The winner of the Arrested Development/Veronica Mars award for the great show too few people are watching is Pushing Daisies. And it's a shame, because as the last two episodes have shown, it really is the most enjoyable show on right now. It's got a little of everything: mysteries, a love story, a fairytale, comedy, music, and pies. With its colorful landscapes, cutesy names, outrageous mysteries, and fast-talking dialogue, it is like nothing else on television. And best of all to newcomers? It's easy to join in. There's no overriding mythology like on Lost and every episode is pretty self-contained. To make it even easier, I'll tell you everything you need to know about the show right here.
The facts were these: One touch from Ned brings a person back to life, a second touch makes them dead again. If he leaves them alive longer than 30 seconds, someone else dies. This happened when Young Ned brought his mother back, causing Chuck (his true love)'s father to die. At the funeral, Ned and Chuck shared their only kiss. Chuck went to live with her aunts, Lily and Vivian, and Ned did not see her again. Years later, Ned owns the Pie Hole (as in shut your) and solves mysteries with private detective Emerson Cod. Ned questions the dead and Emerson solves the mysteries. On one case, Ned realized the murder victim was Chuck. When he questioned her, he found he couldn't kill her again after 30 seconds. So while Ned finally has Chuck back in his life, there is one catch: he can never touch her.
Each episode's based around a mystery that Ned, Chuck, and Emerson need to solve. If that sounds a little too much like a procedural for you, I guarantee that Law and Order has never had a case like these. Last season featured a scratch and sniff bomb, cars that ran on flowers, and a series of murders inside a candy shop. And if you like Jim and Pam on The Office, imagine if they couldn't touch! Watching Ned and Chuck kiss through saran wrap and hold hands through plastic is simultaneously adorable and sad.
Another reason to watch? The cast. As Ned and Chuck, Lee Pace and Anna Friel make their characters so awkwardly adorable that you have to root for them. As gruff PI Emerson, Chi McBride hilariously keeps the show from getting too gooey. Swoosie Kurtz and Ellen Greene as Aunts Lily and Vivian create a great odd couple, even as they are separate for being in the dark about Chuck's second life. And Wicked's Kristin Chenowith livens things up further as Olive Snook, the waitress hopelessly in love with Ned, and even sings from time to time.
Two episodes in, this season's looking just as great as the 9 that made up season 1. In the premiere, Chuck went undercover at a honey company (she loves bees) to find out who killed the former spokesperson (with bees). Olive took Hamlet's advice and got herself to a nunnery after hiding too many secrets (last season she found out Lily is Chuck's mother). And Chuck moved out of Ned's apartment into Olive's to start a more independent life (next door). In the second episode, Emerson took a case of a girl who ran away to the cirus because it reminded him of the daughter he hasn't seen in 7 years. This meant talking to a lot of dead clowns.
If this all sounds overly quirky and cutesy, it is, and the show is certainly not for everyone. The dialogue sometimes seems out of a Dr. Seuss story for its fast patter and alliterative names. But if you're looking for something both funny and touching, happy and sad, and always satisfying, there's nothing else like it on TV.