Almost every year, there are inevitably those shows that may be difficult for the general public to really take a handle on. Despite the actual quality of the show itself, there exist certain irreverent aspects that sometimes are not able to translate to the mainstream. Pushing Daisies is one of those programs.
Written by "Dead Like Me" creator and former "Heroes" writer Bryan Fuller and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld of "Men in Black", "Pushing Daisies" tells the story of Ned (Lee Pace) who has the inexplicable ability to bring the dead back to life just by a touch. The only caveat to this gift is that if they stay alive more than a minute, someone dies in their place. And if he ever touches them again, they die again. This discovery was made as his mom kissed him goodnight as a child after suddenly dying from a brain aneurysm. In an attempt to honor his mother, he opens up a pie shop and distances himself from everyone in his life.
One such person he is distanced from is his childhood love, Charlotte "Chuck" Charles (Anna Friel) whose father he unexpectedly killed by keeping his mother alive for more than one minute. Kristin Chenoworth also stars as Ned's neighbor and employee at the pie store Olive, who is secretly in love with Ned and is curious as to why Ned seems to show no affection whatsoever for any living soul.
The only other person aware of Ned's gift is Private Detective Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) who witnessed the power when Emerson chased a suspect off the top of a building. Cod saw how he could exploit this power and entered into a business arrangement in which a person being murdered is brought back to life, tells them who the murderer was, and the two of them collect and split the reward. Their first big case happens to be solving the murder of Chuck and Ned, almost inadvertently, keeps Chuck alive. The rest of the subsequent episode is devoted to solving Chuck's murder.
The show has a very lighthearted vibe despite the premise being so heavy. Visiting murder victims and bringing them back for less than a minute at a time sounds much more morbid than it actually ends up being. Bryan Fuller has written an incredibly funny pilot which sets the stage for what could be an incredibly interesting show. A narrator humorously explains events and thoughts of the characters, which is not too different from the excellent contemporary classic "Amelie". This adds to the quirky atmosphere that so heavily permeates the program.
There is also the issue of the love between Ned and Chuck that can never be fully realized as a result of the fact that if he ever touches her again, she dies. What will be interesting to see is how this ultimately plays out and how the series will ultimately resolve this issues since it is one that truly defines the show.
What is mostly concerning is where they will go from here. Yes, Chuck's murder is one that needed solving but she was able to stay alive for more than one minute. Having this gift and keeping people alive for only one minute should be enough time to give them the information necessary to go straight to the source. Whether or not more situations like Chuck arrive in the future makes me wonder how much information can be given in one minute's time.
While the pilot was rather satisfying, I cannot help but wonder exactly how this level of quality will be maintained throughout the duration of the series. I will be watching this show with a high level of curiosity and could end up being one of the best if this quality continues.
"Pushing Daisies" airs Wednesdays 8/7C this Fall on ABC.