So I watched a couple minutes of Bionic Woman last night with the idea that I would change the channel the first time it made me audibly groan. I actually don’t think I lasted a couple minutes. Maybe 90 seconds. Please don’t watch this show. It is just insulting to our collective intelligence and it encourages Hollywood to keep thinking of us as insipid idiots. TURN IT OFF…it is CRAPTASTIC…without the TASTIC part.
Here is something you should be watching though, Pushing Daisies. This looks to be a great show. It’s quirky and clever and has gorgeous production values…the world these characters live in his about 40% Tim Burton 30% Amelie and 30% real life and it works in beautiful harmony.
The story focuses on Ned, a piemaker and owner of The Piehole, who has a gift/curse to be able to touch someone and bring them back to life. However, if he ever touches them again they die instantly, never to be revived. There are also major consequences for bringing someone back, e.g. if he doesn’t touch them again and “re-kill” them within 60 seconds then someone in close proximity bites it.
This dynamic is set up in the first episode with Ned discovering his powers when his mother dies suddenly and when he touches her she is instantly brought back to life. Sixty seconds later, his neighbor Charlotte’s (Chuck) father drops dead. Then of course that evening when Ned’s mother tucks him and kisses him on the head she drops dead. So Ned and Chuck are separated, Ned shipped off to boarding school and Chuck raised by her quirky aunts. They share their first kiss at their mutual parents funerals, and never see eachother again, until now.
Now. A private eye discovers Ned’s “gift” and ropes him into a scheme in which they briefly re-animate corpses to find out who killed them and then collect the reward money and split it. This leads them to Ned’s childhood friend Chuck that has recently become deceased. Chuck does not know who killed her when she is re-animated, and then Ned of course cannot bear to “re-kill” her (unfortunately someone else has to die for this, but it’s a relatively “bad” guy which makes Ned feel better about things). Of course now, totally smitten with his childhood love (and she for him) they can never touch or she will instantly drop dead.
The Good: Despite all the “dead this and re-killing that” the show is not dark in the least, a credit to everyone on the show from the creators, set designers, writers, actors, and directors. The show is light and quirky and fun and likeable, largely due to the great cast a series of fairly new faces and great but almost forgotten faces. Anna Friel plays Chuck and has a giant credit list on IMDB, but I’ve never seen her in anything until now, and how sad that is for me because she is absolutely delightful. She brings a charm and innocence to the show that is completely infectious and never saccharine. Lee Pace plays Ned and he is a delightful new face as well, playing his “gift/curse” with a slightly cynical and protective edge, instead of the high pitched whine that is so prevalent on Heroes. Chi McBride as the private detective Emerson is a nice contrast to the sweetness and “unreality” going on everywhere else. Kristin Chenoweth, seen (by me) previously mostly on West Wing is likeable as Piehole waitress Olive, but hopefully her character gets fleshed out a bit more, currently of all the characters she has the least development happening. Delightful are Swoosie Kurtz as Chuck’s one-eyed ex-synchronized “mermaid” swimmer aunt and Ellen Greene looks FANTASTIC as Chuck’s other ex-synchronized “mermaid” swimmer aunt. Greene, most notorious (at least to my mind) as Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors (1986) looks fantastic (it has been over 20 years – someone give me this woman’s secret!) and is a perfect cast as one of the quirky loveable aunts. Really the whole cast is just flawless.
I am anxious to tune in next week and see what the creators/writers have in store for us…they did so much in just this first episode that I hope they can keep up the pace. The plot is a bit gimmicky, so hopefully they can dodge those issues and continue producing what was a really great first show.
The Bad: Nothing yet.
The Ugly: Nothing yet, or at least not in a bad way.
Pushing Daises Grade: A
I tuned into the second episode of Life and it’s still good. I like it, I’m going to add it to my DVR list and hope it doesn’t get cancelled. Life is smarter and quirkier than all those Law & Order shows (that I always find myself watching for some reason) where you can see the plot twists coming from six miles away. I like it, I hope it is able to hang in there.
I believe full epsidoes of both Pushing Daises and Life are available online if you click on the links above.
Pushing Daises cast above.