Pushing Daisies: First Impressions

It’s the first in my summer series of The Pilot Project! There’s a lot of good and bad TV out there, and I’m going to view it!

I thought I’d start with something that a lot of people have been telling me to try, including our fellow writer KT. So here goes. My thoughts on the pilot of Pushing Daisies.

Expectations: I’ve heard nothing but good things about Pushing Daisies, with the exception of one comment: “Sometimes the voiceover gets on my nerves.” Given that, I’ve got pretty high expectations. Well, perhaps “high expectations” isn’t right; more accurately, I expect to like it. It’s got a pretty  good cast (including a leading man from Wonderfalls) and a a creative premise (what I know of it). Now, I think Swoozie Kurtz might only have one eye in the series, which could be a deterrent, but still, I think I’ll enjoy it nonetheless. In fact, I expect I’ll want to continue watching, only to be very disappointed that it’s time on TV was cut short.

Reactions: Ok…that was…interesting. It certainly kept my attention. It was an interesting story, and I really loved Ned and Emerson (they were great together). I knew that there were strange colors and a unique setting, but I guess I didn’t realize how story-book this was. It reminded me a bit of Nanny McPhee with the majority of sets (the exception being the morgue, of course).

I will say, though, that I just am not sure about Anna Friel. I so desperately want her to be Zooey Deschanel. There’s something about the colors and the cute factor that makes me want Deschanel to be the leading lady. And sadly, Friel falls short. I still like her, but it’s an adjustment. She’s just not meeting what I would like to see of her in the show.

But she’s fun enough. Her personality is likable (though it would have been perfect for Deschanel), and I can certainly see where you desperately want these crazy kids together week to week.

Would I watch week to week? Well, it’s hard to say. It was intriguing enough to make me curious, so I imagine I’ll watch more. But what would the next episode look like? That’s a question that the pilot doesn’t quite answer. Where do Chuck’s aunts fit in, and when will they discover the truth about Chuck? Is this basically going to be a quirky procedural, where Chuck, Ned, and Emerson find killers week to week? What is this show?

But it did have its highlights. I did find myself laughing out loud, and as I mentioned before, Ned and Emerson’s relationship is fantastic. That alone is enough to tune into regularly.

Overall, I liked it. And that’s high praise. After all, the show started with killing a dog. That’s pretty hard to overcome. Now all I want to do is give that dog a hug, something Ned can’t do. Further observations? The narrator didn’t get to me all too much, but I do hope later episodes aren’t so heavy handed with it. There was a lot of exposition to share in this episode.

Last — and you know I have to at least say something about it — I can see past the eye patch (even if Aunt Lily can’t).

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Raked’s TV Top Ten List of the Decade

We’re signing off 2009 tonight, and we’re bringing in a new user: 2010. We’re not just ending a year but a decade this time (though some of you historian/mathematician types might disagree), so in honor of that, I’m posting this blog in honor of the best things about TV of the decade.

I’ve sorted my thoughts out as general ideas that seemed to have grown in the past ten years (though, to be fair, more so in the last five since my memory is rusty). So here goes:

Raked’s TV Top Ten List of 2000s (in no particular order):

1. Creativity: Sure, all our hopes and dreams get dashed when our favorite shows get canceled, but you’ve got to give it up for the creators of series that truly incorporate a distinctive idea in the show, moving beyond the normal ER drama or procedural. Think Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, and even our favorite sci-fi shows.

2. Music: Note: This is music, not montages. I don’t know the exact year that the WB started the trend of showing which songs were played in the episode, but it’s certainly grown since then. Now music plays a huge part of television. There are certainly times that I think of a show when a song plays on the radio. I attribute most of this to Scrubs, as that show certainly brings a lot of fantastic music to plot.

3. Musicals: Ok, so most of you hated them. But some were fun! Look at Buffy and Scrubs. They’re kinda weird, but they’re rather funky. I enjoyed. And this naturally brings me to…

4. Web Series: One of the newer innovations to television, and all resting on the wonderful series that is Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Plus, you’ve got The Guild, which I was introduced to over Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed, and it’s a whole new way to watch TV. All because of…

5. The Writers’ Strike: I’m sure most of you hate me for putting this on the top ten list, but honestly, it was a defining time for TV. Viewers finally noticed that TV goes beyond the pretty faces on the screen and there were smart people behind it. Plus, I got to meet Joss Whedon at one of the rallies.

