On the advice of my friend Todd I watched the premiere episode of ABC’s new series, Pushing Daisies.
The premise is off-beat. As a little boy Ned discovers that he has the power to bring the dead back to life. And that comes with some strings attached. He can never touch a person he’s brought back to life, otherwise they will die permanently, nor can he leave a dead person alive for more than a minute without someone else dying.
Flash forward twenty years. Ned runs a pie shop. And he works with a private investigator to solve murders and collect the rewards. And then one day the murder he has to solve is that of Chuck’s, the girl who lived next door when he was but a boy, the girl for whom he’s nursed a crush lo these twenty years.
And Ned can’t bring himself to send her back to death.
Beyond that, I lack the vocabulary to discuss the show.
It’s off-kilter, sure. It’s humorous, sure. It’s got a great cast, sure. (And I never realized how much Anna Friel looked like Zooey Deschanel.)
But it’s just… whacked.
I don’t give it long. Maybe six weeks.
The problems are two-fold.
First, it’s quirky in a Tim Burton-esque sort of way, from back when Tim Burton was still quirky. It’s got the all-seeing, self-deprecating narrator. It’s got weird camera zooms. It’s got very stylized sets. It’s got a clean, anti-septic look that screams “This is unreal.” It’s quirky.
Second, it strikes me as the kind of show that’s going to bleed audience because it’s a show they’ll never be able to get people to sample because it’s so difficult to explain without misrepresenting what it is.
Six weeks, tops.
It seems like the weird kind of thing that would make a fabulous film that would flop tremendously at the box office but find an audience on DVD who get everything about it. I don’t foresee the series maintaining the off-kilter tone on a weekly basis.
I’d like to be proven wrong.
We shall see.