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DVD Review: Pushing Daisies: The Complete Second Season

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This forensic fairytale follows Ned, 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 flavor, but working with a private investigator to crack murder cases by raising the dead and getting them to name their killers. But the tale gets complicated when Ned brings his childhood sweetheart, Chuck, 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.

Read my review of the four-disc DVD set after the jump.

Pushing Daisies: The Complete Second Season

Available To Own On (click to purchase): DVD and Blu-ray

Official Site Link: www.pushingdaisiesdvd.com

Release Date: July 28, 2009  

SERIES

Just as with the first season, I absolutely loved the second season of Pushing Daisies.  It’s such an original concept and the cast is delightful to watch and the writing and stories absolutely superb.  Creator and executive producer Bryan Fuller has crafted a terrific series that is well worth your attention.

The only unfortunate part is that it lasted just two years.

Things started off strong with solid ratings and great critical acclaim, but the first season was cut short (9 episodes aired) due to the writers strike and the lengthy hiatus between seasons (10 months) pretty much did it in.  Although the second season is structured in a way where even newcomers can come on board and be at ease with the story and characters, ABC simply didn’t promote it as well as they could have and the 13-episode season was yanked before it finished its run (the remaining episodes were burned off on Saturday nights during this Summer).

But this truly is one of those situations where quality didn’t contribute to the cancellation because while I’m disappointed it didn’t catch on, I’m also confident that had it been promoted more effectively, the audience would have loved it as much as I did.

One of the strongest aspects of the show — in addition to the writing and overall episode content/structure — is it’s cast of characters.  Given only 13 episodes (22 in all when including the first season) it’s truly amazing just how well each character is serviced.  From Ned (Lee Pace) to Charlotte “Chuck” (Anna Friel); Aunts Vivian (Ellen Greene) and Lily (Swoosie Kurtz) to waitress Olive Snook (Kristin Chenoweth) and private investigator Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) and any and all the guest stars.  All these characters are treated with care and ample development and their back stories are as equally engaging and enjoyable as the show’s overall story arc.

And although it’s fair to say that everyone gets their respective moments this season, Kristin Chenoweth (Olive) in particular really shines.  Her role is expanded a bit in this season — often times tagging along with Ned, Chuck and Emerson, despite still being kept in the dark — and it’s all for the better.  She’s a terrific actress and has a wonderful sense for the words written for her.  Her recent Emmy nomination for best supporting actress –her second for the series — is once again well deserved.

If there is one complaint it’s how the show ended. And really, that’s no fault of the producers.  Knowing they were canceled, ABC allowed Fuller and the cast and crew to round out the story with a short epilogue. All in all, it’s adequate.  It may be a bit unsatisfactory, but given time constraints, I’m okay with it.

Simply put, this is just an outstanding series.  Wonderfully acted, beautiful cinematography and atmosphere and terrific writing and story-telling at its best, courtesy a strong narration track (the series is narrated by Jim Dale).

EXTRAS

All the extras are included on the fourth disc.

“The Master Pie Maker: Inside the Mind of Creator Bryan Fuller” (12:33 minutes) The longest, and my favorite, of the four featurettes is this first one.  It includes clips and interviews with the cast and crew and you see immediately their obvious love for the material and the chemistry between the cast.

“From Oven to Table: Crafting a Script Idea into Reality” (5:17 minutes) — Featurette focusing on the make-up design and props used during the elaborate death scenes and/or morgue set-ups.

“Secret Sweet Ingredients: Spotlight on Composer Jim Dooley’s Work” (7:45 minutes) — A featurette on the show’s music, with additional contributions from Fuller and the producers as well as Kristen Chenoweth (Olive) who has a few singing moments in the series (she’s a Broadway performer).

“Add a Little Magic: Executing Some Giant-Sized Visual Effects” (4:00 minutes) — Featurette focusing on the special effects in the series with contributions from the show’s SFX team on the rhino sequence that appears in the series.

Blu-ray Exclusives?

  • There are no special features exclusive to the Blu-ray version.

FINAL OPINION

This is an EASY recommend for me. Pushing Daisies is one of my favorite shows of the last several years.  It’s a shame Fuller wasn’t able to complete his vision on screen but I look forward to future dips back into this world and these characters  (through the in-development comic book series which Fuller has said he is working on).

The only reason this isn’t a five-star review is because I would have liked to see more extras.  Other than that, this will make a fine addition to your DVD (or Blu-ray) library.

Overall I give the second season of Pushing Daisies and this DVD release a score of 4.5/5.

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