6. The Middle Tier: Ok, I know that most of you see the cancellations of the series in the 2000s, but what about the middle shows that stuck around? I’m always impressed with this story of One Tree Hill, where it was never really huge, but it got enough viewers to have the freedom to stay on-air and do what it wants. Now it’s a wacky, popular show that for some reason I’m still watching. And you know it’s not the only one.

7. Cable Series: First, it was the HBO and Showtime series, and now we’ve got TNT, TBS, and USA. Don’t even forget the cable network that brings you Mad Men. These award-winning shows are coming from somewhere beyond our typical networks, which has really caused a shift in recent years. And some damn good television!

8. Neil Patrick Harris: Is it fair to put a person on the top ten list? Honestly, somehow in the past few years, he’s gone from long-gone child actor to one of the most entertaining. Heck, he’s even made us like musicals. I could say that he’s lengen–wait for it…

9. Fun Add-Ons: Dary. In the fun tribute to NPH, let’s think of the web add-ons to series. I’m not thinking merchandise, but instead, the viral things on the web that are in conjunction with shows. Can anyone say How I Met Your Mother? I don’t know how many external websites that show has now. Plus, think Big Bang and the Penny Blossoms website. Oh yeah, it’s out there.

10. Fan Support: I did leave this one for last because it did seem like a big one. But if you start with Jericho move through Chuck and land in the Dollhouse, you know what I mean. Fans just don’t give up anymore–and that’s a good thing.

So there’s my list. What did I miss? Let me know in the comments.

Don’t forget your favorite ABC rejects

So it’s summer. Nice, right? Well, in your maddening sea of reruns, I hope you remember to pull ashore in time to watch the end of your favorite ABC shows. You know, your ABC favorites like Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, and Dirty Sexy Money. And, of course, The Unusuals.

I’m more upset over Eli Stone‘s cancellation than I am about The Unusuals, but it’s a pretty slim margin. I loved The Unusuals. You could probably tell by my unusual attachment to Leo Banks and the fact that I adore any show with Amber Tamblyn. And the writing didn’t suck, too.

Honestly, I think the only cancellation this year I’m happy about is Cupid, just because if you were going to cancel it ten years ago, why bring it back with a sloppier cast? Anyway…

The Unusuals returns tonight at 10/9c to show their final eps. Why should you watch? Well, obviously, because it’s a good show. Also, because Noah Hawley (creator) twittered about a possibility of continuing the show elsewher, and if you support it now, maybe that will happen, no matter how fleeting it is. Honestly, I don’t know where and I don’t know how, but if it were to continue, I’d be a happy girl. A very happy girl. After all, we need to make sure Leo makes it to 43, right?

So watch tonight, and while you’re at it, write an email to ABC about how mad you are. Not sure what it might do, but show your support in some way. I’m hoping there might be a soft, faint glimmer of hope in what Noah twittered (should this be tweeted?), and I think the show deserves it.

Beyond that, don’t forget the rest of your ABC shows.

Pushing Daisies returns May 30 at 10/9c for three episodes (yeah, that’s this Saturday)

Eli Stone returns June 20 at 10/9c for four episodes

Dirty Sexy Money returns July 18 at 10/9c for four episodes

And while you’re at it, catch Kings on NBC, which returns sometime in June. Man, even though there’s good stuff on, this summer’s gonna be heartbreaking.

ABC serves up sloppy seconds

My God. When will ABC stop?

I believe I’ve mentioned how ABC has turned a one-man adoption agency. If only TV shows were children, we would no longer need foster care.

It’s not that it really bothers me that networks adopt other shows that have been cancelled. I mean, if that were the case, we would have lost the final two seasons of Buffy.

(I guess for some people, that would be a good thing, but I enjoyed season six…and parts of season seven. If only UPN hadn’t adopted Kennedy.)

Anyway, we all remember how ABC has adopted Scrubs for its final season. Of course, then it became a question as to whether it would be its final season. (Sidenote: Is that still up in the air? I certainly hope it’s their final season. As much as I like the show, it’s lived out its time.) And I was fine with that because I figured it was a special case and I knew the creator wanted to sign it off in his way and the writer’s strike really messed with that, so there you go. ABC gets it. We’re happy.

