I want to make something very clear: Pushing Daisies is not the greatest television show of all time. It is certainly not perfect, containing a few flaws that are somewhat concerning even. However, the reason for the critical and internet buzz surrounding the series is simple: out of this year’s crop of new shows, Pushing Daisies is the only one that approaches a level of imagination and potential worth talking about.
The story of Ned is simple: he can bring things back to life with his touch. Unfortunately, if he touches them again, they die for good. And, if they stay alive for more than one minute, someone else has to die in their place. He uses this ability to solve crimes, but one day finds a more pressing reason: resurrecting his long lost love. The scenario that follows is charming, engaging, and by far the best pilot of the year (Cultural Learnings’ Review).
I know that there might even be a level of critical backlash against the show for how much time critics spend talking about it, so in deciding the reasons to watch the series I am going to ignore the standard critical lauds in favour of some of the show’s simpler and more relative aspects. These are the six reasons why, tonight at 8pm on ABC, you should seat your butts in front of your television and be transported into the land of Pushing Daisies.
6. Digby/Orbit the Dog
I’m a sucker for a golden retriever under normal circumstances, but Digby (Stunningly portrayed by Orbit the Dog) is another breed altogether. Resurrected by Ned when he first discovered his powers to bring people back to life, he is only ever petted with a hand on a stick and by those around him. Rescued from tragedy, has he not reemerged into a torturous life? This complex character is by far a highlight of the pilot.
There’s a reason that the show’s premiere features the overly cute title of “Pie-lette”; it’s because of the near food pornography present within the series. If you have a taste for pastry, the show is sure to delight your senses with its three-plum and rhubarb delights. They might be Ned’s obsession, but pies are visual and sensual delights: we need Smell-o-vision. And I don’t even LIKE pie.
4. Emerson/Ned: Buddy Comedy at its Finest
The young pie maker removed from the real world and the cynical private eye who wants to take advantage of him: Ned and Emerson are a team worth watching, and a team with a great deal of potential. Much like Bryan Fuller’s Dead Like Me, the relationship between these twisted crime-solvers is a great presentation of human interaction.
3. Jim Dale: Narrator Extraordinaire
He’s the voice of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter audiobooks, but now he’s the voice of the season’s best new show. His narration is what gives the show its whimsical fairy tale thematic, and unlike some voiceover you feel as if it is necessary to the show’s development. Even with its procedural elements, Dale’s soothing narrative is what sets it apart from the rest of the crop.
2. Bryan Fuller’s Playful Banter
“Please don’t attack the window treatments” may well be my favourite line in the entire pilot, and it comes after a rapid fire and emotional exchange. What I love about Fuller’s banter is that it feels natural even when it is written in its verbose fashion: the direction complements it, as scenes which could be melodramatic are all part of the show’s charm. I can only hope that future episodes from the rest of the writing staff keep it up.
1. The Future of Television
I am generally concerned for the fate of television if Pushing Daisies fails. It would prove that the networks are right: there is no place for a creative show within a sea of crime dramas and unimaginative concepts. For the sake of this medium, you need to at least give the show a chance; the future of television depends on it.