Archive for Pushing Daises

Last Year’s TV – Pushing Daisies

Posted in Pushing Daises, TV with tags , on September 18, 2009 by pieman70

This Years TV: The New BloodDon’t worry; some big comic stories are coming to an end.  We won’t just have reviews of last years TV until next year.

Pushing Daisies showed its final season this year.  I was quite surprised it even got a second season, not because of any low quality in the show; no it was because it was such a strange and quirky piece of TV that I am still amazed it ever got past a board of execs.

This series continued the adventures of Ned, A pie maker who can bring people back from the dead.  It contained the usual, episodic quirky murder of the week combined with the ongoing sub-plots such as the Ned/Chuck/Olive love triangle and Emerson’s search for his missing daughter.  As a nice addition the finale had a 5 minute sequence roughly establishing how things panned out for all of the characters, while leaving the door open for more possibilities such as the proposed comic.

I’m going to miss this, its high production costs always meant it wasn’t going to survive in today’s cutthroat world of TV.  As SFX pointed out in their preview of US Fall TV the wild experimentation of 2 or 3 years ago has past, scheduled next year is a long line of safe options, some promising safe options but safe none the less.  Pushing Daisies shows what you can get when networks are willing to give anything a punt; it’s a series that the word Delightful was invented for, a small corner of technocolour joy in the grim dark world of modern TV, a series that could have a character in it called Randy Mann without it becoming annoying.

At the moment though I’ll have to bid a sad farewell to Ned the pie maker, to Charlotte Charles and her synchronised swimmer aunts, to Olive Snook and her random bursts into song and to Emerson Cod and all the other wonderful characters this series created.

DVD boxed sets you say, on my Xmas list.

The Pie Man Television Awards 2009

Posted in Ashes to Ashes, Battlestar Galactica, BBC, Being Human, Bonekickers, Channel 4, Chuck, Dollhouse, Heroes, Knight Rider, Lost, Pushing Daises, SF, Sky, Terminator, The Middleman, TV, Virgin 1 with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2009 by pieman70

Though I will do a more comprehensive review of this years TV, I thought I would first do my own mock awards ceremony for this years TV

For information, these awards are arbitrary, no prizes will be handed out and all the winners earn is Kudos or scorn.

Best New Series.

Actually quite hard this year, we’ve had a good wash of new stuff, much of which has been interesting, much of which has also been axed.  This years award really has to go to

The Middleman, a fantastically fun, daft and always brought a smile to my face.  A real highlight.

Best Series,

Again tough, Galactica was great stuff this year, Chuck has been first rate, the aforementioned Middleman was good and I really liked Knight Rider.  But in the end one series has stood out as must watch unmissable TV, and that is…

Lost, a great example of what a series can do when it’s not required to attract new viewers or provide a set amount of standalone episodes; it’s been brilliant this year

Most Improved Series,

Tough one, we had quite a few already good series from last year, and very little wasn’t firing on all thrusters.  Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was a contender; you could even make a case for the end of the final season of Galactica.  But however for me it must be

Ashes to Ashes.  This really has found its feet in its second season, to be honest because I think it stopped trying to fit what worked in Life on Mars into its different dynamics, elements such as the clown being a replacement test card girl never worked.  It also helped that Alex is a lot more unsure and self knowing and that the Gene Genie is much more his old self.  There were some nice twists on what we thought we knew at the end of LoM as well, particularly with the shock ending.  Looking forward to series 3 in a way I wasn’t for series 2.

Most gratuitous T&A in a series.

A little award to show when a series uses rather too many opportunity to shamelessly include scantily clad women.  Dollhouse was a contender, particularly the first few episodes being the televisual equivalent of one of those paper dress up dolls with Eliza Dushku pretty much being there to wear different outfits.  Seriously I was expecting her do to a Nurse and a French maid next.  But Dollhouse wasn’t the worst offender, nope, the winner of this illustrious award must be

Knight Rider. We go to Vegas, well in Vegas we must have shots of women lounging in the sun wearing bikinis right?  Right?  And next week mike’s mission take shim to a beach resort filled with insanely attractive people while later they infiltrate a millionaire’s bikini party.  Seriously, did they get money form a bikini manufacturer as well as Ford?

The Andromeda WTF is this still running award.

Due to the credit crunch this award in on Hiatus.  In truth, no series this year have really fallen into this criteria.  Heroes is close but I’m not quite ready to kill it just yet.