But apparently, ABC won’t stop there. First they get Surviving Suburbia from the CW (I think the jury’s out on whether that’s a good move or not). Now, they have their sights set on The New Adventures of Old Christine.

Now, I’m not a Christine fan. I don’t find anything wrong with it; I just haven’t watched much of it. I think that they’ve got some great characters in it, and that by moving it to Wednesday nights, CBS probably signed its death certificate, but I don’t know enough to really say yes or no. Speculation, that’s all it is.

Well, apparently now ABC wants it. What’s funny is, it’s not cancelled yet. CBS hasn’t made a decision. According to TV Squad, this happened last year, too. And at the last minute, CBS decided not to cancel.

Dude, what’s up with you, ABC? Can’t you come up with your own programming? I mean, you’ve got Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, and Desperate Housewives. You don’t have any other creative individuals?

Oh, that’s right. Why be creative when your best shows are cancelled one after the other? Why not just find someone else’s creativity and profit off that?

After the cancellation of Eli Stone, Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, and Life on Mars, it’s probably pretty clear that creativity isn’t what ABC’s looking for. So they’re gobbling up other shows, I suppose. Even ones from ten years ago. Cupid, anyone?

Bah. I want some real shows on the air. Not sloppy seconds.

Strangely enough, this wasn’t supposed to be a bitter post. I was just going to share the news. Apparently, though, there’s more to say. Are the networks recently angering you? Are you still annoyed at ABC for your favorite shows’ quick end? Please share.

I can’t be the only one.

The ‘Kings’ have left the castle

If you’re a fan of Kings, you’re out of luck. According thefutoncritic.com, NBC has officially taken Kings off its schedule. It’s unclear as to whether all of the remaining seven episodes will air, though NBC’s Kings site does say new episodes will return in June.

I’m not pleased. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that’s an understatement. It’s true, I never really reviewed Kings. JC did a guest post pleading for NBC to keep the show going, but beyond that, there’s been little on this site.

What irritates me about this is that they gave Kings the Saturday death slot (worse than the Friday night death slot, if you recall), and then gave it one week to make numbers. That’s right. They gave it one Saturday. They skipped a week in airing the show and then expected viewers to naturally move into Saturday night without any question or confusion.

And why would there be confusion? Well, I don’t quite recall NBC really advertising the move. Where did I find out? First, blogs. Second, Twitter. If it weren’t for KingsonNBC’s constant updates about the when and wheres of Kings, I probably would have missed the change. In fact, when I questioned them about the skipped week, they were very quick to clarify exactly when it would be returning. They were quite helpful.

I really hope now they’re not out of a job.

How many of you missed some of your favorite shows recently because they were on a “special night,” like Monday’s Bones? Or maybe you didn’t know about the special episode of The Unusuals on tonight? And those were advertised? How are we supposed to know about a show’s change in night if there’s no advertisement in the medium people watch the most–TV?

My only guess is that NBC assumed that most of the viewers were Twitterers or bloggers. I’m assuming they found this out because most of the info online about the show is on blogs and Twitter. Well, how else are people supposed to spread the word? But that ignores a large group of people that aren’t constantly online but are interested in the show!

Does stopping it based on this Saturday’s numbers even take into account DVR numbers? I don’t know.

Anyway, I’m peeved. This feels like Drive all over again, this time by NBC. Honestly, I felt the show was probably a bit too smart for TV today and would have been better served as a mini-series, but if you’re going to dedicate yourself to a show, then dedicate yourself, NBC! Treat it right!

So at least the plan is to show more new episodes this summer, I guess like ABC is doing for Pushing Daisies and Eli Stone. But whether they’ll give the show time to show all remaining seven, I don’t know. So if you want that, I’d suggest you head on over and contact NBC pronto.

And if anything, hey, at least there’s a DVD.

UPDATE: According to Live Feed, “Kings will return to its Saturday 8 p.m. slot June 13 and will finish its run through July 25.” That’s seven episodes, right? Think NBC will keep its promise?

Friday night death slot? I think not.

