen by her father, Sully (Patterson). A legal problem not of her making has driven her northward.

As a young girl, Maggie

was spirited away to Boston — not just the city, mind you, but a city in another country — by her mother (Boyd), who remarried into money and who thinks, per your expectatio­ns, that Maggie should be in America earning plaudits and greenbacks rather than aimlessly hanging about Canada with her kinda grumpy, cash-strapped, stubborn (but locally beloved) old man, one of those characters whose foreground­ed refusal to take care of himself suggests crisis ahead.

Home being aphoristic­ally the place when you go there, they have to take you in, Sully does, but it’s an uneasy reunion.

Maggie’s old best friend, Sydney (Lindura), who has returned herself after a brief career in modeling to help her widower brother, Rob (Reid Price), wonders

why Maggie hasn’t called her, like, in forever. But it won’t take long for them to become new best old friends. And barely has Maggie put down her bags in her old room when she meets the fellow fate has created her for — you can tell this, because their first encounter is antagonist­ic — “mystery man” Cal (Murray), who just sort of does stuff around the place.

Like practicall­y every actor who might be required to remove his shirt onscreen nowadays, or at least wear a tight-fitting tee, Murray has bulked up. Such manicured buffness may feel out of a tune with a character we are supposed to admire for his rustic lack of self-regard, but it does of course suit the genre to a ... tight-fitting T, and it creates contrast with Kohan’s waifish silhouette.

Somewhere down the

road from the campground, at which things are falling apart a little — no hot water, fridge on the fritz

— is the adorable town of Timberlake, where we find shops and sidewalks and the local diner, run by Rob, which after dark becomes the local bar, a place for karaoke, slow dancing and an occasional unpleasant encounter with tourists less attuned to the area’s peaceful, easy feeling; this is a place of diversity, tolerance and caring, not parochiali­sm and suspicion.

Among the citizenry are Connie (Hammersley), who runs the local fire department and search and rescue team; Rafe (Dakota Taylor), who helps her out; and Connie’s son Jackson (T. Thomason), introduced as the resident “climbing expert.”

Seemingly interested in Cal is Lola (Amalia

Williamson), a sort of unofficial stepdaught­er to Sully, whose grandfathe­r suffers from dementia.

Prime among them are Frank and Edna Cranebear (Tom Jackson and Andrea Menard), the series’ one completely functional couple — the series one couple, come to think of it — who run the campground’s store and snack bar. “You’re like a second mother to me,” Maggie tells Edna, but, emotionall­y speaking, she’s more like her first.

It’s in the series’ DNA to be a little cornball, and that there’s nothing overtly fancy or stylish in the production reflects the sort of nonliterar­y literature from which it springs.

Apart from the breathy finger-picked guitar folk pop that fills up the soundtrack, which I found myself muting, and some overenthus­iastic dialogue forced out of the mouths of babes, I found “Sullivan’s Crossing” perfectly pleasant and at least once surprising.

To be sure, surprise is not what such shows are built on, soapy melodrama notwithsta­nding; they run on the fulfillmen­t of expectatio­ns — there’s just enough tension to move things along, but not so much as to make you sweat or fret.

Still, trouble is standard for the form, as the episode titles indicate: “Homewrecke­r,” “Rock and a Hard Place,” “Boiling Point,” “Pressure Drop” — probably nothing to do with Toots or the Clash. Well, there’s no making up without breaking up. Apart from those exclaiming kids, the cast underplays the material, which keeps things comfortabl­e, as one familiar sort of crisis follows the last.

How to watch:


Ethel Wallace: Modern Rebel: The first comprehens­ive study of the artist’s career, focusing on Wallace’s unique adaptation of batik, garments, and oil paintings, popular among New York’s elite in the 1910s and 20s. Opens Oct. 21. through March 10. JAMES A. MICHENER ART MUSEUM, 138 S. Pine St., Doylestown. michenerar­

ONGOING BRANDYWINE MUSEUM OF ART, 1 Hoffman’s Mill Road, Chadds Ford. Rooted:

Family and Nature in Contempora­ry Children’s Book Illustrati­on: Explores the enduring bonds of nature and family through a lively selection of original artwork created for eight illustrate­d children’s books. Through Feb. 25.

ALLENTOWN ART MUSEUM, 31 N. Fifth St., Allentown. 610-432-4333. Conectando Intencione­s (Connecting Intentions):

Artist, educator, and Allentown Art Museum Community Art +Action Fellow Daniel Djuro-Goiricelay­a weaves his personal artistic exploratio­n with works of collaborat­ive community art. Works use the language of color, natural materials, textiles, light, and performanc­e to explore political, social, aesthetic, and universal issues. Through Oct. 15. allentowna­

AMERICA ON WHEELS, 5 N. Front St., Allentown. 610-432-4200. Celebratin­g 70 Years of Corvette:

Corvettes produced from the very first production year, 1953 (C-1), through 2023 (C8), plus a very special 1963 Grand Sport. Through Oct.

15. americaonw­

ART SCHNECK OPTICAL COMPANY, 720 Harrison St., Emmaus. 610-9654066. Linda Kreckel: Through Nov. 30.

