Another one bites the dust, and ironic titles aside, Pushing Daisies is the latest wonderful and brilliant show to get axed far before its time. The show, which was the first one last year to be awarded a full season, was cut short by the writer’s strike last year, and like a lot of shows affected by the long hiatus, saw diminishing ratings this time around. The good news is that they’ve filmed through Episode 13, which means that we’ll get to see them finish up the show at some point, either broadcast or on DVD. The problem with Episode 13 is that it’s reported to be ending on a cliffhanger.
Honestly, while I’m completely in love with this show, I’m a little surprised that it’s lasted as long as it has so far – 2 short seasons. The reason that I’m surprised is because of the extremely quirky nature of the show. It’s out there. While there’s a lot to be said for the rush of genre shows such as LOST, Heroes and Terminator, Pushing Daisies is best considered a fairy tale. Where the other shows are fairly rough around the edges, dark and brooding at points, Pushing Daisies, while it has some fairly dark edges to it, is a light, bright and cheery show.
The basic premise, for people who aren’t familiar with the show, is this: Ned, an isolated, shy and nervous man, has a unique ability – he can bring dead people back to life with a touch, but only for a minute. Longer than that, they’ll remain alive, but someone nearby will die. If he touches those who he’s just awoken, they’re back to dead, and he can’t bring them back. He accidentally killed his mother and a neighbor when he discovered this ability (to be distinguished as something very different from the abilities of heroes), and as the show opens, keeps his childhood sweetheart alive after coming across her body. He makes a living running a pie shop, and helping a private investigator find out about murder victims by asking the bodies who killed them. Yeah, it’s a weird show, but it had such a wonderful sense of humor, dialog and quirky plots that made this something to look forwards to week after week. Unfortunately, it seems like it was just too out there for audiences.
I like dramas and science fiction shows when they go dark. Comparing the two Battlestar Galactica TV shows (the original and new version) and it’s pretty clear which one has the superior story, characters and conflicts, and since Battlestar, there’s been a whole group of shows that really go darker, which, as a story mechanism, is a good thing, because it allows writers to go places with their characters and really tell a good story. Pushing Daisies, on the other hand, showed that there was an alternative, that we don’t necessarily need a brooding cast of characters – flawed and neurotic, maybe – and that something can tell a very good story and be lighter at the same time.
An inevitable comparison to this show might be Heroes. Indeed, Brian Fuller, the show’s creator, worked on Heroes, and will likely be returning to it once Pushing Daisies run is over. On the surface, there’s the obvious similarities that there are characters with abilities that make them unique. Daisies and Heroes are radically different once you get past the initial similarities. The stories are more personal, not as interconnected or complex and at times, far more relatable than anything that heroes has done.
I’m very saddened about the loss of this show – it’s one less thing to look forwards to, and it’s so unique that there’s unlikely to be anything to fill its gap anytime soon. However, a shorter show-life means that the show doesn’t go bad – Arguably the case with Heroes at the moment – and I’ve been seeing that shows with shorter lives seem to be the really good ones because they haven’t had time to become bad shows. Pushing Daisies is a good, great and brilliant show. I shall treasure the remaining episodes.