Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pushing Daisies comes to life on DVD 9/16

One of the TV on DVD shows I've been enjoying is a great new addition to ABC's line-up last Fall, Pushing Daisies. Its unique and innovative visual style owes a lot to producer/director Barry Sonnenfeld--who even wrote an instruction manual for future directors of the show. Rule number one of that manual was "Trust Michael Weaver," the show's cinematographer.

Also contributing to bringing to life the unusual universe of the world of Ned, the Piemaker (Lee Pace) is the whimsical production design of Michael Wylie, inventive costume design of Robert Blackman and creative visual effects of Elizabeth Castro and William Powloski. Throw in some homage to writer/creator Bryan Fuller's hero, Alfred Hitchcock, and it all adds up to one of the most original series on television.

It's a pretty cool trick to be able to mix a fantasy fairy tale romance with a murder mystery crime procedural, but Pushing Daisies manages to do just that. Oh, wait a minute--make that fantasy fairy tale romance murder mystery crime procedural and PIES!

Mmm, yummy!

Succulent, delectable, luscious, scrumptious and tasty (I think I've almost exhausted the thesaurus!)--but there is one thing that makes me drool even more than peach cobbler and that is the dreamy Lee Pace. Aaaahh! All the adjectives above and then some could apply to the adorable Mr. Pace. Anna Friel who plays Chuck (aka Charlotte Charles or as Emerson calls her, "Dead Girl") is effortlessly charming as well.

How ironic that the most romantic show on television features two characters that cannot touch! I watched a couple of episodes last night with my friends Dave and Kat. At the end, Kat had the blissfully satisfied expression of someone that has--well, eaten a really yummy piece of pie! Dave said that, given the fact that a single touch from Ned would end Chuck's life again--for good, he thought that it would be smarter if they stayed on opposite sides of the country.

Um, okay--but then there would be no show!

The sweet chemistry between Ned (Pace) and Chuck (Anna Friel) might be too much of a sugar rush if it weren't offset by the talents of the supporting cast: the tangy Olive Snook (Kristen Chenoweth), the sour Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) and tart Aunt Lily (Swoosie Kurtz). And let's not forget gentle Aunt Vivian (Ellen Greene) and loyal Digby the dog. There have been some great guest appearances as well: Paul Reubens, Molly Shannon, Mike White and Jayma Mays. The entire cast, like the show, is just magical.

Also balancing out the overwhelming adorableness of the two leads are the murder victims--whether wearing tire tracks, shards of glass, hoof prints, frozen solid or charred beyond recognition, the gruesome demises are played for humor. But this show also has a lot of heart. And it's the snappy banter, sizzling chemistry and emotional depth that keeps me completely mesmerized for each and every episode. It's so fanciful and enchanting--I absolutely adore it!

Because of the writers strike, the Pushing Daisies complete first season on DVD is only nine episodes long, starting with the "Pie-lette" which explains Ned's gift for bringing the dead back to life--and the consequences should they stay reanimated for more than a minute.

(Odd factoid: The English subtitles for the dialogue are a bit "off." Whether it's due to the actors doing a bit of improv or the need to trim down speeches, the subtitles do not exactly match what is being said by the actors. And do not even get me started on some of the spelling: in one instance I saw the name of young Ned's school spelled as "Longburrow" and in another "water main" was written as "water mane.")

The 3 DVD set, packaged like pies from The Pie Hole--complete with "menu," also contains anecdotal extras from Bryan Fuller, Lee Pace and some of the people who create the magic behind the scenes, in the form of "pie slices"--bite-sized nuggets for each episode.

Speaking of pie, if you can't wait until next Tuesday to get all the savory goodness of the season one DVD, then check out the Pushing Daisies Tour as the Pie Hole hits the road! Yes, "Let them eat pie!" is the battle cry of the Pie-Mobile which is stopping in major cities across the USA:

9/10, 9 am to 3 pm - 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA
9/12, 11 am - 3 pm - Fashion Show Mall, Las Vegas, NV
9/14, 9 am - 1 pm - Westgate Complex, Phoenix, AR
9/17, 10 am - 2 pm - Larimer Square, Denver, CO
9/20, 11 am - 8 pm - Addison Oktoberfest, Dallas, TX
9/24, 10 am - 2 pm - Lincoln Park Grove 5, Chicago, IL
9/26, 10 am - 2 pm - The Shops at Liberty Square, Philadelphia, PA
9/29, 7 - 9 am - Times Square, GMA - Broadway Studios, New York, NY

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