BAKER CENTER FOR THE ARTS GALLERIA, MUHLENBERG COLLEGE, 24th and Chew streets, Allentown. 484-664-3100. Glut and Guzzle:

Ashe Kaye’s exploratio­n of how gender norms and the visual language of advertisin­g infiltrate­s daily lives and the harmful effect of media and religion on shaping and reifying identity and gender roles. Through Nov. 10.

BAUM SCHOOL OF ART DAVID E. RODALE AND RODALE FAMILY GALLERIES, 510 Linden St., Allentown. Mystical and Realistic:

Ramon Peralta and Ismael Checo, oil painters from the Dominican Republic. Artist reception, 6-8 p.m. Oct. 19. Through Nov. 2.

BETHLEHEM TOWN HALL ROTUNDA GALLERY, 10 E. Church St., Bethlehem. The Art of Watercolor:

Work of William Christine, Arlene Ginsburg, Sook H. Kim, Anne Landis, James Maria, and

Frank Wengen. Through Nov. 8.

BUCKS COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE PERKASIE, One Hillendale Road, Perkasie. Show of Shows!:

An array of diverse and inspiring works of art from local artists. Through Nov. 16.

EAGLE NEST GALLERY AT NAZARETH AREA HIGH SCHOOL, 501 E. Center St., Nazareth. 610-759-1730. Jeffrey M. Green:

A colored pencil artist, Green’s work fosters tranquilit­y, as an inspiring interlude to our modern stress-filled world. Through Oct. 31.

HISTORIC BETHLEHEM MUSEUMS, Bethlehem. 610-882-0450. Unspun:

Stories of Silk: Three-part exhibit organized by Historic Bethlehem Museum and Sites examines the local impact of the textile from its beginnings with cocooning attics, where raw silk from silkworms was spun to becoming a leader in the fashion industry in the early 1900s. Begin the journey at the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, 66 W. Church

St. with a replica of a 1750s coccoonery, learn about the early Moravian’s experiment­s with silk in the attic of the Brethren’s House, follow the legendary stories of Moravian women and silk, including the Single Sisters’ secret gifts to notable historical figures and try your hands at silk embroidery, as it was taught at the Moravian Ladies Seminary. The journey continues at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, 427 N. New Street with dresses, undergarme­nts, and housewares, more. The exhibition concludes at the National Museum of Industrial History, 602 E. Second St to learn the stories of the women who worked in the factories that mass produced the products of the silk industry and their place in the push for workers

rights. Through Jan. 28. historicbe­

JAMES A MICHENER ART MUSEUM, 138 S. Pine St., Doylestown. 215-3409800. Never Broken:

Visualizin­g Lenape Histories: Considers the power of art to create, challenge, and rewrite history through a display of contempora­ry art by Lenape (also called Delaware) artists in conversati­on with historic Lenape ceramics, beadwork, and other cultural objects and representa­tions of Penn’s Treaty by European American artists. Through Jan. 14. michenerar­tmuseum. org.

KALMBACH MEMORIAL PARK COMMUNITY CENTER, 200 Cotton St., Macungie. 610-965-1140. Betty Allender: Through Dec. 31.

KETTLE CREEK ENVIRONMEN­TAL EDUCATION CENTER, 8050 Running Valley Road, Stroudsbur­g. 570-629-3061. From Nature to Art:

Using the hardshell gourd as her palette, Claudia Hill uses an arsenal of mediums to create her artwork and Joan Lech uses wood as her palette to create her art by carving or turning or a combinatio­n of both. Through Oct. 31. mcconserva­


Maps and atlases from the Duncan Payne and Lehigh Libraries collection­s. Unique hand-colored maps in Linderman Library and reproducti­ons of 30 city views from Braun’s atlases displayed in Fairchild-Martindale Library. Through Dec. 20.

LOWER MACUNGIE LIBRARY, 3450 Brookside Road, Macungie. 610-9666864.

Christine Thatcher: Through Oct. 31.

MARTIN ART GALLERY, MUHLENBERG COLLEGE, 24th and Chew streets, Allentown. 484-664-3100. Analog Alchemy:

Exploring Nonlinear Aesthetics: Myk Eff’s exhibition features VJ loops and an associated series of 2D still images based on them called the Video Rhythmolog­ies. Virtual artist talk and reception, Oct. 18. Through Nov. 17. Onirica: An exhibition comprised of digital prints and motion art, is named for a Spanish adjective that means “of the dream or related to the images and events that are imagined while sleeping,” an apt descriptio­n of Maria Belen Irusta’s celestial, hypnotic works. Through Dec. 15.

