In 2023, Hallmark will be releasing an ornament of Data with his pet cat, Spot. The ornament’s reproduces Data reciting Ode to Spot, a poem he wrote about his four-legged friend.
Spot, on the ornament, is represented as an American Shorthair but would appear in the fourth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation as a male Somali cat. In subsequent seasons, Spot would “become” a female American Shorthair. After Star Trek: The Next Generation, Spot would make appearances in two Star Trek movies. Years later, we would even see Spot II in Star Trek: Picard.
The 2023 ornament’s base was previously used by Hallmark on the 2017 Picard and Data ornament. The red and tan base, labeled Star Trek: The Next Generation, houses the circuitry and speaker for the audio recording.
In this year’s ornament, Data cradles Spot with his left arm, his right hand near the nape of his neck. Data’s use of his left arm to anchor the feline is a hint that the ornament is based off an on-screen image because Brent Spiner, too, is left-handed.
Data was not holding Spot when he recited Ode to Spot in the 6th season episode “Schisms”. Instead, Data was sitting, arms empty and by his side. In fact, the entire episode is Spot-less.
So, let’s try to find the moment that inspired the sculpt of the ornament by revisiting Spot’s television and big screen appearances.
Data holds Spot in a similar position as seen on the ornament in both “Data’s Day” and “In Theory” but Spot is not an American Shorthair in these episodes.
Data briefly holds Spot in a left-handed cradle in “A Fistful of Datas” but he never faces the camera in a useful way for an artist to use it as inspiration. In “Birthright I”, we briefly see Spot sitting in the Captain’s chair and in what may be the most factually accurate Star Trek moment ever…the cat just lies there.
“Descent II” can be ruled out since the only attention Spot receives is from Geordi. Spot is in three scenes in “Phantasms”, none of which have Data holding Spot as he does on the ornament. Instead, Data handles Spot in a two-handed hoisted position.
In “Force of Nature” Data, once again, holds Spot with both hands under her front two legs. Notably, in this episode, Spot is referred to as a female for the first time. Spot’s sex is definitively confirmed in “Genesis” when she gives birth to a litter of kittens. Still, Data never holds her as he does on the ornament.
Spot made her big screen debut appearing in two scenes of 1994’s Star Trek: Generations. The first scene, Data picks Spot up off the table. The second, Data holds spot close to his chest after discovering she survived the crash landing of the Enterprise-D. Neither resemble the ornament sculpt.
In Star Trek: Nemesis, Data’s brother, B-4 holds Spot in a similar position as the ornament. In a deleted scene from Nemesis, Worf and Geordi clean out Data’s room and Worf appears to take ownership of Spot as he cradles him right-handed.
Spot II appeared in Star Trek: Picard as an artificial life-form made in the likeness of an American Shorthair. Nothing in the episode seems to have inspired our ornament.
After reviewing Spot’s eleven screen appearances, we circle back to his first appearance in Star Trek: The Next Generation. The position of Spot’s left paw on the computer console is the first clue that the ornament was modeled after this moment in “Data’s Day” and not the scene from Star Trek: Nemesis. Further confirmation comes after comparing the position of Data’s arms and sleeve cuffs, they are nearly identical.
Hallmark appears to have used the image from “Data’s Day” when Data is seated and holding Spot at the computer console. The Somali breed that was used in the scene was substituted for the more common American Shorthair breed used in following seasons. The ornament shows Data standing and Hallmark needed to look no further than the 2017 Picard and Data ornament for a pair of Data legs and a Next Generation ornament base to place them on. Add the recording of Ode to Spot and we have the 2023 Data and Spot ornament!
Ode to Spot
Felis Catus is your
An endothermic quadruped
carniverous by nature
Your visual, olfactory,
and auditory senses
Contribute to your hunting skills
and natural defenses.
I find myself intrigued
by your sub-vocal oscillations
A singular development
of cat communications
That obviates your
basic hedonistic predilection
For a rhythmic stroking of your fur
to demonstrate affection.
A tail is quite essential
for your acrobatic talents
You would not be so agile
if you lacked its counterbalance
And when not being utilized
to aid in locomotion
It often serves to illustrate
the state of your emotion.
Oh Spot, the complex levels of-Lt. Commander Data
behavior you display
Denote a fairly well developed
And though you are not sentient,
Spot, and do not comprehend
I nonetheless consider you
a true and valued friend.
Other Artist Inspirations…
- 1992 Galileo Shuttlecraft
- 1995 Kirk
- 1996 Spock
- 1998 Janeway
- 1999 Enterprise Stamp
- 2000 Seven of Nine
- 2001 Q
- 2001 Sisko
- 2002 The Doctor
- 2003 Archer
- 2003 T’Pol
- 2003 The Scorpion
- 2004 “The City on the Edge of Forever”, 2005 “Locutus of Borg”, 2008 ”The Trouble with Tribbles”, 2009 ”The Menagerie”, 2010 ”Amok Time”, 2011 ”Mirror, Mirror”, 2012 ”An Extraordinary Meeting”, 2013 ”Arena”, 2014 ”The Devil in the Dark”, 2015 ”The Needs of the Many”, 2016 ”The Man Trap”, 2018 ”The Naked Time”, 2019 ”Saru and Burnham”
- 2007 Uhura *Red*, 2009 Uhura *Gold*, 2015 Legends: Uhura, 2020 Storytellers: Uhura
- 2008 Communicator, 2009 Phaser, 2018 Tricorder
- 2009 Ilia Probe
- 2010 Legends: Kirk, 2011 Legends: Spock, 2012 Legends: McCoy, 2013 Legends Scotty, 2014 Legends Sulu, 2015 Legends: Uhura, 2016 Legends: Chekov, 2018-19 Kirk QUOG
- 2014 Vina
- 2016 Enterprise ”Pilot” Painted
- 2016 ”To Boldly Go”
- 2018 M’Ress
- 2019 Tabletop Transporter
- 2020 Storyteller: Kirk, 2020 Storyteller: Sulu, 2020 Storyteller: Uhura, 2021 Storyteller Spock, 2021 Storyteller: Chekov
- 2021 Picard
- 2021 HMS Bounty
- 2022 Storyteller: Scotty
- 2022 Storyteller: McCoy