(I was sent a free DVD of this show in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.)
If you have followed me on twitter for a while, you might remember that I used to tweet about a show called Signed, Sealed, Delivered, and in truth it occupied the majority of my tweets. I was one of the show’s top supporters, and I campaigned hard for a second season of this fabulous Hallmark show. When it did not happen, I was disappointed to be sure, but I was glad to see that they brought it back with a series of movies (one which airs on June 6–look for that review Saturday morning). It will always hold a special place in my heart, and it is an honor now to review the first (and only) season of this phenomenal show.
This is one of those shows that captivated me from the beginning. I won’t review the pilot movie that launched this show (hopefully that will be released at a later time), but if you ever get to see that pilot, the rest of the shows are much easier to comprehend. However, even without the pilot, you can jump right in on the action. Additionally, if you happened to order an early copy of this DVD, note that there was an issue with the sound on two episodes, and the company is willing to exchange (that is in the process for me right now). But that is another story.
Martha Williamson is the marvelous creator of this show. I will admit that I never watched Touched by and Angel (I know, where was I?), but I knew of that show’s fame. This show really only compares to that show in that there is spiritual significance, and it’s a thoroughly clean show. Every episode is packed with inspiration and generally a Bible verse (this show is very Christian in nature–for me a big selling point).
On the show, there are two couples, and this couple is my favorite (though I love both couples). Prior to this show, I had never seen Eric Mabius nor Kristin Booth in anything (no I only discovered Ugly Betty as a result of this show). Oliver (Eric Mabius) is a strong Christian whose wife abandoned him two years ago, and he continues to believe she will return one day. Shane (Kristin Booth) is the tech-savvy worker who has been hurt in the past by men, and she truly has no time for Oliver’s old-fashioned ideals. The interesting thing is that the chemistry between these two characters is almost instant and electrifying. If you believe opposites attract, this couple demonstrates this skillfully. Eric and Kristin are sheer heaven on the screen together, and I watched with keen interest as their story unfolded. The reason they resonate with me is I’m a cross between the two of them. I’m a Christian divorcee myself, and I’m tech savvy. However, I also love the written word (as does Oliver), and his values and outlook on life make perfect sense to me. But Shane’s insatiable curiosity is something that can be a downfall of mine as well.
As much as I love Oliver and Shane, this couple truly runs a close second. Rita (Crystal Lowe) and Norman (Geoff Gustafson) are an indomitable couple that provides humor, heart, and a bit of quirkiness. Rita has a photographic mind and is rather unsure of herself but is confident that she has loved Norman for so long. Norman is the ultimate “I’m-in-my-own-world” guy who normally is not too switched-on to reality. However, just when you think he is not too bright, he comes up with something so brilliant that he saves the day. He is an incredibly funny and likable guy. The chemistry between these two is unusal but always oodles of fun. As we watch their story unfold, we are convinced that they belong together, but uncertainty is keeping them apart.
In addition to these two couples, you can count on an emotionally-charged story and phenomenal guest stars. In fact, in this first (and only) season, you will witness the talents of Della Reese, Valerie Harper, Carol Burnett, Valerie Bertinelli, and Marilu Henner.
As Norman Dorman, Geoff Gustafson absolutely stole my heart. I had never seen this talented (and sometimes quirky) actor in anything else until I saw him in this series. From the moment he strolled onto the screen, I knew I wouldn’t be able to ignore this character . In fact, seeing Geoff as anyone else but Norman would be exceptionally hard to do (but no doubt he could accomplish this feat). It is extremely hard to divorce his portrayal from who he is as an actor and person, but I would say that is merely a testament to his skill.
He provides such incredible humor, and he always delivers it effortlessly. One of my favorite episodes in which he gets the chance to shine is the season finale “A Hope and a Future” since he gets some great screen time with the master comedienne Carol Burnett.
One more thing. Don’t ever expect Geoff to be overly active on social media. However, don’t underestimate him either. You just never know when he might show up. And with one word, he can baffle and entertain his followers (yes, I speak from experience–some very choice memories of my interactions with him).
Crystal Lowe is the consummate Rita Haywith, and she portrays her with utmost perfection and sensitivity. This woman brings so much authenticity to the role of the #Postable (that is what this group of postal detectives is called) who has a photographic memory, runs for Miss Special Delivery, and still is very unsure of herself. It is that self-consciousness that keeps her from pursuing the only man she has ever wanted (Norman). Before this show, I had not seen Crystal in anything else, but I anticipate seeing plenty more in the future. (The woman is absolutely gorgeous by the way–you must check out her other pictures online as she looks far different when not made up as Rita.)
One other thing about this lovely lady. She is one of the friendliest actresses on social media, and she understands the value of social media promotion. She also shares a lot of herself with her fans. Additionally, she remembers unique things about some of her fans (she was fascinated with my goats– I sent her pictures and she never forgot that). Maybe she is somewhat like the character she portrays?
Kristin Booth is another one of those sweet and kind actresses who captivates me on and off the screen. As Shane McInerney, she is absolute perfection. I had not seen Kristin in anything previously, but I have since. And in my humble opinion, this role represents possibly her finest work to date. She immerses herself so much in the role that I never questioned her authenticity.
When you see her interactions with her co-star (I’ll cover him briefly in a moment), you will probably be as entertained as I. The chemistry between all four principals is positively mind-boggling, but there is something special about these two. They play off each other expertly, and they are the ideal foils for one another. Much of the humor is higher level and ironic, but it is impeccable. They were my favorite couple and still are (yes I love Norman and Rita too, but these two just stole my heart).
How on earth can I even begin to review the amazing Eric Mabius? Where on earth have I been hiding since I never saw him anything prior to this show? I remember how taken I was with his portrayal of Oliver O’Toole from the very beginning. And he also has the distinctive honor of being the first “celebrity” to respond to one of my tweets. (I can still recall just how elated I was.)
While all the actors on the show are unbelievably amazing, I have to admit that Eric Mabius brings something special and exceptional to his character that just enthralls me. I mean, while he is rather handsome (I seem to remember making him blush once), there is much more to this skilled actor. I have had the pleasure of seeing him in other works since first seeing him in this show, and he always immerses himself in his roles. He also always pays attention to the details which bring the characters he portrays to life. With Oliver, the level of authenticity is pure poetry in motion. He invariably has the correct inflection, facial expression, tone inflection–honestly Eric is a master actor and certainly one of the finest ones around in this day and age.
There is something else I truly admire about Eric. He puts his family first and not his career. I did plenty of reading about him and watched many interviews once I discovered who he was. You won’t find him nor his family showing up in the gossip columns, and for all of this, I salute him. Though not always incredibly active on social media, he does post here and there, and you just never know when he might respond. I also know that this series holds a very special place in his heart.
An avid #Postable (who is also one of the administrators of the facebook group) made this very special fan art for me of my two favorite episodes–nine and ten. I still recall how many times I watched episode nine (it generally brought me to tears), and the cliffhanger of episode ten truly tugged at my heartstrings. This was the show where I discovered the art of “live tweeting” with the cast (an art form that completely changed my life forever). While this show was on, it was my favorite show, and the memories from this period in my life will always last. Be sure to watch out for my review of their upcoming movie on June 6 (I plan to post Saturday morning) as it is the finest thing from the series to date. You will not be disappointed.
For more information on this amazing series, check out the following: