Idol Chatter

With dazzling colors, quixotic characters and whimsical storylines, death and resurrection – not to mention pie– have never been treated with such Wonka-esque style as they are in ABC’s new dramedy “Pushing Daisies.” Unlike other new series that play around with the rules of living and dying (“New Amsterdam,” “Moonlight”), this series delivers on its promise to be clever and enchanting, even though I think it is going to be difficult for the show to sustain its look as well as its premise.To view a preview, click on the below…The premise of the series is that pie shop owner Ned discovered as a child that he had a special gift: to bring living creatures back to life with a single touch. He begins with his beloved dog who was hit by a car. From there, the gift becomes more complicated as Ned figures out the rules that go with the gift by trial and error – with tragic results. But as an adult, he finds a way to use the gift for good as he works with a partner to solve crimes by bringing murder victims back to life just long enough to ask them whodunit. After that, he touches them again and they continue to rest in peace -or at least, that’s what he does most of the time.Ned tries to skirt the rules of his gift when he discovers that his childhood sweetheart Chuck (its short for Charlotte) has been murdered . Ned brings her back to life but then wants to keep her alive, To do so, however, means that Ned will never be able to touch her again. Abstinence has never looked more deadly to Ned – especially when he is being pursued by lusty waitress Olive (a once-again-underused Kristin Chenoweth), as he continues to pine for Chuck.Yes, the banter and charm of this show are almost as impossible to resist as Ned’s triple plum pie, but the reason I am giving a little less of an enthusiastic “thumbs up” than some critics have is that the premise has some real flaws. Maybe it’s just me, but unlike a show like “Lost”, it seems problematic that Ned doesn’t know why he was chosen to receive his special gift or who bestowed it upon him. What’s more, if the idea is that a divine being of some kind is behind the gift, that being seems to take an especially perverse delight in traumatizing little children by deliberately not explaining all of the rules on how to handle this power wisely. But even if I am overanalyzing the mythology of the story’s design, a more practical concern is how the series will sustain the romance of the two star-crossed lovers when they can’t touch- much less date -you know, with her being supposedly dead and all. It’s a corner that I think will be difficult to get out of (note to the show’s writers: Do not even think of trying a time travel and/or dream sequence gimmick to help you out of this situation).Still, picking on one of the few fresh, genuinely entertaining new shows of the season makes me feel a little bit like a grinch. This show has the potential to have a cult following like “Heroes” does. The series producers just need to make sure that “Daisies” charm grows on the audience by giving it the right touch.

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