Pushing Daisies: Season 1
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Pushing Daisies: The Complete First Season (DVD)
This forensic fairytale follows Ned, a young man with a very special gift. As a boy, Ned discovered that he could return the dead briefly back to life with just one touch. Now a pie maker, Ned puts his ability to good use, not only touching dead fruit and making it ripe with everlasting flavor, but working with a private investigator to crack murder cases by raising the dead and getting them to name their killers. But the tale gets complicated when Ned brings his childhood sweetheart, Chuck, back from the dead -- and keeps her alive. Chuck becomes the third partner in Ned and Emerson's private-investigation enterprise, encouraging them to use Ned's skills for good, not just for profit. Life would be perfect for Ned and Chuck, except for one cruel twist: If he ever touches her again, she'll go back to being dead, this time for good.]]>
Pushing Daisies is many things at once: detective show, romantic comedy, whimsical fantasy and above all, a story about a guy who bakes pies and has the ability to bring dead people back to life. Somehow all of these things come together to make one of the most enjoyable, funny and bittersweet shows to come along in a long time. A lot of that magic comes from the near-perfect casting - Lee Pace (The Fall, Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day) as Ned the Piemaker is wonderfully reserved and adorably neurotic; his facial expressions alone provide some of the most moving and hilarious moments in the series. Anna Friel as Charlotte "Chuck" Charles, Chi McBride as Emerson Cod and Kristin Chenoweth as Olive Snook round out the regulars at the Pie Hole and veteran actresses Swoosie Kurtz and Ellen Greene are great as Chuck's eccentric aunts whose passions include synchronized swimming, amateur ornithology and rare cheeses. Pushing Daisies exists in a world where people regularly break out into song to express their feelings, where death is never gory and usually played for comic effect, and where every color on screen is richly saturated and vibrant, creating an oddly timeless Edward Scissorhands-like world.
Bryan Fuller, the creator of cult favorites Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls has perfected his style with Pushing Daisies; this series has a broader appeal than the previous shows. Each imaginatively produced episode has such snappy writing paired with ghoulish sensibilities, heart wrenching romance and classic caper-style crime fighting, making every moment completely un-missable. The DVD release of Season One contains all nine original episodes and a behind-the-scenes featurette. --Kira Canny
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The show deserved every one of the seven Emmy Awards it got (in addition to the other awards), and the ratings and cancellation seem to be more a reflection of the American public's desire for unoriginal, clichéd, unintelligent crime dramas and hospital dramas and celebrity dance-offs than a reflection on the brilliance of Pushing Daisies.
When I first watched it, it honestly reminded me of My Name is Earl, another show I LOVED, even though the two are wildly different from each other in tone and content. I think it reminded me of Earl because it is so utterly unique and unlike (almost) anything I'd ever seen before, and because of its rapid-fire, witty dialogue, its saturated color/aesthetic, and its wonderful music- although Pushing Daisies' music is decidedly more orchestral than Earl's. It's also very much like Monk in that each episode focuses on figuring out how and why someone has died as only it's unique protagonist can do- in this case, Ned asks the deceased people themselves and, with the help of Chuck and Emerson, builds on the clues they provide. Perhaps best of all, it truly feels like watching a Dr. Seuss movie with its lush colors- especially orange and green, its narrator, and its candy coating of whimsy. What other show can be described as talking to the dead with a candy coating of whimsy? None. If this sounds wonderful or even just intriguing to you, I highly recommend watching! It's an excellent show!
I could go on and on, but what's the point? The only thing that I have left to say is that if you are going to buy the box sets make sure you get them on Blu-Ray. The picture is phenomenal and well worth it even though they don't come with any extras.
We meet Ned when he's 9 years old and he discovers he's got a unique gift. If he touches anything dead, he can bring it back to life. BUT, if he touches it again, it's dead for good. And he also learns that in order to give something life, something else has to die. He later learns that he has a time limit of 60 seconds before something/someone dies for the thing/one that he ressurects. Crazy, huh?
But it's not just the situation of our principal character, it's the world in which he lives and works in. He brings back his childhood sweetheart Chuck, who was murdered, but she can't tell her beloved aunts she's not dead because they buried her. And the maddening consequence of their newfound relationship is they can't touch, or else she dies for good.
Our other characters, Emerson Cod, the PI that finds out about Ned's ability and uses it to awaken murdered people to find out who killed them and collect the rewards. Hey, they split the money! Olive Snook, the waittress of Ned's restaurant, The Pie Hole, who was once a top jockey and left after a bad race managed to kill a fellow competitor.
Like I said, a crazy world...but I think you'll love it!
For all that the show was about solving crimes (mostly murders), it never feels as bleak or as hopeless as other crime shows do. All of the characters are three-dimensional; none of them ever feel like caricatures or clichés. Even when they are the bad guys, you still identify with them a bit because they are shown as people and not just "bad guys".
It's such a shame the series didn't get renewed so we could stay a little longer in Coeur d'Coeurs; I really loved visiting.