The Undiscovered Country

When fiction is set in a specific time and place, getting the details right can be enriching; getting them wrong can be distracting, like a constant reminder that it’s just make-believe. (See my post about the Pizza Theory of Historical Exposition.) This goes for books, movies, and TV productions.

Despite occasional goofs, TV generally does a pretty good job of giving shows an authentic feel and look. Costumes and uniforms are usually authentic for the period depicted, and even vehicles, weapons, etc. are usually proper. They also do a good job with regional accents, especially New England and Minnesota. So when an exception such as Chesapeake Shores comes along, it is like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Chesapeake Shores" - a Hallmark Channel TV Series starring Meghan Ory ...

Some very un-Chesapeake-like rocky shoreline on Chesapeake Shores


Chesapeake Bay Photo Gallery

Actual Chesapeake Bay shoreline


Chesapeake Shores supposedly takes place in the Chesapeake Bay region, but has none of the feel or flavor of the actual place. This is not surprising, since it is filmed in the Pacific Northwest on Vancouver Island in British Columbia and looks it. Aside from the lush vegetation, many scenes clearly show mountains in the background, something you never see anywhere near the Chesapeake Bay. On the show, the low and marshy Chesapeake shoreline appears with rocky cliffs, like the 100 foot rocky waterfall Disney showed in Tidewater Virginia in Pocahontas.

And the water is clear of the jellyfish that make swimming risky in the real Chesapeake Bay. Speaking of water, there are no white work boats in evidence anywhere. What happened to the watermen?

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Virginia Tech; Courtesy of Eastern Shore ...

Chesapeake Bay watermen with crab traps

No one has any trace of any regional accent and seem to have no acquaintance with the actual Chesapeake Bay. For instance, at one point someone says they are having “fresh crabs” for dinner. No one on the Chesapeake ever uses that term, since it is meaningless. If you are having steamed crabs, you are having “crabs”. Otherwise, you are having “crab cakes” , “soft crabs” or possibly “crab imperial” “crab dip”, or “crab soup”.


Other than a few eroded areas such as Calvert Cliffs, there are no steep banks such as this one on the Chesapeake.

For that matter, where are they even getting all the crabs when there are apparently no watermen out catching them? Well, maybe they are rare “hill crabs” gathered from the surrounding mountains.


In the background you can see mountains.

Well, you get the idea. Maybe they should just call it Pacific Northwest and be done with it.


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