PUSHING DAISIES. ABC-TV/Warner Brothers. October 3, 2007 through June 13, 2009. 22 episodes @60 minutes. Created and Showrunner : Bryan Fuller. Cast: Lee Pace (Ned), Anna Friel (Chuck), Chi McBride (Emerson Cod), Jim Dale (Narrator), Kristin Chenoweth (Olive Snook), Ellen Greene (Vivian), Swoosie Kurtz (Lily)


   One of the most redeeming qualities of television is no matter how mundane mainstream television gets, there are always the unusual and delightful series on the air we will remember forever. Sadly, most of these series last only long enough to find a small enthusiastic following.

   One such series was Pushing Daisies, a screwball comedy mystery fantasy featuring a pie maker who can raise the dead with a touch and uses that talent to help a PI solve murder mysteries.

   Ned’s secret magical finger was not without rules. The first touch woke the dead, but a second touch killed them forever. And if Ned did not touch them a second time within one minute the formerly dead would stay alive and someone near by would die.

   Enter cynical PI Emerson Cod, who saw a way to profit off Ned’s special talent. Ned would revive murder victims, ask them who killed them, solve the murder, and they would collect the reward. But it was never that easy and sixty seconds were never long enough. In the episode “Bitches,” the victim told them he was killed by his wife, but then they learned he had four wives.


   The mystery shared the story with the personal comedy drama of the strong well-developed characters, all with their own secrets and story lines. Because the series is told in fairy tale serial form, it is wise to watch the episodes in order.

   When Ned and Emerson decided to solve the murder of Ned’s childhood crush, Chuck, Ned decided to let her live at the cost of an evil funeral director’s life. Chuck and Ned fall in love but can never touch, the tragedy of two lovers who can never touch lightened by the funny ways Ned and Chuck find to express their love.

   Jim Dale’s narration and Jim Dooley’s music were perfect in setting the mood in this fantasy world of bright colors and odd locales. The camera with its angles and symmetrically frames shots also added to the series special look.


   Each story began with an absurd death such as an exploding scratch ‘n’ sniff book. After talking to the victim and getting little to go on, they would meet the suspects, find clues and twists until the killer was revealed. Meanwhile, a story arc featuring the relationships and secrets of the characters formed the subplot of each episode.

   Mystery fans found much to enjoy in the series, especially episodes such as “The Norwegians,” featuring the brilliant Norwegian forensic team and their crime solving bus, “Mother.”

   The oddness of characters, stories, look, sound, and fast paced lyrical dialog drew us happily into Pushing Daisies’ whimsical world of mystery, romance, and pie.

   The television series ended with closure for the characters, but there were still some loose ends involving Chuck and Ned’s fathers. After the series was canceled, Bryan Fuller promised Pushing Daisies would continue as a comic book much as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and others had.

   The comic book written by Bryan Fuller and drawn by Jonathan Wayshak continues in search of a publisher. In April 2011, Fuller posted at various websites the first two pages of the comic book. Here is a link to one site where you can read the two page sample of what is called “Season Three.”

   The complete TV series is available on DVD or for download. You can watch the first season of nine episodes for free here.