Pushing Daisies is the story of guy named Ned (Lee Pace), who as a child realized his touch could bring dead things back to life. He also learned, tragically, that a second touch from him would send the newly resurrected back to death. It sounds a little morbid, but the show is quite the opposite. Part fairytale, part romance, part mystery, Ned uses his “gift” to wake up murder victims so they can name their killers. Ned works with private investigator Emerson (Chi McBride) and his childhood sweetheart, Charlotte “Chuck,” to collect the reward money from the dead victims. The group has excellent chemistry and gives us plenty of laughs.
The subplot involves the beautiful and tragic romance of Ned and Chuck. (She was dead. He resurrected her. But, he can never touch her again or she’ll die again, this time forever.)
Ned also owns a pie shop, where waitress Olive (Kristin Chenowith) doesn’t understand his fear of touch and humorously tries to remedy his “problem.”
The cast is excellent, from McBride to supporting player Swoosie Kurtz to Chenowith. But, the standout is clearly Pace. He’s the kind of actor that has that “star” quality that is impossible to describe on paper, yet you know it when you see it. You will fall in love with him. Pace plays Ned with such a charming lovability that you’ll be dying to give the self-proclaimed non-toucher a hug. It’s apropos that Ned is a pie maker because his character is just that sweet.
Pushing Daisies has a solid storyline, a stellar cast, and is a visual delight. Bright colors and gorgeous fairytale images dominate the dramedy and delight the senses. Even the narrator’s melodious voice is so soothing to the ear, you’ll wish Jim Dale could narrate your own life.
Fans of the short-lived Wonderfalls will see some similarities. Pushing Daisies executive producer Bryan Fuller also did Wonderfalls, where Pace played Aaron. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the monkey tchotchkes in the Pushing Daisies pilot, perhaps a nod to Wonderfalls. (The TV geek in me remembered the talking monkey tchotchke from that show.)
Despite the Wonderfalls comparison, Pushing Daisies isn’t that show. It has such an air of originality so rare on television that I fear mainstream America will be unwilling to take the ride. I’m hoping this time I’m wrong. I hope audiences will fall in love with Pushing Daisies and push it into a ratings winner.