Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fall TV Preview - Pushing Daisies - Pilot Training

Pushing Daisies - Pie-lette - directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
Premieres Wednesday October 3rd, 8pm on ABC, Tuesday October 2nd, 8pm on CTV

At this point, we've all heard so much about Pushing Daisies and how great it is from the critics and bloggers. So can it really hold up to its hype? Yes. Yes it can. Did it blow me away like the pilot for Lost? No. But it wasn't meant to. In fact (and this is when I need to start pulling out the thesaurus), Pushing Daisies was weird and wonderful, morbidly magical, like a fairytale movie that had a sweet sweet heart. I think the show is more meant to enrapture, than blow you away.

I have no idea how the show will continue its high standards (something I worried about last year when I saw the pilot for Friday Night Lights, which ended up being the best show on TV) but based on the pilot, I'm super excited.

People have thrown around the words "quirky" and "Tim Burton-esque" but its WAY beyond that and yet much less quieter and comfortable. The show is like a dented fairy tale, with Jim Dale narrating the story of Ned (Lee Pace) who has an amazing gift to bring back people from the dead. Only there are rules to his gift, one being that if the person stays alive longer than a minute, another person dies in their place. The other is, if Ned touches that person again, they will die permanently. Ned owns a pie shop and works with Olive (Kristin Chenowith, Wicked) but does a side business of solving murders with his power with partner Emerson (Chi McBride, Boston Legal). Ned ends up reviving his childhood love Chuck (Anna Friel) and leaves her alive, and a blossoming romance begins, but Ned can never touch her, or else she dies forever. Chuck also lived with her aunts (Swoosie Kurtz (Sisters) and Ellen Greene) who round out the cast.

Everything about the show, the sets, lighting, mood, humour, casting is superb and film director Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black) and writer Bryan Fuller (Heroes, Wonderfalls) make it a joyous little romance, but if anything is going to keep people around after this perfect little pilot, it's Lee Pace as Ned. Lee Pace is simply charming as Ned and as I've said before, has deserved to be a bigger star than he is (who? exactly) (then again, so did his Wonderfalls co-star Caroline Dhavernas).

So, if the pilot was all that was ever made, so be it, because it basically wraps itself up like a mini-movie. The pilot itself is 5 stars (*****) but I'm giving the show as a whole 4.5 stars (****1/2) mainly because I'm reluctant to give anything 5 stars right off the bat and many shows can succeed or fail (see Traveler) in subsequent episodes. Still, kudos to ABC for taking strong but undefinable pilots to a new level (see Lost, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty) and for promoting the hell out of Pushing Daisies (at least it seemed so in New York).

Here's the promo clip again that I've posted before:

Lee Pace

Anna Friel

Chi McBride

Swoosie Kurtz

Kristin Chenowith

Ellen Greene


Anonymous said...

I'm so reluctant to watch b/c I know I'll love it and I also know a show this good has a lot working against it: mainly, good shows don't survive (Wonderfalls, Arrested Development) and shit ones do (2 and a Half Men). But I WILL watch!

AH said...

Great show here's my review