Released to coincide both with Christmas 2006 and the 40th anniversary of the launch of the original Star Trek, this year’s main Star Trek Christmas ornaments are a testament to just how far we’ve come from the original NCC-1701 ornament – assuming that engineering is on the ball and everything is working.
15 years after Hallmark launched its wildly-successful, long-running line of Star Trek ship ornaments, this year they return to where it all started: the classic Enterprise. Modeled after that original ornament, this year’s Enterprise ornament can be hung on the tree or displayed on a special stand bearing the 40th anniversary logo. Unlike the original, however, this Enterprise only lights up when attached to its stand – if you’re lucky. The one I got didn’t fit very snugly on the stand – in order to take photos or video of it fully lit up, I literally had to rubber band the ship down to the base. This may just be a flaw with the one I acquired, but if not, it’s a big disappointment. It’s a gorgeous little likeness of the ship, though, and may finally soothe those collectors who missed out on the low-key release of the 1991 Enterprise ornament, which now goes for crazy collectors’ prices.
The real gem of this year’s Hallmark lineup is the classic series Transporter Chamber ornament. As with the display base of the Enterprise, it’s powered by 3 AAA batteries and is otherwise self-sufficient, though there’s a way to poke a single mini bulb light through the back. When you press the button on the base, a sequence of sound effects and LED lights begins to simulate Kirk, Spock and Scotty beaming down. (Yes, it would make more sense for it to be McCoy, but by substituting Scotty we get three characters in different colored uniforms.) It’s a nifty little piece that’s suitable for display year-round.
But again, the transporter can be a bit flaky – if the batteries in it aren’t almost-fresh-out-of-the-package, the sequence of sounds and lights won’t play all the way through.
An honorable mention goes to the 2005 Enterprise ornament as well, a very nice, subtly-lit replica of the movie Enterprise (you know, the one that everyone regards as the Enterprise-A). My only quibble with it is that the warp engines’ inside faces light up, as opposed to the outside (which would seem to make more sense, but may have been a limitation of the intertnal lighting/wiring), and even then that’s more of a minor mystery than a real live complaint. I wish the new version of the classic Enterprise had been more like this one, in fact – though that might’ve made it a little too close to the original for some diehard collectors’ comfort.