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With the sad cancellation of PUSHING DAISIES, the television landscape has become a far less whimsical and interesting place to visit. From the moment I sat down to watch my first episode of PUSHING DAISIES, I immediately knew that this was one of those television shows that were doomed to cancellation by the simple fact that it was far too good for the medium... or should I say, too good for the Jerry Springer watching masses that wouldn’t know a good television show if bit them on the flabby things they sit on, and unfortunately, that they also think with. Perhaps, if good television series like PUSHING DAISIES were declared endangered species, they could be federally protected from the idiocy of cancellation.

For those of you who have never seen an episode of PUSHING DAISIES, the series is concerned with the life of a pie maker named Ned (Lee Pace), who at an early age, discovered that he has an uncanny ability to resurrect the dead. Ned first learns of his strange ability, when a passing truck kills his dog Digby… Ned’s touch restores Digby to life. Ned’s second experience with his ability teaches him of the consequence of restoring life- something else in close proximity has to die in its place. Trial and error defines the rules more completely- a second touch from Ned will restore the recipient of his ability to a permanent death. The last rule… Ned’s ability can be invoked without consequence, as long as the dead are only restored to life for one minute or less. As a result of his unusual ability, Ned ultimately retreats from having any emotional attachments to life; maintaining a quiet existence of making pies and operating an establishment called The Pie Hole, where he sells his baked goods.

Of course, what would life be without complications? Hence, a private detective named Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) enters Ned’s life, and complicates his otherwise quiet existence. Upon discovering Ned’s uncanny ability, Emerson decides to take advantage of it, by having the pie man briefly resurrect murder victims, discovering who killed them, and then, collect any associated financial reward. Ned’s existence is further complicated by the death of Ned's childhood sweetheart Charlotte "Chuck" Charles (Anna Friel), whom he resurrects… but doesn’t have the heart to return to the grave. Romance blossoms between the two, but their relationship is also complicated by the fact that if Ned and Chuck actually do touch- their romance and her life would be ended in the same instant. Of course, Chuck’s presence doesn’t sit will with Emerson because she serves as a distraction for Ned. Even less thrilled by Chuck’s presence is Olive Snook (Kristin Chenoweth), a waitress at The Pie Hole, who happens to be "hopelessly devoted" to Ned. The cast of PUSHING DAISIES also features Ellen Greene and Swoosie Kurtz as Chuck’s eccentric aunts Vivian and Lily Charles, while Jim Dale serves as the series Narrator.

PUSHING DAISIES: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON ($50) comes to Blu-ray Disc in a two-disc set that features the following thirteen episodes that were aired during its second and final year: Bzzzzzzz!, Circus Circus, Bad Habits, Frescorts, Dim Sum Lose Some, Oh Oh Oh...It's Magic, Robbing Hood, Comfort Food, The Legend Of Merle Mcquoddy, The Norwegians, Window Dressed To Kill, Water And Power and Kerplunk. Season two deals with the growing relationships between the characters and the aftermath of secrets about said characters coming to light. With only thirteen episodes constituting season two, it should come as no surprise that this collection doesn’t tie up all the series loose ends.

Warner Home Video has made all thirteen episodes from PUSHING DAISIES: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON available on Blu-ray Disc in 1.78:1 wide screen presentations that have been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. Like the season one collection, the 1080p presentations contained in this set are truly marvelous and do justice to the series unique and quite beautiful visual style. Image sharpness, clarity, fine detail and dimensionality are all very impressive for a weekly television series. Sure, some modest softness creeps in, but it isn’t worth dwelling on. Colors are rich, vibrant and fully saturated, in addition to producing appealing flesh tones. Blacks are deep, whites are stable, plus the levels of contrast and shadow detail are excellent for this type of carefully crafted television production. The source materials don’t demonstrate any noticeable flaws. Grain/noise levels are quite modest.

All of the episodes that constitute PUSHING DAISIES: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 5.1 channel Dolby Digital 640kbps soundtracks. Sound wise, PUSHING DAISIES demonstrates the same solid sonic quality as was heard on season one. The sound design for the episodes maintains the same sweet musical fairy tale quality, we heard during season one, but it also remains fairly obvious that these are tracks were mixed for the necessities of television broadcast. In that stead, the forward soundstage is dominant, with the rear channels delivering a smattering of active effects, as well as the expected ambient sounds, and some musical fill. Fidelity is more than respectable and the musical component sounds quite nice. By the very nature of this material, the bass channel sees very limited activity. Dialogue is warmly recorded and easy to understand. A French 5.1 channel track is also encoded onto the disc, are Spanish and German 2.0 tracks. Subtitles are provided in English, French Spanish, and German.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as, as well as a few extras. Featurettes include the following programs: The Master Pie Maker (thirteen minutes), From Oven To Table (five minutes), Secret Sweet Ingredients (eight minutes) and Add A Little Magic (four minutes).

While it was in the air PUSHING DAISIES was a unique, whimsical fairy tale that was unlike anything else. The cancellation of PUSHING DAISIES marked the low point of the 2008-2009 television season. As for the Blu-ray presentations contained in this collection, they are quite lovely. Despite its cancellation, PUSHING DAISIES: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON comes very highly recommended.



Pushing Daisies: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] (2009)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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