A brightly colored rom-com full of pies and police investigations.
Streaming on Prime | 2007 | TV-PG | 2 seasons, 22 episodes
Why did I watch it: It's been a weird 2018 (and 2017...), and I was in the market for something fun and heartfelt. A break from the present, if you will. When I learned Pushing Daisies was on streaming services, it moved to the top of my list. I watched it when it first aired and, like all my dear friends and family (read: strangers lurking on Reddit), I firmly believe that this series was cancelled way too soon!
You might also like: Two shows come to mind. Dead Like Me (on Hulu and Prime), another Bryan Fuller creation, offers a related exploration of the boundary between life and death—the protagonist is a "grim reaper" who ferries souls to the afterlife. It's also hard not to think of Gilmore Girls (on Netflix), which has equally eccentric mood. Oh, and I'd suggest pairing your viewing with pie. Or cup-pies. You decide! 🥧
If I had to describe this series in one word, it would be quirky. Very quirky. Part procedural, part comedy, part fantasy, Pushing Daisies is unlike any other TV show I've watched. The series follows Ned (Lee Pace), a pie maker gifted with a small talent: He can bring the dead back to life. There's just one catch. Whoever he reanimates can live for exactly one minute before someone else dies in their place. A second touch renders the person dead again forever.
After private investigator Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) inadvertently discovers Ned's abilities, they make an arrangement. In exchange for saving Ned's restaurant, the Pie Hole, from financial ruin, Ned helps Emerson solve murder cases. They temporarily bring victims back to life, find out their cause of death, and cash in on a reward for solving the case. Easy as pie! Or it is until Ned learns that the latest victim is his childhood sweetheart, Chuck (Anna Friel)... After reanimating Chuck to solve her murder, Ned decides not to let Chuck die for good. The pair fall in love again—although never able to touch—and Chuck joins the Emerson and Ned's unconventional investigation business.
The many wonderfully weird elements of Pushing Daisies make it hard to describe, but amazing to watch. Every scene is jam-packed with bright colors, from red strawberries to Chuck's lemon-colored coat. The set design is slightly outlandish, yet believable within the world the show has created. The supporting cast is brilliant, particularly with appearances by Kristin Chenoweth, Ellen Greene, and Swoosie Kurtz. And all the action is tied together by narrator Jim Dale. (Yes, the man who won two Grammy awards for his narration of the Harry Potter audiobooks.) There really is something in this show for everyone.
Although there have been repeated rumors over the years that we might see new episodes of the series, nothing has ever come to fruition. Then again, maybe two seasons was enough. Pushing Daisies is perfect, start to finish.