TV or not TV

Sunday, June 21, 2009 Permalink

The facts are these…… I am fickle. This I will admit. When I was a young girl Charlie’s Angels, Bionic Woman, Starsky and Hutch had my heart – and my TV viewing hours.

My tastes have changed over the years. Matured – hopefully. Evolved – hopefully. Until today I find myself attracted with TV with intelligent scripts and witty dialogue. And a bit of an edge.

First there was Buffy, West Wing and Sex in the City. Then we were blessed with Weeds, Dexter and Mad Men. Original and quirky.

Well, quirky has a new name. And face. Having read about the show, last weekend I stumbled across Pushing Daisies at my local video store.

Commentated by voiceover with a dry, droll wit, Daisies features Ned, who learns at a young age, that he has the ability to bring the dead back to life. But like all good things (red wine and chocolate) there are negative consequences.

We first meet Ned as a child, where upon bringing his mother back to life, he inadvertently causes the death of his childhood sweetheart’s father; and upon a second touch, relegates his mother again to the afterlife.

We next meet the present-day Ned (aka the Pie-Maker) and his equally-quirky band of sidekicks at The Pie Hole.

Emmerson Cod, who most recently played the antagonistic and arrogant Edward Vogler on House, is a PI who, having discovered Ned’s secret exploits it for profit. By bringing the dead back to life (albeit briefly – having learnt his lesson from the double death of his mother) Ned and Emmerson can ask about the crime that led to the victim’s death, tell the cops and collect the reward. Well, sort of…

Daisies is well-served by its supporting cast of Anna Friel (as Ned’s grown-up childhood sweetheart, Chuck) and torch-carrying employee, Olive Snook (played with kooky charisma by West Wing’s Kristin Chenoweth).

The set and visual design of the show reflect its ‘larger-than-life’ theme. Like a big storybook, everything from the Pie Hole itself, to Olive and Chuck’s wardrobe is bright, colourful and almost cartoon-like.

Like many other underappreciated shows (Dexter and Mad Men), our doyens of taste (TV Executives) decided against rushing Pushing Daisies onto our screens. Instead, Channel Nine, having purchased the rights to the show, on-sold it to pay television after one year, where it screened for the first time in Australia in April this year.

I have previously complained about the fickle nature of TV Executives (which, unlike my own fickle taste, is highly unacceptable!); and unfortunately, despite its early success (the show was nominated for 22 Emmy Awards in 2008); it has since been axed, going the way of many-a-good-but-slightly-weird TV show.

However, all is not lost. The first season is now available on DVD and I have the second season to look forward to. I also have faith that more original and innovative boffins in TV- and movie-land will come up with my next viewing pleasure.


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