Pushing Daisies – the great show that never got a fair shake

I’m not really a person for fantastical drama – the shows where you mix high comedy and fantasy and romance together.  Mostly because when there actually WAS a decent fantastical drama out there, it was subsequently murdered by forces not of its own making.

That show was called Pushing Daisies.

Yes, I can sense that you sort of remember that title.  Let me see if I can help refresh your memory a tinge.

Pushing Daisies was the story of Ned, a piemaker with a special gift – his touch could bring people back from the dead, if only for 60 additional seconds.  But if he touched that revived person a second time, they would be dead forever.

And … one of the people he touched was his beloved (and deceased) childhood sweetheart.  His love is alive – but now he can never touch her again, for a second touch would send the recently revived back to eternal rest.

And then you add a ton of side-angles about solving crimes of murdered people, discussions of family values, all populated in a surreal, hyper-fantastical world…

Just thinking about it makes me wish the show was back on the air today.

Pushing Daisies was a wonderful romantic comedy with lots of fluff and fun.  It had plenty of quick banter and well-written dialogue.  There were some great cast members – Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Chi McBride were all veterans of various TV shows and movies; then you add Swoosie Kurtz and Ellen Greene and Kristin Chenoweth from the Broadway stage, and wow.  Just wow.

Unfortunately … the show didn’t get enough wow.  It was actually ruined by … of all things … a writer’s strike.  Only nine episodes were filmed before the show’s production was shut down due to a television writer’s strike.  The ratings were still strong enough to get the program renewed for a second season, but now a freightload of loose ends needed to be tied up.  And even though the show’s writing and storylines continued as if nothing had ended, the program was shuffled off to difficult timeslots and eventually jettisoned after its second season.  22 episodes over two years, that’s all we received.

And it wasn’t until after the series ended that I discovered that Pushing Daisies actually has a thin connection to another quickly-killed-off fantasy series, Wonderfalls.  That show focused on a Niagara Falls souvenir shop girl whose souvenirs talk to her and help her solve mysteries.  I did try watching Wonderfalls but I couldn’t get past the first two episodes.  Didn’t matter, Fox cancelled the show after four episodes.  Because Fox.

Trust me, I would still love to see a Pushing Daisies reboot or a restart or a re-anything.  It was a show that was funny and witty and sweet all at once.  It didn’t deserve to die.  Maybe Ned the Piemaker could touch the program and bring it back to life.

I’d be good with that.