MERCER MUSEUM AND FONTHILL CASTLE, 84 South Pine St., Doylestown. 215-3450210. The Dusty Road to Doylestown:

The Early Years of the Village Improvemen­t Associatio­n. Celebrates the centennial anniversar­y of Doylestown’s first hospital and the vital role played by the Village Improvemen­t Associatio­n and the VIA’s founding women in its formation. Through Dec. 31. mercermusu­

MUSEUM OF INDIAN CULTURE, 2825 Fish Hatchery Road, Allentown. 610-797-2121. Native American Beadwork:

Evolution, Economics, and Artistry: The exhibit traces the progressio­n of imported glass beads as a medium of trade, artistic expression, and identity for indigenous peoples throughout North America. Through April 27. museumofin­diancultur­

NATIONAL CANAL MUSEUM, 2750 Hugh Moore Park Road, Easton. 610923-3584. Coal Country Portraits: Photograph­s,

artistic works, and personal memorabili­a to illustrate the stories of miners and their families who are representa­tive of the many whose work helped drive the industrial developmen­t of our region. Through Oct. 17.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF INDUSTRIAL HISTORY, 602 E. 2nd St., Bethlehem. 610-694-6644. New & Improved! The Age of Convenienc­e in the Home:

Exhibit examines what it means to strive for the American Dream following World War II through the end of the 1970s. Through June 29.

NEW ARTS PROGRAM, 173 W. Main St., Kutztown. 610-683-6440. The Early Years, 1974-1981:

Artists John Cage, Philip Glass, and 36 others. Through Dec. 10. newartspro­

NEW HOPE ARTS CENTER, 2 Stockton Ave., New Hope. The 4th Annual Makers Alley Juried Artist & Artisan Exhibition:

A highlight of the ARTOber festival happening the month of October in the Delaware Valley. Through Dec. 29. newhopeart­

NURTURE NATURE CENTER, 518 Northampto­n St., Easton. 610-253-4432. Slow Time:

Musician Dan DeChellis has been creating music for decades. The pieces he wrote during the pandemic reflect a period when things closed and time seemed to slow down. The low drone of his music reflected this feeling of slowing down and inspired a new focus — painting. The music and paintings go hand-inhand in this exhibit, each feeding into one another. Through Nov. 15. What a Day Looks Like, Circadian Cycles:

Works by ten local artists. Through Nov. 15. nurturenat­

PENN STATE LEHIGH VALLEY COMMUNITY GALLERY, 2809 Saucon Valley Road, Center Valley. Heidi Hooper and Marissa Grello:

Two artists who use their debilitati­ng medical conditions as inspiratio­n for their art. Through Nov. 4. lehighvall­

PENN STATE LEHIGH VALLEY, 2809 Saucon Valley Road, Center Valley. Eudaimonia:

Cultivatin­g mindfulnes­s, acceptance, purpose, skill mastery, and positive relationsh­ips, or Eudaimonia is a state of well-being, very different from the feeling of pleasure deemed as happiness. Artists Michelle Neifert and Sasha Meret, who live with a disability, have connected to this positive and divine state of being, authentici­ty, meaning, virtue and growth through their art practice, inspiring their own state of eudaimonia, as well as to that of others who hear their story. Through Dec. 2. lehighvall­

POTTSGROVE MANOR, 100 W. King St., Pottstown. 610-278-3000. The Social & Medical World of Dr. Jonathan Potts:

Discover how physicians treated patients in an age before modern healthcare. Through Nov. 5.

SIGAL MUSEUM, 342 Northampto­n St., Easton. 610-253-1222. Forged by Fire:

the Heroism, Honor, and History of Firefighti­ng: Explores the history of firefighti­ng in Northampto­n County tracing the roots of local fire prevention back to William Penn and the Great Fire of London in 1666, highlighti­ng Colonial Era town planning, Moravian technologi­cal innovation­s for moving water, the bucket brigade, the horse-drawn steamer engine, and the formation of volunteer firefighti­ng companies. Through July 7. sigalmusue­

STONY RUN WINERY, 150 Independen­t Road, Breinigsvi­lle. 610-398-7231. Sylvia Roth, Jill Stanley and Emory Smith:

Artist reception, 5-8 p.m. Nov. 8. Through Nov. 29.

STUDIO B FINE ART GALLERY, 39A E. Philadelph­ia Ave., Boyertown. What Inspires You?:

Artists consider the many sources of inspiratio­n: music, nature, culture, color, patterns, smells, temperatur­e, art supplies, trends, Instagram, literature, history, cars, for example. Through Nov. 5.

THE GALLERY AT ST. JOHN’S, 330 Ferry St., Easton. 610-905-1767. Ode to Plaid:

Works of fine art in any medium. Through Oct. 15.

 ?? THE CW ?? Chad Michael Murray, left, and Scott Patterson are among the stars of the Canadian series “Sullivan’s Crossing.”
THE CW Chad Michael Murray, left, and Scott Patterson are among the stars of the Canadian series “Sullivan’s Crossing.”
 ?? COURTESY ?? Sophie Blackall, illustrati­on for Farmhouse, 2022, collage and mixed media, part of“Rooted: Family and Nature in Contempora­ry Children’s Book Illustrati­on” on display Oct. 14-Feb. 25 at Brandywine Museum of Art.
COURTESY Sophie Blackall, illustrati­on for Farmhouse, 2022, collage and mixed media, part of“Rooted: Family and Nature in Contempora­ry Children’s Book Illustrati­on” on display Oct. 14-Feb. 25 at Brandywine Museum of Art.

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