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Pushing Daisies Presents its Premiere

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When one thinks about television qurkiness, a few shows come immediately to mind. Twin Peaks is perhaps the one most people remember. Figuring out who killed Laura Palmer made Kyle McLachlan a household name (and continued with Sex and The City). Desperate Housewives is the current member of this genre, but I tend to label it more as a soap opera.

Some actors make quirkiness a job description. Michael C. Hall, who plays a crime scene analyst in Miami on Dexter, was cast in the lead role after playing David on Six Feet Under. Both were darker than typical TV fare, but solid casting and strong writing made these shows memorable. The late Alice Ghostley adeptly portrayed ditzy Bernice on Designing Women.

Put both show and actors together, and one is sure to watch. The premiere, anyway. ABC recently decided to try and boost their ratings with Pushing Daisies. Only time will tell if people tune in, but I liked it.

The premise is a bit tricky, but I'll do my best. A piemaker named Ned (Lee Pace) has the unique ability to bring the dead back to life with a touch. He teams up with a private eye named Emerson (Chi McBride) to try and solve the mystery of their murders. Sounds simple, right? Not exactly. He only has sixty seconds before he runs into a problem. If he touches the person again, death is permanent. However, should he refrain from contact, somebody else dies.

When Ned brings his childhood buddy, "Chuck" (Anna Friel), he lets her live. Seeing as how she died trying to smuggle gold statues off a cruise ship, there is a race to find her killer before chaos ensues. Eventually, the killer is killed by one of Chuck's two aunts (Swoosie Kurtz, Ellen Greene).

Complicating matters is Olive (Tony Winner Kristin Chenoweth), who works for Ned. She is unaffected by his dangerous digits, so tries everything she can to get him to touch her.

Perhaps the best part is the voiceover by Jim Dale, who skyrocketed to fame for the Harry Potter series. This cast is darkly delicious, a true ensemble. Great concept, but the script could use some work. Listening to the dialogue reminded me too much of Dr. Seuss.

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