Pushing Daisies: The Complete First Season (2008) Review
(More customer reviews)Alternately funny and whimsical, PUSHING DAISIES is a visually distinctive romantic comedy that encompasses a truly winning mix of ingredients. With its modern fairy tale settings and exploding color schemes - along with perfect but unobtrusive narration by Broadway veteran Jim Dale - comparisons to the work of Tim Burton are all but unavoidable. (In a good way.)
As in his previous outing (DEAD LIKE ME), series creator Bryan Fuller explores the great beyond but this time the results are much more impressive. The entire series centers around Ned (an utterly charming Lee Pace), who - at an early age - discovers that he possesses the power to bring the dead back to life with just a touch of his finger. The tradeoff? If he touches that person again, they will remain dead forever. And leaving the dead resurrected for longer than a minute causes someone else in the immediate vicinity to die. Cruel? Perhaps. But the universe demands a cosmic balance - and this is its solution.
Ned - the owner of a fairly successful pie shop known as `The Pie Hole' - uses his unique gift to earn a living in two ways: His astonishing pies, where his special touch invigorates the fruit with incredible flavor; and helping a detective (Chi McBride), who accidentally witnessed Ned's gift first-hand, solve murder cases. How? He revives the victims long enough to find out who killed them and then the two of them split the reward money. This can, and usually does, lead to near dangerous adventures for the two of them. Sounds exciting - but as Ned's co-worker Olive (the adorable Kristin Chenoweth of Broadway's WICKED) points out, it's a detached, emotionally frigid existence.
That is, until Charlotte enters his life again.
Charlotte or "Chuck" as she is called (played by Brit actress Anna Friel), is the girl Ned loved as a child before she moved away. When Ned and the detective discover the murdered Chuck on one of their cases, Ned brings her back to life for a sizable reward but can't bring himself to kill her, creating this dilemma: Although Ned and Chuck are strongly drawn to each other, they can never, EVER touch.
PUSHING DAISIES is loaded with stars from film, TV and the stage (Paul Ruebens, Raul Esparza, Molly Shannon, Swoosie Kurtz, Ellen Greene, Christopher Seiber, Barbara Barrie, Grant Shaud - to name but a few), and it's clear that everyone is having a marvelous time. The series is filled with tons of clever touches and Lee Pace, full of childlike vulnerability, is an immensely likable lead. His palpable longing for Anna Friel's Chuck is both sweet and touching. Seldom, however, has a series predicated on keeping two characters romantically apart established such a seemingly insurmountable barrier to insure that they remain that way.
As long as the creators can sustain the high level of entertainment that the first (as of this writing) nine episodes have provided, one can only pray that this highly original and gorgeous looking television experiment keeps going for years to come.
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Every not-so-often, along comes a show that's different. Wonderfully different. Pushing Daisies, TV Guide's Matt Roush writes, "restores my faith in TV's ability to amuse, enchant and entertain." It's the story of Ned, a lonely pie maker whose touch can reanimate the dead. Cool, but there's a hitch. If Ned touches the person again, the miracle is reversed. If he doesn't, a bystander goes toes up. What to do? Easy: Team with a private eye, bring murder victims back just long enough to discover whodunit, and collect the rewards. Things go well until Ned's boyhood sweetie is the next dear departed, and he can't resist bringing her back for keeps! Dig the wit, style and quirky romance: If you're not laughing, you may need a visit from Ned.