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Series / Heartland

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Heartland is a Long Runner TV show, first run in Canada, based on a series of books by Lauren Brooke. It follows the Fleming-Bartlett family that runs Heartland ranch, where "horses learn to heal" after traumatic events or injuries. The older granddaughter Lou takes care of the financial aspects, while her younger sister Amy and their grandfather Jack deal more with the horses themselves, with Amy helping to train them. It is currently the longest-running one-hour scripted drama in Canadian television history at 16 seasons.

This series provides examples of:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: A plotline in "Risk and Reward" has Jade suffer a concussion following a fall during bronc riding practice; fitting in with her headstrong personality, she initially ignores recommendations that she see a doctor, believing she's fine. She then suffers symptoms of her concussion while working at Maggie's, experiencing double-vision and distorted hearing. A frightened Jade, with Georgie's support, agrees to see a doctor, who diagnoses her with a concussion, prompting her to tell Tim she's quitting bronc riding because of her concern that she could suffer more serious injury if she continued riding. In the next episode, "Change of Heart," Jade decides to come out of retirement and become a mentor at Tim's riding academy, after proving herself useful when Amy and Ty hire her to babysit Lyndy.note 
  • Abled in the Adaptation: The girls' father Tim is in a wheelchair in the original book series.
  • Abusive Parents: Ty's father abused him.
  • Adaptational Location Change: The show transplants the story from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia (where the novels are set) to Alberta, Canada (where the show is produced).
  • Alcoholic Parent: After getting into a serious horse-riding accident, the girls' father Tim starts abusing alcohol and drugs, although he eventually sobers up when Amy is a teenager.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: A prominent theme, as most of the characters on the show are females who love horses.
  • Alpha Bitch:
    • Ashley Stanton, whose mother runs a rival ranch, tends to cause problems for Amy and, occasionally, Ty.
    • Val Stanton, Ashley's mother, is essentially a grown-up Alpha Bitch.
    • Amy's niece Georgie has one of these as well, in terms of Olivia Wheaton.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Mallory is very much embarrassed by her country-singing father, although she thinks he is a much worse singer than he actually is.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Despite having no blood or familial relationship with Amy or Lou, Mallory essentially functions as this with how much time she spends at the ranch.
  • Berserk Button: Mistreatment of horses in any way tends to be a big one for Amy, Jack, and Ty, while any male coming on towards his granddaughters is one for Jack.
  • Brainy Brunette: Lou has an MBA by the age of 23 or 24 (in season 1) and formerly lived and worked in New York City. She is also the head of finances at Heartland Ranch and manages to keep it running for years after it seemed to be on the verge of bankruptcy in the pilot.
  • Cheerful Child: The twelve-year-old girl Mallory is always incredibly upbeat and happy on-screen.
  • City Mouse: In season 1, Lou is this compared to the rest of her family.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Lou is part of a family that owns a horse ranch, and she starts off the series deathly afraid of horses.
  • Cool Old Guy: Amy and Lou's grandfather, Jack, is still doing a lot of the physical work at the ranch while old enough to be a great-grandfather three times over.
  • Daddy's Girl: Between the two, Lou seems to be more set in having a real relationship with her father.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Amy and Ty apparently name their baby after Amy's deceased grandmother and Jack's first wife, Lindy, with the middle name Marion, after Amy's mother.
  • December–December Romance: Between Jack and a neighboring horse breeder, Lisa Stillman.
  • Did Not Think This Through: Mallory's MO is to do things and then only later realize she seriously screwed up.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Lou's New York boyfriend, Carl, did not survive more than half of the first season, once Lou moved permanently back to Heartland.
  • A Dog Named "Dog":
    • Jack owned a Paint Horse named Paint for several seasons.
    • Katie has a pony named Pogy, which was how she pronounced the word "pony" as a toddler.
  • Domestic Abuse: When Ty's father took to hitting Ty's mother instead.
  • Drop-In Character: Mallory is not one of Jack's granddaughters, but she may as well be with the amount of time she spends at or around Heartland.
  • Former Teen Rebel:
    • In season 1, Ty is on probation from juvenile detention. In the current season, he's a vet, as well as a good husband to Amy and caring father to their baby Lyndy.
    • Heartland's original primary veterinarian, Scott, also reveals early on that he was formerly fairly rebellious.
  • Freudian Excuse: Lou's fear of horses is caused by witnessing her father's accident.
  • Generation Xerox: Compared to Lou, Amy takes after her mother quite a bit in both the looks and the ability to work with horses.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Between Lou and Amy at times, especially in the early seasons, as Amy believes that Lou is only in it for the money while Amy truly wants to help the horses, made worse by misunderstandings about when to send horses back to their families.
  • Happily Adopted: Peter and Lou's older daughter, Georgie, fully acknowledges Peter and Lou as her parents, even though she was not adopted by them until she was almost a teenager.
  • Hate Sink: Lou's New York boyfriend, Carl, has few to no redeeming qualities.
  • Insistent Terminology: Lou does not approve of anyone calling her corporate equine retreat a "dude ranch," which of course everyone does.
  • Jerk Jock: Heartland's season-1 tenant (who is also Lisa Stillman's nephew), Ben.
  • Lethal Chef: Lou requires multiple tries just to make a cake, at least in season 1.
  • Long Runner: The series has 13 full seasons and a movie as of July 2020, with a fourteenth season in the works. The series begins with Amy as a 15-year-old girl, and she's currently old enough to be a married mother.
  • Missing Mom: The girls' mother dies in the pilot episode, thus kicking off the entire series.
  • Motor Mouth: Mallory rarely knows when to stop talking.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • Lou is very rarely called her real name, which is Samantha; she instead goes primarily by a shortened form of her middle name Louise.
    • Georgie is short for Georgina, but she won't let anyone call her that.
  • Outdoorsy Gal: Again, goes without saying.
  • Parental Abandonment: Tim only returns to Amy and Lou's lives after the death of their mother, Marion.
  • Precocious Crush: Twelve-year-old Mallory has a major crush on Ty, who's old enough to drive in season 1 (so presumably 16+).
  • Spell My Name With An S: Amy and Ty name their daughter Lyndy.
  • Tomboyish Name: Lou's name is typically a male name, although always as a nickname. However, her real name is much more feminine, although she doesn't go by it typically.
  • Vanity License Plate: Ashley Stanton has one that reads "HOT ASH." When Ty first sees it, he comments on it to Amy, who snarks, "More like pain-in-the-ash."
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Lou starts out the series deathly afraid of horses, which wouldn't be a problem if her family didn't own a horse ranch.
  • Wintry Auroral Sky: In "Resolutions", everyone at the ranch goes outside on New Year's Eve to admire a spectacular display of the Northern Lights. This is Truth in Television; the Northern Lights are frequently seen in Alberta during the winter.