Saturday, 3 January 2009

Favourite TV Shows 2008 - #04 Pushing Daisies

I've been dreading doing this post for a while. Season 2 of Pushing Daisies kicked off with a really great episode however then we got to see the ratings. What was the highest rated new show of 2007 was suddenly down 50% of its viewers from last year. So every week I watched knowing that unless the ratings drastically improved, the show would join shows like Firefly and Veronica Mars in the cancellation pile.

Then it happened.

On Thursday 20th November, it was announced that Pushing Daisies had been canceled and my heart broke. Here we have one of the most original shows of the past decade being canceled whilst a show like Knight Rider is allowed to live (however the good news of this is that Knight Rider probably won't make it to a second season, it is also an early pick for IaSG14's challenge). Pushing Daisies only managed to air 10 episodes this year however this episodes were of such an amazing consistency that this really was the only place for it.

However this post isn't about mourning but about celebration. We still have three episodes of Pushing Daisies left to air this year (if ABC does actually air them), and all ten episodes aired in 2008 were more than enough to get Pushing Daisies a place on this list. So without further ado let's get into the main plot.

Pushing Daisies is a procedural. Each work someone dies and it is up to Ned (superbly played by Lee Pace) and Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) to track down the killer. However Ned has the power to bring back the dead. However if he keeps them alive for more than a minute then someone else has to die. This also means that he cannot touch anyone whom he has brought back or they'll die. This proves to be a problem because he has brought back his true love Chuck (Anna Friel). So the series is essentially a romance crime show with a load of fantastical elements. However the show moved more into a serial nature this season with some key stories such as one of Chuck's aunts turning out to be her mother, Emerson looking for his daughter, Ned trying to escape his father and Chuck bringing her father back from the dead. All of these played out wonderfully. However it's just a shame that I'm never going to get a proper conclusion to any of them (apart from Emerson's daughter if ABC actually release the last three episodes).

Alright so first of all Pushing Daisies is exceedingly quirky. It has it's own style that really benefits the series because it just perfectly suits it. Everything is just so quirky and colourful. Season 1 is available on blu-ray so if have a blu-ray player go out and buy (although the cheapest I've seen it is about £20 which is still about £2 for an episode). The show really does have an amazing sense of style with everything looking gorgeous and quirky. It's the sort of thing Tim Burton might do if he wasn't so into the colour black. The set design is also exquisite and you can just tell that it would have cost a lot to make and also an awful lot of love. Which not ironically is what the show is about.

The wordmanship of Pushing Daisies is also great, which has to go to Bryan Fuller. Each episode is backed full of sly little jokes (quite often innuendo such as in the latest episode the truck named Mother having MILF printed on the back) as well cute little things such as almost everything being doubled named. Such as Coeur d'Coeur, and The Darling Mermaid Darlings. Plus there's singing!!! Kristin Chenowith who plays Olive is luckily a Broadway singer so her voice is actually really good (just like Neil Patrick Harris') and every so often we get a song which just adds to the quirky nature of the shower. Luckily Bryan Fuller also knows how to develop the shows story and I would say that there was only one episode which didn't maintain the high quality of the rest of the season and that was only because it wasn't actually involved in the main story.

Side note: Bryan Fuller is one of the best writers in the industry and whilst Pushing Daisies had to die for it to happen, he's going back to Heroes and will hopefully salvage the end of Season 3 (although it's not going to be easy)

Pushing Daisies is one of the best shows on TV at the moment and deserved more love than it got. However it was just too quirky for television. A show about a pie maker who can bring the dead back to life simply wasn't going to last long. Luckily it made it two season (although the number of episodes is that of a full single season) which is a damn side more than other shows get (Firefly got 15). So go out and try and find this show on DVD. Season 2 improved on Season 1 in nearly every way imaginable and was just amazing television. It's bound to go down as a cult classic. I just hope that we actually get the movie and comic series. I mean goddammit there are so many lose ends. Who is Ned's dad? What is up with Dwight Dixon? What happened to Oscar Vibenius at the end of Season 1? What about Dilly Balsam? Will Ned and Chuck ever get together?

So now I just want to have a moment of silence for the show that was one of the most refreshing shows ever and really didn't deserve what happened to it.

Tomorrow we move onto the Top Three. I hope there are some surprises (although not it probably won't happen).

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