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Pushing Daisies‘ Triumphant Return

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Last season I really enjoyed Pushing Daisies. At first, I had worries about whether the show could maintain its cutesy tone and not lose me, but after a few episodes I was totally and completely hooked. I didn't realize until tonight, though, just how hooked I was.

Tonight was Pushing Daisies' first episode of its second season, and while I was excited for it, it wasn't until the episode began that it struck me just how much I liked the show. From the word "go" I was totally and completely enthralled. Though the overall narrative of the show is completely ridiculous – guy can bring anything back to life with his touch, but only once and if he leaves it alive for more than a minute something else dies – but the drama is somehow real, the romance genuine, and the humor spectacular.

Pushing Daisies isn't a laugh out loud program, but in last night's premiere no fewer than a half-dozen things struck me as funny and put a smile on my face. Usually they were due to the hysterical Kristin Chenoweth this week, but in other episodes it been Chi McBride, Lee Pace, or Anna Friel causing it.

There's just something about the show's world view that sucks you in. There's this guy in love with a girl he's brought back to life, and the girl loves him back, but she's kind of undead and they solve mysteries with a detective friend of theirs. There's an incredibly over-the-top narrator describing events and feelings, and the sets, clothes, and whole aesthetic of the show is brilliantly colorful and fully realized. You wouldn't think it could work, but it does and it’s a thing of beauty.

The other show I watched last night has many a thing of beauty in it, but is not a beautiful thing. I still can't quite wrap my brain around why anyone thought it was a good idea to put a new version of Knight Rider on the air. I'm going to give the team of people full credit for trying, but it doesn't work.

Someone, I assume, when imagining how to do the show realized that it had to be over-the-top, that it had to be completely outlandish and utterly ridiculous – after all, it pretty much follows the exploits of a talking car that can do anything. But Knight Rider's over-the-topness doesn't work for the show.

As an example, last night we saw that KITT has a 3D object generator built in. If you don't know what a 3D object generator is, perhaps I can explain it in Star Trek terms – it's a replicator (you know, from ST:TNG). It doesn't do food, but it can absolutely replicate a car key and I have to figure it can do a knife, a lead pipe, a wrench, a rope, and maybe even a revolver if it had to.

You’re probably sitting there and thinking that a show that features a car that can change into a truck and perform leaps and talk and is covered in "nanopaint" might as well come with a 3D object generator and you're right. I just hadn't quite fully accepted the whole "can change into a truck and perform leaps and talk and is covered in nanopaint" stuff yet. And don't even get me started on Michael racing for pink slips last night. I was waiting for him to bust out into a chorus of "Greased Lightning" when he was showing off KITT. Of course that didn't happen, but I don't think that the show would be more foolish if they turned it into a musical.

Hey, there's an idea, how about a primetime drama that's a musical and features the characters singing popular songs? That could totally work…

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.