Hallmark Channel’s ode to the post office Signed, Sealed, Delivered asks what happens when your mail gets touched by an angel.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered airs on the Hallmark Channel at 8pm on Sundays.
The staff of the postal service’s dead letter office reunites mail with its intended recipients, though the contents of the letters point to deeper problems that need solving.
The show’s executive producer is Martha Williamson, who was behind the insanely popular series Touched by an Angel. EP Joel S. Rice has done a lot of work with Lifetime, ABC Family, and the Hallmark Channel, so he should have a pretty good handle on the audience and style.
Who is Signed, Sealed, Delivered For?
Fans of Touched by an Angel who find the reruns of Murder, She Wrote too taxing and Golden Girls too vulgar. Also philatelists.
Hallmark fully understands its television brand and this show captures the brand perfectly. The premise of the show is kind of interesting, in that I wouldn’t mind seeing how actual mail detectives do their job. I doubt by itself the job would be enough to fill even a half-hour of television, which is why the show is populated with kooky characters. There’s straight-laced Oliver (Eric Mabius) who takes his job way too seriously, über-nerd Rita (Crystal Lowe), somewhere-on-the-spectrum Norman (Geoff Gustafson), and other main cast member Shane (Kristin Booth). The manager of the dead letter office will be a rotating slate of guest stars, including Valerie Harper, Della Reese, Dick Van Dyke, and Carol Burnett.
What Doesn’t Work
While Hallmark fully understands its brand, it does not think much of its audience. Signed, Sealed, Delivered is SUPER dumb. If I suspected for half a second that Hallmark had a sense of irony, this show would come across as mean-spirited. Resource management alone on this show is insane, with four people spending at least two full days working on one letter, with most of that time spent on the problems external to the delivery. No wonder the post office is broke.
Also, the show is too old fashioned for its own good. Yes, Hallmark has a vested interest in promoting postal delivery, but there are other aspects that take this show out of time that make zero sense. In the opening scene of the pilot, a nine-year-old kid named “Owen” sneaks out of his house to mail a letter. As he unlocks his bicycle, he checks his analog watch. This kid is not steampunk: what nine-year-old wears a leather-strapped analog watch?
The stakes in the pilot episode also demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of how witness protection and local vs. federal law enforcement operates. “Owen” apparently witnessed a drug sale (probably pot instead of kilos of cocaine) and is the star witness. He was moved into witness protection, but stayed local and within 30 miles of his grandmother. The drug dealer’s girlfriend got a job at the grandmother’s senior living facility so that she could track down “Owen.” Slow clap, witness protection. It turns out “Owen” was able to get out to a mailbox because the cops watching his house would leave at 9pm every night to get dinner. Because it requires both officers to operate a drive thru? Several plot devices later, the postal team(?) captures the girlfriend and she’s arrested by local police. The officer announces all the federal charges as he puts her into the car, which a) how would he know? and b) Law & Order shows us time and again that you just need the one charge to arrest.
As with most Hallmark Channel original productions, I found myself interested enough to watch for 15 minutes1, disdainful during act II2, and resigned to watching through the end of the final act because I had already invested too much time to quit.3 Signed, Sealed, Delivered works if you are already in the market for Hallmark movies, but don’t go out of your way to search for this show, even with the promise of a classic TV guest star.