Is 'Heartland' A Must-Watch Netflix Binge For 'Yellowstone' Fans?

Heartland Tyler Ty Borden Graham Wardle Mallory Wells Jessica Amlee Jack Bartlett Shaun Johnston Amy Fleming Amber Marshall Tim Fleming Chris Potter, Samantha Louise Lou Fleming Michelle Morgan Scott Cardinal Nathanial Arcand CBC

I will admit it. Until it came on Netflix, I only had a vague knowledge of “Heartland.” The modern-day Western, set amid the beautiful backdrop of Canada, is the longest-running hour-long drama in the country’s history. It only takes three episodes to realize why the series based on Lauren Brooke’s novel series of the same name has possessed such remarkable endurance.

It turns out that Canada is not only home to the best ice dancers in history. It also has “Heartland,” which follows the life and times of the Fleming/Bartlett family on the ranch from which the TV show takes its name. When “Heartland” begins, 15-year-old Amy (Amber Marshall) and her mom, Marion, are attempting to rescue an abused horse, later named Spartan.

Unfortunately, Marion does not survive the treacherous trip home, and as tragedy unfolds, so do the beginnings of a family trying to heal. Amy’s older sister, Lou (Michelle Morgan), returns home after four years away in New York City to help her sister and Grandpa Jack move forward.

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Like any Hallmark movie worth its salt (and sugar), Lou ends up reconnecting with her family, the love of her youth -- Scott (Nathanial Arcand) -- and the ranch. The namesake of “Heartland” has hit some financial turbulence, which businesswoman Lou sets out to fix, while Amy uses her special skills with horses to help heal them. 

In the meantime, Amy and Lou’s scene-stealing Grandpa Jack (Shaun Johnston) proves vital to helping his granddaughters cope as a strong patriarch. Fleshing out “Heartland” is Ty Borden (Graham Wardle), a hired farmhand working out his probation on the ranch, and Heartland’s delightfully nosy neighbor Mallory (Jessica Amlee). These colorful characters and the fantastic cast come together to weave something quite tremendous – a lively and family-friendly drama. 

To its credit, “Heartland” is exciting, funny, and intense without needing to veer into anything R-rated. That is important to note because “Heartland” shares lots of genre real estate with Paramount Network’s “Yellowstone,” which by comparison is only just beginning its run. Fans are currently waiting for Season 4 of “Yellowstone” alongside some spinoffs, while “Heartland” fans are anxiously awaiting Season 15 -- yes, 15. 

The show has been on for over a decade and a half. So, if you thought “Game of Thrones” eight seasons was a long ride, “Heartland” has seven more seasons and counting to its name. “Heartland” pulls from the domestic politics that made “Game of Thrones” so juicy while also calling upon the terrain that makes “Yellowstone” such a burgeoning treasure.

On a ranch, there is no time for fake, over-the-top personalities. Life gets real too quickly for that. For fans of “Yellowstone” waiting for its return, “Heartland” is the perfect series to help salve the wound of its missing status. There are loads of family drama, scheming interlopers, and imagining how Lou and Beth Dutton would handle each other in an alt-universe is fan fiction gold. 

Lou and Beth share a lot in common, in Lou’s case, minus the profanity. Speaking of, the good news is “Heartland” gets viewers so caught up in the action, you are unlikely to miss the lack of spicy language. “Heartland” has too epic of a tale not to get distracted. There are stories of redemption, coming-of-age, and romances that are destined to stir the heartstrings. 

Two seasons in and counting, I can testify that this TV show is worth binge-watching. It is a tip of the cowboy hat to “Heartland” that its writers skilfully employ episodic storylines that perfectly nest underneath captivating umbrella arcs. The conjured romances are also equally compelling as they provide cornerstone dynamics the series hinges on as it progresses during its early seasons.

Teenage love affairs are always a tricky business, but you would never guess that considering how well “Heartland” develops Amy, Ty, and their admirable bond. To know there are still 12 seasons left to watch is also an extraordinary comfort. It is precisely the TV comfort food I have been dying to watch, and others probably are too. 

“Heartland” is currently streaming on Roku TV, and airing on Up TV (available on Philo) in the United States. The first 13 seasons are now streaming on Netflix alongside other series. Season 15 does not have a premiere date yet, although it has begun filming, per Amber Marshall’s June 9 Instagram post

On that note, “Heartland” has been on the air for fourteen seasons, and I would advise prospective viewers to cautiously dig around about it with potential spoiler exposure in mind. There are huge things that happen, and I would not want you to lose out on experiencing them in real-time.