From the mind of Bryan Fuller (responsible for shows such as Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me, and NBC’s Hannibal) Pushing Daisies was a forensic fairy tale for the ages, cruelly cancelled after two seasons on ABC, despite seventeen Primetime Emmy nominations, seven wins, and a massive audience of diehard cult fans.
In partnership with Emerson Cod, a private detective, Ned uses this power to solve criminal cases and split the reward money, helping him to finance his restaurant, The Pie Hole. It is during one of these cases that he discovers his childhood sweetheart, Charlotte ‘Chuck’ Charles has been murdered, and he brings her back to life with the simple touch of a hand. Unable to send her back into death, the thieving funeral director dies in her place and Chuck returns to live with Ned.
The show crosses genres, switching between mysterious crime episodes and quirky romance yet remains touching and sensitive at all times. From the very first episode we are thrown into a whirlwind of emotions, watching a young Ned resurrect his mother after an aneurysm, causing Chuck’s father to die in her place, only to lose her again as she gives him a goodnight kiss. From there the emotional punches continue, as the show’s inhabitants are forced to walk the line between life and death, forcing them to develop a new appreciation for what it means to be alive and the importance of coming to an understanding – if not an acceptance – of death.
The visual design of the series is a standout feature, a veritable storybook of larger-than-life characters accompanied by eye-popping and delightful colours and patterns, contrasting charmingly with the undercurrent of death and preponderance of morgue scenes that run throughout. Accompanied by the Doctor Seuss-like narration and occasional musical numbers, Pushing Daisies was unlike anything else on TV.
After the show was cancelled mid-way through its second season (the final episodes were screened during PaleyFest) there were several attempts at bringing the story back in another form. A comic detailing further mysteries and information not included in the show was distributed during the 2007 San Diego Comic Con, and Fuller went on to have conversations with DC Comics’ WildStorm imprint in 2009 in an attempt to have a full ‘season three’ told in comic form. These plans were put on hold after WildStorm was shut down in 2010. Since then there have been discussions about a possible Kickstarter film, mini series, or even a Broadway musical. Fuller and many of the cast members have all expressed a desire to continue their involvement with any future incarnation of Pushing Daisies, and there is a certainly an enthusiastic fanbase clamouring for their return. Only time will tell, but, as the final line of the series reminds us, endings are never really endings:
“At that moment, in the town of Coeur de Coeurs, events occurred that are not, were not, and should never be considered an ending. For endings, as it is known, are where we begin.”