Pushing Daisies on DVD

Monday, 30 June 2008 05:51

Pushing Daisies became something of a ‘breakthrough’ series in the UK, becoming one of the first American fictional shows for many years to get a primetime slot on ITV1. In decades past, imports were far more part of the regular diet of Britain’s major commercial channel. However, against what was perceived as a backlash against shows from across the pond, American series have mainly been consigned to late nights and afternoons.

This Golden Globe nominated drama punched through that, received rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic, and with the new DVD release of the first season of nine episodes, you yourself can re-evaluate whether the series deserved to be considered such a leader of a revolution.

Pushing Daisies Series 1In the UK, Warner Home Video bring us this hit series from the pens of acclaimed writers Bryan Fuller (Heroes, Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me) and Barry Sonnenfeld (“Men in Black”), and tends to get categorised as a features blend of romance, fantasy and mystery. 

The news release for this DVD describes Pushing Daisies as a “forensic fairytale”. It follows Ned (Lee Pace, ex of Wonderfalls), a young man with a very special gift. As a boy, Ned discovered that he could return the dead briefly back to life with just one touch. Now a pie maker, Ned puts his ability to good use, not only touching dead fruit and making it ripe with everlasting flavour, but working with a private investigator to crack murder cases by raising the dead and getting them to name their killers. 

His life as a pie maker gets more complicated when private investigator Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) learns about Ned's secret.  Emerson convinces the cash-strapped Ned to help him solve murder cases (and collect the hefty reward fees) by raising the dead and getting them to name their killers. 

Then we have the romantic twist to the tale, which begins when Ned brings his childhood sweetheart Charlotte "Chuck" Charles (Anna Friel of Brookside fame), back from the dead - and keeps her alive. Chuck becomes the third partner in Ned and Emerson's private-investigation enterprise, encouraging them to use Ned's skills for good, not just for profit. Life would be perfect for Ned and Chuck, except for one cruel twist: if he ever touches her again, she'll go back to being dead, this time for good. 

Chuck was murdered on a cruise ship under strange circumstances.  Her death leads Ned back to his hometown to bring Chuck back to life, albeit briefly, and solve the crime.  Ned helps her escape after her grieving aunts, Lily (Swoosie Kurtz) and Vivian (Ellen Greene), former synchronized swimmers, think they've buried her forever. 

Narrated by comedy icon Jim Dale, it’s not long before Ned discovers his random gift isn't without other deadly consequences.     

As a pie shop owner, Ned puts his talent to good use by touching dead fruit and making it ripe with everlasting flavour.  But his gift leaves him wary of becoming close to anyone, as beautiful waitress Olive Snook (Kristin Chenoweth) finds out.

The show has gone to a second season Stateside, so we do get to see more than just the nine episodes over three discs that you find on this DVD set.  However, here’s the twist with this set that may annoy a lot of UK fans, in these days of multi-region DVD players and cheap trans-Atlantic postage. 

The main benefit of this set, according to the marketers, is the fact viewers get to see the SECOND episode of the series.  Now, this was one of those toe-curling incidents that makes most TV fans throw things at their TV set, and consider ITV with a great deal of contempt.  In their ‘wisdom’, ITV announced they only had enough schedule slots to show eight of the nine episodes, basically consigning the second episode to only be available at their website by online download. 

So, with this set you get to see all the episodes, in the original order, as the producers intended.  It has to be said this is little consolation to fans, who ITV1 expected to invest eight weeks of their time in a show, but that the series wasn’t worth nine weeks.  This was one of the historic reasons why it was always seen to be the case that ITV getting an imported show to screen was effectively the kiss of death for that particular series.  Treating such shows as no more than filler material means you don’t value the programme.  So, why on Earth should your viewers either? 

The official reasoning was that there were only eight weekends available before the start of football’s European championships, which ITV was screening half the games from.  Well, any dumbo knows the answer to that is to show TWO episodes on a weekend.  They could have easily wrapped up with a double episode to conclude the run.  Not exactly rocket science, is it? 

The other way that UK fans are going to get annoyed comes from this release in the UK.  If you were in the USA, the Region 1 release actually features extras.  According to information you can easily locate online, these bonus features include: “Pie Time: Time for Pie” – an interactive featurette with ‘Flavourful, Fresh-Baked Pie Slices as your Entree and Cast/Creative Team Members Dishing Forkfuls of Series Secrets’ with the creators of the show, the set designer and special effects team, who all come together to make this show so unique; and special interviews with creator Bryan Fuller and Lee Pace as they discuss their favourite first season scenes. 

These are shamefully NOT on the UK Region 2 release.  In fact, there are NO extras at all! Needless to say, I have already noted the displeasure to the marketing team that this will cause the fans over here! 

The three DVD set of Pushing Daisies is approx 380 mins long, has a ‘12’ certificate, and is priced £29.99 – or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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