TV Review: ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’

Signed, Sealed, Delivered TV Review Hallmark

Martha Williamson's ode to the Postal Service is so old-fashioned and hokey, it just might work

Hallmark Channel is trying to replicate the soft-focus feel of its movies in series form, so why not go to the source? Exec producer Martha Williamson anchored CBS’ Saturday night for years with “Touched by an Angel,” and her new movie, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” was ordered as a series even before its premiere. Purposefully old-fashioned, shamelessly sentimental and proudly faith-based, the show plucks heartstrings with such unreserved conviction it will likely connect with a target audience prone to dismissing most of pop culture as one big cesspool. While too sappy for the cool kids, for Hallmark, it feels like the right package.

For starters, the premise and groan-inducing title have an almost unintentionally comical conceit: The U.S. Postal Service — a much-derided organization, running a massive deficit and struggling to survive the age of email — cast as intrepid heroes, repairing lives and piecing together happy endings. In an odd way, it might be the strangest conservative/liberal hybrid ever — giving a vote of confidence to government, while simultaneously displaying old-fashioned values and embracing God.

“Touched by a Postal Carrier” has a vaguely creepy ring to it, but the vibe here is closer to those Dear Santa Claus letters, with the postal carriers cast in the role of righting wrongs and making wishes come true.

The show is set in the Dead Letter Office, where investigator Oliver (“Ugly Betty’s” Eric Mabius) almost feels like a 1950s anachronism when he bumps into his new colleague Shane (Kristin Booth), who is of course more plugged into the electronic age. But with his two quirky co-workers (Crystal Lowe, Geoff Gustafson), they are soon thrown into a mystery about a cancer-stricken girl (Laci J. Mailey) and the cheerful guy (Benjamin Hollingsworth) with whom she spent a magical day before trying to send him an explanatory letter that never got there.

Like all Hallmark movies, the premise is constructed in such a way that you can see every beat telegraphed (or in this case, pre-addressed) well in advance, which serves to both make viewers feel smart and wrap them in a warm blanket of familiarity. As a bonus, Williamson doesn’t spare the saccharine, with schmaltzy backstories for the two leads, although as a series, the show will have an almost-anthology-like feel, helping a different member of the postally challenged each week.

“This is a high calling, indeed,” Oliver says near the beginning, later noting that the postal service “cannot play God.”

Maybe not, but they can certainly play at catering to an audience hungry for such squeaky-clean fare — and in crass commercial terms, Hallmark (which recently introduced “Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove”) needs to attract a lot less of them than CBS ever did to look like heroes.

Hokey isn’t particularly fashionable, but commercially speaking there is a place for it. For that reason, while the future of the Postal Service doesn’t appear particularly bright, the outlook for Williamson’s ode to it just might be.

TV Review: 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered'

(Movie; Hallmark Channel, Sat. Oct. 12, 9 p.m.)

Production

Filmed in Vancouver by Special Delivery TeleProductions in association with MoonWater Productions and Muse Entertainment.

Crew

Executive producers, Martha Williamson, Joel S. Rice, Michael Prupas, Scott Smith; producer, Harvey Kahn; director, Smith; writer, Williamson; camera, Adam Sliwinski; production designer, Renee Read; editor, Lisa Binkley; music, Hal Beckett; casting, Jackie Lind, Shana Landsburg. 120 MIN.

Cast

Eric Mabius, Kristin Booth, Daphne Zuniga, Crystal Lowe, Geoff Gustafson, Laci J. Mailey, Benjamin Hollingsworth

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  1. Gail Beese says:

    My husband and I are in our late 60’s. The two part show called “Truth be Told” and “The Impossible Dream” are the best television shows we have seen. This decision was after much discussion between us. Not sure how or where to say this to benefit the show. We do enjoy every episode.

  2. B W S says:

    This movie is the BEST ! Full of hope and faith and love, all of which is good for the nourishment and preservation of mankind! Looking so forward to the series!

