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Comic-Con: Pushing Daisies panel report

by Julia Ward, posted Jul 28th 2007 1:11PM
Pushing Daisies ComicThis morning marked the Comic-Con premiere of ABC pilot Pushing Daisies. Created by Bryan Fuller and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, Pushing Daisies is the story of Ned, who has some complicated powers. He can bring people back from the dead by touching them, but only for one minute. He touches them again, and they go back to being dead. If he doesn't, they get to live, but a completely random person will die in their place. The set-up is a little convoluted, but once you see it, it makes sense.

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.

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Loved it.
Give it a shot if you have not seen it. I think you will like it.

September 07 2007 at 8:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I found a site dedicated to the show already!

http://www.pushingdaisiesfan.com - check it out

August 24 2007 at 2:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great pilot. Sweet, funny and quirky. It´s also my favourite so far. Thank god I´d already decided to drop DH, BG, GA and Lost. Now I can make some room for Pushing Daisies, Reaper, Chuck and Aliens in America. It looks like it´s gonna be a great year. Lots of different, quality shows.

July 29 2007 at 5:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thankfully most of the new pilots are already available online. Tons of reviews for this show and more over at AICN.

Pushing Daisies is a fun pilot, witty, twisted and funny. Ive seen all of the PREAIR pilots now, PD is my #2 favorite behind Showtimes "Californication".

Its Not as good as the DLM pilot, but worth a watch. It reminded me of Tim Burtons style, ie Beetlejuice.

It had some great moments, but I dont think it will catch on with the average viewers. A bit too quirky for network tv, maybe if it was on hbo or showtime it would last a full season.

July 28 2007 at 6:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really want to see this one, it's on my list of anticipated new series'.

July 28 2007 at 5:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I liked the idea of this show. I liked the storyline. I like the actors.

But I didn't like the pilot. Not a bit. The acting was stale and everything felt off. There was not enough chemistry. I sincerely hope that viewers will give this show a chance to blossom because the premise is such a great one just like "Dead like me". I'll keep my fingers crossed.

July 28 2007 at 4:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Oh, and Kristin Chenoweth opened her shirt."

Photos? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

July 28 2007 at 3:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sounds reminiscent of DLM

July 28 2007 at 2:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great pilot! I am really going to have a tough time ths year with such great shows across the board on top of existing favorites.

July 28 2007 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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