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A Rather Early Look at 'Pushing Daises'

May 15, 2007 7:00 PM

Live at the Upfronts

Some thoughts on the ABC upfront in a moment but first I want to gush about ABC’s new fall series “Pushing Daises,” whose pilot I watched on the plane.

The Warner Bros./ABC program looks like something dreamed up by Tim Burton in his “Beetlejuice” and “Edward Scissorhands” era, though its director Barry Sonnenfeld (“The Addams Family,” “Men in Black” and, most recently for ABC, “Notes From the Underbelly”) calling the shots. Snappy script by Bryan Fuller successfully blends morbid subject matter with smart-witty dialogue, while the high-definition Technicolor settings flirt with surrealism without ever pushing the whole show into an alienating fantasyland.

Plot centers on Ned, a baker (whose shop is named The Pie Hole … nice) who can bring the dead back to life with a mere touch, only with two key caveats: If he touches the person a second time, they die again – this time permanently. Yet if he doesn’t touch them a second time, and allows them to live more than one minute, another seemingly random person in close proximity dies instead.

Ned temporarily resurrects murder victims for a private detective, who notes “murders are much easier to solve when you can ask the victim who killed them.” Complications arise when Ned resurrects a murdered childhood friend, and lets her continue living beyond his usual one-minute literal deadline.

Naturally some will question whether the premise can sustain itself, and others will wonder if viewers will embrace the series in sufficient numbers. Don’t care. It’s great TV and takes a risk.

E-mail James Hibberd

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