Its 2:00 pm
A little while back,the cheetah and I reviewed the pilot film for a new series on the Hallmark Channel called “Signed,Sealed,Delivered” which featured four US Postal Service workers who run the Dead Letter Office in Denver,Colorado.
The series was created by Martha Williamson who also created the long running hit show “Touched By An Angel”. When the pilot film did well,Hallmark decided to make it a series. But as with most cable shows,a normal season’s run of episodes is generally around 10 and that is how many episodes “SSD” got in its only season. Not very much time but the stories it tells are worth sharing.
When we left our four main characters,Oliver O’Toole (Eric Mabius),Shane McInerney (Kristin Booth),Rita Haywith (Crystal Lowe) and Norman Dorman (Geoff Gustafson) at the end of the pilot movie,”Second Chances”,they had banded together to save a young man who was falsely accused of murder and reunite him with the love of his life. Shane,who had been assigned the wrong department and had ended up in the DLO,decided to stay as there seemed to be a small growing attraction to Oliver while Rita was in love with Norman who hadn’t a clue.
The series picks up right where the pilot film picks up except for one change,Daphne Zuniga,who was the supervisor of Oliver’s had been replaced by Valerie Harper. In what became a bit of a running joke,various well know faces like Harper,Della Reese and Marilu Henner make guest appearences all playing the role of Oliver’s boss. Some are very supportive,some are not and one becomes quite distracted in a very charming way.
The series format follows the same format as in “Second Chances”,each episode opens up with showing how a letter ends up in the DLO office,is selected by Oliver and the mystery is unraveled in the next hour.
The two main story arcs that run through the run of the series are the relationships among the main characters. The Oliver-Shane relationship is the more serious one as Oliver’s wife dumped him and moved to Paris,France. She told Oliver that she would write him once she was settled and he looks for her letter every day. But with each month going by,his hopes fade and when Shane pops up,Oliver is clearly attracted to her but the inner conflict he has often causes him to keep Shane at a distance which of course is confusing to Shane.
Mabius and Booth are lovely as Oliver and Shane. Oliver is true gentleman of yeteryear in his mannerisms and moral convictions and while that is completely refreshing to see,his lack of being flexible and thinking outside the box again shows this weakness of having such a narrow view of how the world works. This has caused him to keep losing important people in his personal life,including his wife. Shane is a rare chance for him to learn to be more open and that its okay to listen to one’s heart.
Kristin Booth’s portrayal as Shane is equally good. Shane has done very well professionally but her background has been fractured and fragmented. Her relationships with men,starting with her father,have always been a mystery to her. Her heart has always remained tender and the one quality I love about Shane is her patience,its a remakable trait for her to have retained considering her past.
Shane is very tech savvy and highly intelligent and in watching her clash with Oliver in “New World vs. Old World”fashion is a highlight of the series.
I wrote this in my past review but I’ll state it again,Kristin Booth has the most expressive eyes ever. You can see every emotion cross her face without her saying a word. The onscreen chemistry with Maibus and Booth is pretty wonderful and and while the series itself didn’t finish their story,the 11 movies that Hallmark released afterwards did continue to follow Oliver and Shane’s journey.
The other relationship between Rita and Norman is much more gentle and is often played for gentle laughs. Norman has no idea that Rita has fallen for him while Rita has no idea on how to tell him. Watching these two is a real delight and when Norman finally gets a clue and Rita gains self-confidence,the sparks really fly. While Norman and Rita’s journey also extends past the series run,they do find their way to each other as seen in the movies released after the series ended.
To me,as I stated before in my review of “Second Chances”,the most fun part about “Sign,Sealed,Delivered” is having Crystal Lowe as Rita. She is one of the most beautiful actresses working today and other then putting make-up on her,you can’t hide her beauty by putting dowdy clothes and a pair of glasses on her and expect us not see how pretty she is. Lowe does give Rita her shyness and uncertainness and does it very well but you can’t cover her looks up,she is stunning and anyone and everyone would notice that,including Norman. That isn’t Norman would so anything because of his own social awkwardness but he would definitely notice her.
I keep mentioning the “Signed,Sealed,Delivered” films because for some reason Hallmark only aired the original 10 episodes before cancelling the series and focus on making the films. While the films have done well and have been embraced by the fans,I think the 10 episodes were just fantastic. What I liked about the series was the casting of mostly unknown Canadian actors and actresses,not knowing who the cast was allowed the viewer to really focus on the stories and for such a short run,”SSD” delivered a lot of wonderful,bittersweet and emotional tales. When I say “unknown” actors and actresses,that applies to the general public. But us diehard Hallmark Channel fans will spot many well known faces in this series.
My two personal favorite episodes are “The Edge of Forever” in which a mother tries to connect two sisters whose relationship was broken on a tragic day in which each sister blames the other for.
The other episode is “The Treasure Box” in which Shane and Oliver are stuck in a bank vault and read other the love letters of a couple from long ago. The letters seem to speaking to them both about how beautiful love is and one has to take a chance because no one knows what tomorrow will bring. (actually,some of us do know).
“Signed,Sealed,Delivered” is definitely worth getting and that includes the 12 movies that go along with the series. I wish Hallmark had stayed with the traditional episode format and maybe feature one film between seasons but it is what it is.
You can find this series on Amazon or Ebay by now or you can buy the series through Hallmark’s website.
This review has taken me a week to write,it must be close to May.
The cheetah and I gave “Signed,Sealed,Delivered” two huge thumbs/4 paws up.