  3. Jerri says:

    I was flipping through channels and this one got my attention, since I am a postal employee. I really enjoyed the show and look forward to the series.

  4. Vicki Keller says:

    When will next show be on. It’s not this Saturday cause I looked. I’ve been telling everybody on Save the Glades Facebook page since I think.this and Cedar Cove are both so good. Watch the Hallmark movies too.

  5. Vicki Keller says:

    I loved Signed Sealed and Delivered as well as Cedar Cove. I would love to see Hallmark pick up the Glades that was misshandled by A&E. Had good #s for 4 seasons, a huge cliffhanger and was dropped leaving almost 4 million very unhappy viewers. If they aren’t going to give them another chance Hallmark would be perfect.

  6. In a mass of vile and throwaway shows on today’s television networks, It is a welcome sight to appreciate the genius of Martha Williamson again, she is the writer for this new series “Signed, Sealed and Delivered “ which just premiered on the Hallmark network. Martha held us captive to the respected, “Touched by an Angel” in the past and present in reruns. . Martha Williamson has a history of imagination in writing, which always includes faith and novel character development of the cast. I do believe there is a never-ending ground for story direction in this show. The payoff will hopefully land a lasting heritage to good acting meshed with a profound plot. This show reminds viewers why we loved, and still love “Touched by an Angel’. Hallmark again has charted another incredible new series, Debbie Macomber’s “Cedar Cove”. Both of these new shows have once more struck at our heart stings with excellence in performance, while encouraging family values. The only other choice we have is to view shows that are mostly void of value in today’s, “anything goes mindset”. Today’s top network series are forcing us to be brainwashed to accept hollow plots that can’t be remembered the next day. Congratulations Hallmark for a new series that many people are hungry to see. I also love the respect given to the postal workers who have given their lives to a job that the social and digital network is trying to murder. I do know that for real this plot can’t be done in the real world. I beg for more stories that are honest and bring tears, laughter and joy while searching for high ideals that many viewers pursue every day in their own lives. The insult occurs when they return home to be entertained, they become buried by trash television. ‘Signed, Sealed, and Delivered’, is not only refreshing, but critical in lifting our spirits and souls in a confused, lost and struggling world…most viewers have either sold out, or given up.

  7. In a mass of vile..meaningless televion shows on today’s networks…it. is so refressing to see imagination….faith..and great character development of a cast…I do believe there is an neverending ground for story direction that will land…a lasting heritage to good acting…meaningful plot…that will remind viewers why we loved ”Touched By an Angel’ so much. Hallmark again…as in the incredible new series “Cedar Cove”…has stuck our heartstings with quality and family values that are void in the ‘any thing goes’ mindset that adults and families are being brainwashed to accept.. Congratulations Hallmark for a new series that many people are hungry to see. I also love the respect given to the postal workers who have given their lives to a job that the social network has sseemed to murder. I do know that for real this plot can’t be done in the real world. I beg for more stories that are honest and bring tears..joy and a searching for high ideals that many viewers pursue every day in their lives while being burrried by trash television. ‘Signed..Sealed…And Delivered’ is not only refreshing…but critcal in lifting the spirits and souls of a lost world who has either sold out…or given up.

  8. I am so glad Martha Williamson is back. Loved Touch by an Angel and now loving her new show!!!!

  9. Jo Anne Cox says:

    The background music is too too loud…..to hear any conversation…..please tune down the background music……the same was so so true for Cedar Cove….Hallmark Channel’s background music is to loud.
    My friends say the same is true but do not know how to connect the Hallmark Channel Executives to make them aware of this issue.

    • Barb says:

      The background music is way to loud… and the mics the actors/actress’s use are worthless. You can only make out about a forth of the words they say and I am an avid Hallmark Channel watcher. I don’t notice this on other channels. Sure would be nice to be able to understand the speaking… would make the movies much more enjoyable!! Hope Hallmark takes care of the problem!

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