Friday, December 1, 2017

About Twenty Years Too Late, The 2017 Scully & Mulder Ornament Underwhelms.

The Good: Good sculpt, Decent sound effect
The Bad: Very animated coloring, No light effect, Good balance
The Basics: So long after The X-Files was popular and commercially-viable for collectors, Hallmark released the Scully & Mulder ornament, which felt very much like the afterthought it was.

Every phenomenon that becomes big has its day and then fades. Even some of the biggest genre phenomenons, like Star Trek and Star Wars had had their ebbs and flows, their periods where the collectibles market for their products simply collapses or lays fallow. Despite the recent revival mini-series (and the threat of a second one forthcoming!), it has been a long, long time since collectors have made The X-Files a commercially-viable property for licensers. Despite that, for 2017 Hallmark made an ornament for The X-Files: Scully & Mulder. And, as far as that goes, the two essential characters for the franchise sharing an ornament makes a great deal of sense.

For those unfamiliar with Scully & Mulder, they are the F.B.I. agents (for the bulk of the series, anyway) who investigate The X-Files (reviewed here!) in the basement of the Hoover Building in Washington, D.C. The X-Files are forgotten, unsolved cases with a supernatural and/or occult nature to them: Mulder inherited an interest in the cases and Scully was assigned to the unit in the hopes of debunking his work. Over the course of many years and many cases, the skeptical Scully began to accept many of the extreme entities and occurrences represented in the X-Files without ever abandoning her scientific methodology.

Hallmark released the Scully & Mulder ornament with little fanfare in October 2017 and the ornament features Scully & Mulder on a base that allows it to have a sound function.


The Scully & Mulder ornament faithfully recreates the two F.B.I. agents, standing side by side on a black base. Scully & Mulder are well-sculpted and well-molded and they generally look like the characters they are supposed to. The suits Scully & Mulder are wearing look very professional and the ornament was clearly sculpted based upon the promotional images from the early seasons of The X-Files. This ornament is powered by very small watch batteries (included!) which allow the sound effect to be activated.

The 2017 Scully & Mulder ornament is sculpted very simply; the characters, for example, lack finer sculpted details like texturing on the hair or fingernails. Scully is standing with her arms crossed, so Hallmark was able to cheat some of the detailing that way. The facial sculpt for Mulder, sadly, looks nothing like David Duchovny. The pair of agents, in ornament form, stands 5” tall, 2 3/8“ wide and 2” deep. This makes it one of the bigger character ornaments this season from Hallmark and it was released with an original retail price of $17.95, which is pretty fair given that it has the sound function.

Scully & Mulder stands upon a base that has the The X-Files title in the appropriate typeface across the front. Unfortunately, the base - simple and glossy black outside the lettering - outshines the character component of the ornament. Mulder and Scully are painted in monotones, so they look animated, a far cry from anything realistic. The coloring is a huge disappointment, but given that the sculpts are generally good, one suspects a good toy customizer could make the ornament look immaculate with a new paintjob!


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the Scully & Mulder could have a light and sound function. The Scully & Mulder ornament only has a sound function. While I thought it might be cool for the ornament's base to light up (especially if they could make the light strong enough to look like one of the usual U.F.O. lights), Hallmark went only with a sound function for the 2017 ornament.

However, a button on the base, when pressed, activates the sound function. When pressed, the battery-operated ornament begins to play the opening theme to The X-Files. The theme is a distinctive one and it fits the ornament nicely. Because the 2017 Scully & Mulder ornament is based on promotional images and not a specific moment from the long-running show, the theme song being the audio clip makes a lot more sense than any dialogue from the show. The sound clip is loud, long, and distinct!


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Scully & Mulder ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. For those creating the ultimate science fiction Christmas Tree, the Scully & Mulder ornament is a conceptually great addition, with a mediocre execution. The ornament has the standard steel hook loop embedded into the back of Mulder's right shoulder. From that point, the Scully & Mulder ornament hangs perfectly level.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas from virtually every major franchise, including retro television shows like Battlestar Galactica, Cheers and Star Trek. The Scully & Mulder ornament appears to have been slightly overproduced as I have not found a single Hallmark Gold Crown store where the ornament was stock and sold out. Between the quality and the fact that the ornament is hitting the market about 20 years after the peak of The X-Files, it is hard to imagine that this one will sell-out and appreciate in the secondary market.


Fans of the The X-Files, Scully & Mulder and Hallmark ornaments are unlikely to be impressed enough with the 2017 Scully & Mulder ornament to want to rush right out and add it to their collection . . . unless they are into customizing their ornaments!

For other 2017 Hallmark genre ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
A Duel To The Death Star Wars ornament
Gringott's Wizarding Bank Harry Potter ornament
Captain Picard And Commander Data Star Trek: The Next Generation ornament


For other ornament reviews, please visit my Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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