Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"Pushing Daisies" is a Bouquet of Fun

ABC is in full bloom this fall with its whimsical new show, “Pushing Daisies.” The newest creation by Brian Fuller, writer of “Dead Like Me” and “Wonderfalls,” is brimming with freshness and originality. The highly stylized and bright color scheme makes this show seem like a child’s storybook tale, which contrasts nicely with the overall theme, death.

Within the first few minutes of the pilot, a nine-year-old boy named Ned witnesses his beloved dog, Digby, getting run over by a semi-truck. Ned discovers his gift after bringing Digby back to life by touching him. The sweet melody of the soundtrack mixed with soothing narration by the familiar voice of Jim Dale (performer of the “Harry Potter” audio books) makes this tragedy light-hearted. Even though young Ned proceeds to accidentally kill his childhood-crush’s father, and then his own mother, you never feel sad for the boy because it all seems like a candy-filled dream.

The basic plot of “Pushing Daisies” is that Ned can bring people back to life by touching them. The twist is that if he touches them again, they will die, but if he doesn’t touch them again within 60 seconds, then someone else nearby will have to take their place. This makes for an interesting love story since he had to bring his long-lost sweetheart, Charlotte Charles (Chuck) back to life.

Ned grows up to become a pie maker. He helps fund his burgeoning business by moonlighting as a detective with his partner, Emerson Cod, (Chi McBride). He brings murder victims back to life just long enough to find out who killed them, and then he collects the reward.

Lee Pace, who plays Ned, gives the character just the right amount of innocence and vulnerability. Chuck, played by Anna Friel, is a spunky, fun-loving character and you can see why Ned had been pining for her for 20 years. Olive Snook, played by Kristen Chenoweth often steals the scene with her unusual obsession with Ned (she is known to break out in song when feeling especially heartbroken).

The witty dialogue is delivered with great timing by all involved and the punch lines are often laugh-out-loud funny. Visually, “Pushing Daisies” is like watching panda bears eat giant lollipops. And, unlike some of the other death-themed shows like “Ghost Whisperer” and “Medium,” it makes light of taboos that are normally handled with kid gloves.

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