Wednesday, February 11, 2015

"Pushing Daisies" Pilot

Mostly everyone I know has a list of TV shows they want to watch. One show that has been on my list probably since 2008 is Pushing Daisies, a quirky 42-minute program created by Bryan Fuller (creator of Hannibal) that only ran for two seasons. The show follows Ned (played by Lee Pace), a pie-maker who has the power to bring people back to life with his touch, but then he can never touch them again. He uses his power to solve crime mysteries by bringing victims back to life and asking them how they were killed. His partners include a private investigator, a waitress at the pie shop, and his "reborn" childhood sweetheart.

My immediate reaction to the pilot (aka "Pie-Lette") was pure amazement at the stunning art direction and production design. The whole feeling of the show is very fantasy-like and there is a consistency with how symmetrical each shot is. In a TVGuide interview, production designer Michael Wylie said, "my goal was a storybook come to life. I wanted everything to look almost like an illustration, which he did by concentrating on conflicting patterns in different colors, particularly reds and oranges, but no blues."
This ideal is conveyed right from the start (as displayed in the pictures below).
Ned's mother as she prepares a pie, shortly before she dies (and is revived by a younger Ned). A lot can be told by this single frame. It fits into the color scheme of reds, (the pie, mixing bowl; danger) oranges (kitchen table/hair; vibrance of her personality), in addition to yellows (shirt, wallpaper, curtains; illness[her brain aneurysm]) and greens (skirt, walls; impending doom). 

Waitress Olive Snook (played by Kristen Chenoweth) as she recommends pies to a customer. Once again we see the common color scheme of reds, oranges, yellows, and green (and even a bit of purple in there too!).
Voilá! There it is again--reds, yellows, oranges, and greens. (Thank you Michael Wylie).
The whole premise of the show is also very intriguing to me--I've never seen or heard of any other show like this one. From what I've seen so far, the characters are especially unique, which makes for a nice contrast between each of them. It seems as though a frustrating romance will blossom between Ned and his childhood sweetheart Charlotte "Chuck" Charles (played by Anna Friel), since he cannot touch her or she will die. This budding relationship is much to Olive's dismay since we see her flirting with Ned a lot in the first few minutes; she obviously likes him too.
Ned & Olive vs. Ned & Chuck (also note the symmetry of the frame in the picture on the right!!)
The dynamic between Ned and private investigator Emerson Cod (played by Chi McBride) is great because they are this duo who take on these cases and solve them in such a casual manner (because waking the dead for a minute isn't such a big deal, right?). I'm interested to see what other cases they take on in future episodes.

I am a big fan of quirky/art-sy shows and movies (hence my earlier posts about Big Eyes and The Skeleton Twins) so this show is a perfect fit for me. I'm definitely going to find some way to watch the rest of the series (it is not on Netflix, sadly) because the first episode really got me hooked.

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