[UPDATE: Felicia Day just tweeted that her episode (episode 13) of Dollhouse is not being aired. The season will end with episode 12. What this means for the series is still unknown. I found this out after writing this post, but please read on anyway, as my ultimate point is still valid.]

Ok, so I’m sure you all assume that by the name of this post, I’m going to be talking about Dollhouse because it’s in the “Friday night death slot,” but I’m not. Sure, Dollhouse is in a bit of trouble and it’s still uncertain whether it will be picked up for another season, but hey, at least it’s not as bad as Sarah Connor (sorry, fans).

But I’m here to argue that Friday night is not necessarily the slot of death. Instead, let’s turn our attention to Saturdays.

What’s on Saturdays? WWF and reruns? Well, last time I checked, that’s what was on. But then again, that was probably about four years ago. But reruns no more. It’s now the newest home to new shows…

…that are dying. If you haven’t heard, Kings was most recently moved to Saturday nights at 8:00. Apparently unable to kill in the ratings, NBC has decided to move it to another night. Now, reasonably, this could be all for the purpose of seeing how it’s doing on another night and possibly giving it time to grow and prosper. But it’s Saturday. Do you watch TV on Saturday?

Please comment below: Do you watch TV on Saturday, and if you do, what do you watch? I think I watched House Hunters once while I cooked dinner.

Anyway, for those of us with less optimistic minds, you probably see the move more like this: They moved Kings so that they could let it live out the rest of its season and then die a horrible, unfinished, untold death.

I’m a fan of Kings. I think that despite the move, people should still watch. So please do. I’m really disappointed about the move, but there’s not really anything I can do about it (except write the network and beg that they not cancel the show–and, yes, I’ve done that).

But NBC’s not the only home for Saturday deaths. ABC has taken the opportunity to breathe new life into our cancelled favorites–only to rip the oxygen away at the first chance. Here’s an excerpt from the report:

And finally, ABC rises Wednesday nights from the dead. Though this is at the very bottom of ABC’s press release it will likely lead most news stories covering the announcement. Daisies returns to the schedule as of Saturday, May 30, through Saturday, June 13, at 10:00 p.m.; Stone on Saturday, June 20, through Saturday, July 11, at 10:00 p.m.; and Money on Saturday, July 18, through Aug. 8 at 10:00 p.m.

Because it’s not enough just to cancel quality programming. We have to choose a night when no one’s watching so it won’t compete with the sucky program ABC chose to keep.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled they’re airing final episodes for Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, and of course Eli Stone. But Saturday night at 10:00? Good God!

So if you’re ever wondering what TV can do to shows that’s worse than Friday, take a look at Saturday. The best quality you never see.

Do you hate ABC? I hate ABC.

Seriously. It’s bad enough that ABC is cancelling our favorite shows. Well, one of my favorite shows: Eli Stone. Then, of course, there’s the cult following of Pushing Daisies, as well as Dirty Sexy Money.

So they’re cancelling our shows. And we’re lucky that two out of three are getting “finales.” I say “finales” because if they were true finales, we would have a normal, timely ending because the show was allotted its usual 22 episodes for the season. But no, ABC is cutting the season and figured they’d be nice by giving them 4 more episodes to compile a “finale.” And that’s not even for all three.

What’s more? How about waiting…

And waiting…

And waiting…

For the remaining episodes? That’s right, according to the newest report here, we won’t get to see the remaining episode of the shows until this SUMMER.

That’s right. We won’t find any conclusions until at least June. Just enough time to forget the shows were even ever long, let alone any storylines that had been processing or building. Taylor’s baby would be born by June if Eli Stone were real. Uggh.

How is this fair? The shows probably have about four episodes left each, I bet. Why not just put them through the Christmas hiatus and just let us finish them out? Or maybe start some of the mid-season shows later. Stop showing multiple hours of Scrubs a week and show these shows. After all, last week’s episode of Pushing Daisies was overtaken by the encore episodes of Scrubs that premiered the day before.

I’m sure there are time slots. I don’t even know if anyone’s watching all the reality crap they’ve filled their holes with.

I’m really frustrated. Bad enough that they cancelled, but now they’re treating the shows and the fans crappily. Down with ABC. Grrrr.