Virgin River’s Executive Producer Spills the Beans on Charmaine’s Twins, Mel’s Father, and More!

Part one of Virgin River’s fifth season ended on so many cliff-hangers, and we’ve been counting down the days until the holiday episodes start airing at the end of November to find out what will happen next. (Warning now: Spoilers ahead.)

There’s the question of Mel’s biological father. Is it Doc? Is it someone else? Will we even find out in November? And what about Charmaine’s twins? Will she finally give birth? Is Calvin actually going to be part of their lives? And how is Jack going to react? Speaking of babies, is Lizzie actually pregnant or is it a false alarm? And what about Preacher now that Kaia is about to uncover the secret surrounding Wes’s fate?

 

Executive producer and showrunner Patrick Sean Smith promises you will get the answers to several of those questions, while indicating that part two of season five will be lighter in tone to help balance the heaviness in the first 10 episodes.

“It’s just Virgin River holiday coziness times 10,” he told Glamor exclusively. “The cast is wonderful and so talented, and the whole crew did an incredible job this season. It was a lot more than they’ve had to do in the past, so I don’t want to try to match that intensity every season; otherwise it’s just turning into Virgin River 911. At its heart, the show is about love, community, romance, second chances, and getting through life. I’m very proud of the season.”

But before we preview what’s in store for the holiday episodes, Smith joined us over Zoom, now that the writers strike is over, to break down the first 10 episodes and answer all your need-to-know questions. So settled in…we have a lot to get to.Patrick Sean Smith: There were many, with the first just being the history of the show. We have a wonderful script coordinator, Ildiko Susany, who also wrote episode nine, and everyone talks about Ildiko as the person who knows all. She’s like our Siri if we’re like, “Wait, when did Mel move to Virgin?” because the timeline is very unique. So my biggest challenge [coming in as showrunner] was wanting it to feel as seamless as possible. People care a lot about this show and I want to honor that. I wanted to make sure we weren’t contradicting ourselves, we weren’t repeating [stories], and all the characters were staying in their lanes, while still moving forward.

How much does Virgin River, the series, follow the books, especially in season five?

When Sue Tenney developed the series and pilot, she made some really smart choices of taking from all the books and then brought the characters in the best way that told the TV story she wanted to. [Virgin River book author] Robyn Carr has been very deferential. She’s like, “I write books; you do TV.” So there’s always been a bit of a separation between what happens in the books and what happens in the show.

A lot of times over the season we will say, “Oh, let’s do X,” and then we check the books only to see, “Oh, my gosh, that happened,” like Lizzie getting pregnant in the books. So it’s always like an extra check when we start to head in that direction to know that it’s also honoring the spirit of the books, but not hamstringing ourselves to only capture what the books did. Some people have read the books and love watching the series, and some people are just watching the series. You just want to take what suits the direction that you want.

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