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Pushing Daisies - The Complete First Season Print E-mail
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
ImageIt is refreshing to see a TV show come along and breathe new life in the programming schedule.  "Pushing Daisies" does just that.  The show is not all that complex, which may eventually be its downfall.  The show brings together the feel and elements present in the movie "Big Fish" and the Showtime series "Dead Like Me."  If that is your type of entertainment, then this show is just perfect for you.

Ned (Lee Pace) is a 30 year-old pie-maker with a special gift (or curse).  With a single touch of his finger, Ned can bring the deceased back to life.  With a second touch, the newly alive returns to being deceased, this time for good.  One little problem.  If the brought back to life beings are not touched by Ned within one minute of being brought back to life, someone else (of roughly equal size) must take their place. 

Ned discovers this in the worst way when he was just a nine year-old boy.  When his mother unexpectedly croaks, he brings her back to life, but in turn the father of his childhood sweetheart drops dead.  After the death of his mother again, this time from touching Ned a second time, his estranged father ships him off to boarding school. Ned vows never to get intimately involved with another human being again, for he cannot take the pain that it may cause when he touches the deceased. Fast forward to when Ned is 30 and baking pies at The Pie Hole.  He reluctantly teams with a private eye to make a little side cash.  Basically, when there is a cash reward for a recently deceased, the duo wake the dead to find out the information need to collect the reward.  All is going swimmingly until one day when the recently deceased turns out to be, Chuck (Charlotte) (Anna Friel), his childhood sweetheart.  After reviving her, Ned cannot bring himself to return her to her dead status.  Thus, someone else must die, and so the funeral home director kicks the bucket.

Ned and Chuck instantly rekindle their attraction for one another.  However, they both know that they can never touch.  Thus, a touch-less intimate relationship ensues.  Chuck now joins the duo on their "raising the dead" missions and spends the rest of her time with Ned in the Pie Hole.

Things are complicated further due to Olive (Kristin Chenoweth), a waitress at the Pie Hole with intense romantic feelings for Ned.

The show has many great qualities, like its originality and superb cast.  The big problem with the show, which haunts a great number of shows on the air, is repetitiveness.  After the first couple of episodes it became clear that the show utilizes the same plot each episode, throwing in a few plot resolutions every now and then.  So the question is, "how long can the show run for without any intricate and evolving plotlines?"  The show is adorable, but there is probably a point at which Kristin Chenoweth's cuteness wears off, and the show is left with the same "raising the dead" plots.

The show contains an all-star cast, if not just a bunch of newcomers.  Lee Pace, Kristin Chenoweth and Anna Friel deliver outstanding performances for television.  They are strongly supported by Swoosie Kurtz and Chi McBride.

The video quality of this DVD is a tough one to figure out.  First, it is most definitely an improvement over the HD broadcast of the show.  Still, the show is plagued by video noise.  This appears to be mainly due to the extreme use of a green screen.  The colors are vibrant, and at many points, oversaturated.  Black levels are strong, yielding a deep picture.  The hues are a bit blown out, casting a glow around objects.  Surprisingly though, there is little noticeable compression artifacts due to it being viewed on standard DVD.  The Blu-ray will release will surely yield better video quality.  However, I believe the green screen grain will remain in either case.

The audio quality is decent, but not really up to par with today's shows.  The volume level is unbalanced in volume.  The menus and title sequence are much louder than the actual show.  The dialogue is inconsistent in volume level as well.  However, I did find this to improve in the later episodes on the disc.  The surrounds are not used all that much.  There is some ambience filling them, but only slightly.  The LFE channel also varies.  Sometimes it is solid and right on mark, other times it is non-existent, and still at other times it is overpowering.

Season One of "Pushing Daisies" is presented on three standard DVDs, with three episodes per disc.  Doing the math you may be thinking that nine episodes are not enough.  Well, remember that last season was marked by the writers' strike, hence the nine episodes.  The third disc contains one special feature, "Pie-Time – Time for Pie."  This feature includes interviews with the show's cast and crew.

"Pushing Daisies" is entertaining and definitely worth a look at.  It will be quite interesting to see what the creators do with the show in its second season.

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