Comic-Con: Pushing Daisies panel report
The story evolves into part romance, when Ned brings his childhood sweetheart back to life but can never touch her again or else she'll die, and part procedural as Ned hooks up with a private investigator who has Ned use his powers to ask murder victims who killed them. (Warner is officially referring to it as a "forensic fairy tale.") Again, it sounds more convoluted than it is. The show draws heavily on fairy tales, and even uses Harry Potter audiobook god Jim Dale as its narrator. The show is also heavily stylized - deadpan delivery, hyper-saturated colors. It is more cinematic than most television programs and also more fanciful.
The Comic-Con premiere of the series was especially well-received and not just because of the pie involved. (The promotional items at the screening included a slice of pie and iPod earbuds. The pie has a connection to the series. The earbuds - sheer bribery.) Bryan Fuller, the series' creator, gets the Comic-Con love because of his involvement with shows like Heroes, Dead Like Me and, my personal favorite, Wonderfalls. (Wonderfalls' also involved writer Tim Minear, a longtime Joss Whedon compatriot. Are you seeing the Comic-Con connections? That's how geekopolis thinks. Minutiae, people.)
Anyway, the most prized Pushing Daisies promotional item was, of course, a comic book. The comic uses the periennially clever device of having two stories that start from either end of the book. You read one story, flip it upside down and read the second from the back of the book forward. One story depicts an event that happens before the series starts. The second depicts an event from after the series starts. Pretty darn clever, these marketers. Ply the crowd with pie and give them comics, and they're bound to love you.
Goodies aside, Pushing Daisies is easily my favorite pilot from the 07-08 fall season. It's underlying romance and genuine quirkiness (...if there's anything I hate in films and movies its forced eccentricity...) put it ahead of Reaper and Chuck by a nose. (The only problem with Pushing Daisies is that it always make me think of that Ween song - "push the little daisies and make them come up." It's gonna take all day to get that out of my head.)
The panel which followed the screening featured the entire cast and creative team - Bryan Fuller, Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Kristin Chenoweth, Chi McBride and Barry Sonnenfeld among them. They promise that the show will keep up its super-stylized look. Sonnenfeld will be directing three of the thirteen episodes ordered. The romantic relationship is serialized, but the crime of the week will provide an episodic element (and metaphorical one for the character relationship). But, best of all, Lee Pace and Anna Friel - whose characters are not able to touch in the series - shared a great, big wet kiss. Oh, and Kristin Chenoweth opened her shirt. She'll be back for multiple episodes, and they've figured out a way to let her sing! Get excited, folks. This is going to be the best new show of the 07-08 season.