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Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Dumping Miss Daisy

I saw the first Pushing Daisies when it was leaked pre-air in 2007. I thought it made a great mini-movie but couldn't see the long-running series potential in it. Series tend to follow formula and spread their invention, and this did neither.

The second episode surprised and convinced me. It was the second episode that made me a fan. Opening episodes get all the attention but it's second episodes that are vital in establishing whether a show's to develop a following. Every showrunner knows this and, trust me, they factor it into their global thinking about the series' design.

Today I learn that for its UK showings, ITV are skipping the second episode of Pushing Daisies for the usual reason - to privilege a sports fixture later in the schedule.

The BBC's clumsy re-edit of Rome's first three hours into two all but dissuaded me from staying with it. A friend talked me into giving the HBO cut a second chance, and I was hooked. There surely must be a lesson there.

4 comments:

Stan said...

The mind boggles - they have a few pretty good imported programmes for a change (i.e. Dexter and this one) and they do their best to alienate the viewers.

Chris said...

I've watched the third (but second, on ITV) episode of PD and can't see me continuing with it - the fantasy/surreal element feels too self-indulgent; there's no subtlety to the visuals.

I loved Twin Peaks because it was surreal, yet still grounded in reality: the town looked real, the people were real, yet everything was wrapped up in this Lynchian nightmare.

PD by contrast doesn't look real, and the character's aren't real - it's like someone took the look of The Truman Show and built a show around it.

On a closing note, Anna Friel is very surprising - hardly recognisable.

ITV's stance, though, is hardly surprising.

andrew.greenwood said...

I watched the first two episodes last night and loved it.
No one had mentioned that it had the brilliant Kristin Chenoweth (from the original Wicked cast) in it.
It was hard to tell that there was a missing episode apart from a couple of "previously" flashbacks.
you can read a "comic" version of it on the ABC site here http://abc.go.com/primetime/pushingdaisies/index?pn=comicrecap102
I love the colours it's shot in, i think it's more like the Wizard of Oz or when the colour comes back in Pleasantville than Truman. There is another similarly coloured film that I can't place (hopefully it's not Dick Tracy).
I am pretty sure that they are not aiming for realism in a show based on this premise!

Stephen Gallagher said...

Barry Sonnenfeld was the setup director and continues as Executive Producer, and you can see his touch in the visual styling. I bet he gets a bit cheesed off with all the Tim Burton comparisons, though.