- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Quirky, clever ‘Daisies’

Amid a new season filled with fantasy fare both new (NBC’s “Journeyman”) and returning (CBS’ “Ghost Whisperer,” the Peacock’s “Heroes”), comes ABC’s “Pushing Daisies,” a mystery-comedy-drama premiering tonight at 8.

There’s lots to love in this hourlong saga created by “Heroes” co-executive producer Bryan Fuller — a beautifully crafted odyssey that seamlessly blends real-life action with animation; a highly watchable and talented cast (including “Wonderfalls” alumna Lee Pace, British-born actress Anna Friel, “Boston Public’s” Chi McBride and Tony Award-winner Krisitin Chenoweth).

Likewise, “Daisies’ ” subject matter, the ability to raise the dead, is also intriguing.

However, whether the new show has staying power is another matter indeed.

Using the now familiar power of the voice-over (in this case, Broadway star Jim Dale, known best these days for voicing the Harry Potter characters for that title’s audio book series), the story begins in the picturesque hamlet of Coeur d’ Coeurs where a youngster named Ned happens, by chance, upon an extraordinary gift: his ability to bring dead things back to life with the simple touch of his finger.

Ned discovers the power when he stops to pet his dog after the animal was struck by a car. With a mere flick of the finger Fido is as good as new, and Ned soon begins resurrecting all creatures great and small — from pesky insects to his own mother, who suddenly drops dead while baking pies. The only trade-off: The affect appears to be temporary — and, worse, once someone is brought back to life, another person must die.

In the case of Ned’s mom, the unlucky victim of this trade-off is the dad of his childhood crush, a gal pal named Chuck. The years swiftly pass, and the two will meet again as adults when Ned (Mr. Pace) — now the owner of a pie-making shop — is called by a mysterious detective named Emerson Cod (Mr. McBride) to investigate Chuck’s (Miss Friel) equally mysterious death aboard an ocean liner. Cod, however, seems to have ulterior motives, namely the reward money that comes from solving not only Chuck’s murder but other homicides as well in the weeks ahead.

Although clever, the concept may become stale, leaving the obvious attraction between Ned and Chuck as the one thing worth sticking around for. That’s easier said than done, given the dire consequences (which we won’t reveal here) awaiting the two should they ever touch.

Perhaps for this reason, “Pushing Daisies” may have worked best as a limited series (as in Lifetime’s summer hit, “Army Wives”) — a concept broadcast networks have yet to embrace.

>’Park,’ Sarah on DVD

If you liked Sarah Silverman’s biting commentary after Britney Spears’ disastrous performance at the MTV Video Music Awards — and who didn’t? — you’ll want to tune in to Comedy Central for tonight’s second season premiere of “The Sarah Silverman Program” at 10:30 p.m. (It follows the season premiere of “South Park” at 10 p.m.)

If the VMAs were your first introduction to one of the sharpest comedians working today, shame on you. Get thee to a video store to pick up “The Sarah Silverman Program: Season One,” released yesterday on DVD. The single disc, retailing for $19.99, contains all six hilarious — and politically incorrect — episodes. Follow the self-absorbed Sarah as she lives out her failed beauty pageant career through a cute little orphan, decides (briefly) that she’s a lesbian and gets to know God.

‘CSI’ is No. 1

For the week of Sept. 24 through Sept. 30, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: 1) “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 25.2 million; 2) “Dancing With the Stars” (Monday), ABC, 21.2 million; 3) “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC, 20.9 million; 4) “Desperate Housewives,” ABC, 19.3 million; and 5) “Dancing With the Stars” (Tuesday), ABC, 18.5 million.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse and Kelly Jane Torrance from staff and wire reports.

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