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bionicwoman_idol.jpg It is human nature to contemplate Big Questions about death, the stunning fragility of life, and even, occasionally, to wish for immortality. Christians believe in resurrection and hope for an eternity of bliss in heaven, and Hindus pray to exchange their ticket on the endless wheel of death and rebirth, death and rebirth, for moksha–the becoming of pure, eternal spirit.
These very themes are what make me so excited about this fall’s television lineup, most especially these five new shows that will play around with the promises and perils of eternal life, the struggles of immortality, and defying death in spades:
1. “Pushing Daisies” (premiering Oct. 3, ABC): How can anyone not be excited about this funky, candy-colored take on the crime-solving procedural, featuring the pie-maker Ned (Lee Pace), with a talent for glorious desserts and, oh yeah, the touch of life (and also starring the wonderful Kristin Chenoweth). Ned can bring people back from the dead. When he’s not baking, he’s helping the police solve murders by bringing the victim back to life to find out whodunnit.
A second touch from Ned sends them back into the ground. And there’s that irresistible romantic twist–Ned’s childhood sweetheart Charlotte “Chuck” Charles (Anna Friel) is murdered, and after he brings her back from the dead to solve the crime, because he can’t seem to let her go again. Of course, this means no touching …


2. “New Amsterdam” (premiering Sept. 25, FOX): Here’s a sexy New York City police detective in search of his soulmate (while he solves crimes, of course), who also happens to be immortal? Four hundred-year-old John Amsterdam is the beneficiary of the blessing or curse (depending on how you look at it) of eternal life–with one catch. Only finding his soulmate with return him to the ranks of us mortals. He’s getting desperate …
3. “The Bionic Woman” (premiering Sept. 26, NBC): I can’t wait for this 21st century update of the 70’s classic. Jaime Sommers (Michelle Ryan) cheats death, but not out of her own volition. At heaven’s door she is the unwittingly the subject of a medical experiment that turns her from ordinary girl to superheroine of extraordinary powers and then, of course, great responsiblity.
Is she the same girl she used to be? Can she get back to the way things were before the accident? Does she even want to? Accepting indestructibility can be hard, after all.
4. “Journeyman” (premiering Sept. 24, NBC): So Dan Vasser (Kevin McKidd) isn’t immortal exactly, but he sure can play with time and the normal constraints we humans face in this particular category. Dan wakes up one day to discover he is a time traveler, and he finds himself suddenly in the past one day, the future the next, and changing all sorts of lives along the way. As a newspaper reporter that can be a wonderful perk, but as a family man it can be challenging.
5. “Moonlight” (premiering Sept. 28, CBS): Sexy vampires. Need I say more?
What fall television shows are you most looking forward to? Any of your favorites have an immortality, or spiritual theme? Send in your comments.

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