Best UK Network/Channel.

By rights this should be the BBC, their in house product has been of a good standard and they’ve learned the lesson from Sky in showing their import (just the one mind) very soon after its US airdate.  Sadly they produced a fail so epic that it disqualifies them from the best channel award, they scheduled Ashes to Ashes against Heroes, they effectively went into a ratings war with themselves.  Call me harsh but I do think it was a massively dumb piece of scheduling, particularly as they made Ashes to ashes, hold it for a few weeks, its not like people can torrent it until you’ve shown it (Aside form knock offs and test tapes).  I also stick by my rule with the BBC, they should never have the same sort of thing on BBC 1 and 2, normally this is a criticism levelled at sport, never have both showing sport, but its equally valid for something I actually enjoy watching.  A shame because the BBC really did do well this year and sadly with a heavy heart the award must go to

Sky 1. Aside from settling their Tiff with virgin Sky had a good selection of top shows, all shown usually within days of the US airdate.  Granted Next year they’ve lost 2 of their genre heavy hitters in Stargate Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica, but I would bet on them nabbing Stargate universe and wait to see what they look into nabbing to replace Galactica.  Still they shouldn’t rest on their laurels, the BBC would have taken them this year and Dr Who is back next year, plus if Virgin 1 ever gets their act together it could actually be a contender.

The Pirate Bay award for Services to bit-torrent,

the award given to a channel which has delayed showing a series for sol long that you might as well Bit Torrent it. There were two main contenders, and its been a tough call between them.  One is Virgin 1.  It’s trying its best to be a free Sky 1, but whether the problem is in the schedulers (Where did you get these guys, Channel 4?) or the contracts, they have a pretty poor record with showing TV after its US debut.  Virgin have 2 flagship genre shows, terminator and Chuck.  It took an age to get the new series of terminator on (Perhaps something to do with not showing it until bravo finished S1 repeats, dumb idea regardless) and they decided to opt for the particularly poor option of only showing one property at a time, so we’ve had to wait even longer for Chuck.

However, Virgin 1 are not the worst offenders, that must go to

Channel 4, ah yes, channel 4, do you wonder why we all groan whenever you get a genre series.  Remember Babylon 5 and the incredible floating timeslot, it was like you wanted it to fail “Wednesday at 6, ok then Sunday at 7, still watching, Thursday at a time decided by the phase of the moon.  And let’s not forget how you hacked Angel to pieces and buried SG1 and Enterprise on T4.  So, what have you done to incur my wrath.  Reaper.  Remember it, entertaining show, bit monster of the week but great fun.  Where is it, Series 2 long wrapped up in the US, but where is reaper, I know you have it.  Oh, unannounced return on Friday nights.  Thanks for that C4.

Only the Good Die young award,

An award of series that were great but axed early.  Middleman was a serious contender for this but I reckon I’ll invent an award for what happened to it.  Nope this one goes to

Pushing Daises, A great dollop of gentle whimsy, we never expected it to survive, and I worried that the quality would eventually dip.  This one has Cult series written all over it.

Never given a proper chance award,

for good shows that should have had more done for them, and would have been higher rated with a little more commitment from the network.  This  Goes to

Middleman, it was almost doomed out of the gate, No one saw it coming because ABC Family seemed to keep the existence of the show secret.  A damn shame as I reckon with even some marketing this could have been huge.

Most promising 1st Season.

Hmm, tough one this, Was tempted to give it to Knight Rider or Middleman, but both have been axed and so it’s a bit of an empty award if they don’t get a chance to follow it up.  Instead I’ll name

Being Human, for a series based on a premise that seems to be the start of a joke, they’ve built up a universe and a mythology around their Ghosts, vampires and werewolves.  This is impressive since, being a UK series it was substantially shorter than its US counterparts.  Season 2 will be on us in a few months and I really can’t wait to see the fallout

Most Off the Boil Series. For a series that was once great, and isn’t rubbish, but just doesn’t seem to be hitting the target at the moment.

Heroes, to be honest, its been off since season 2, its actually quite odd to think that during Season 1 of heroes it was Lost that seemed to be floundering around, going nowhere and Heroes was just blowing it out of the water.  How things have changed.  They’ve tried improvements, and some made for good TV, problem is I get a real feeling that the show runners have no idea where they’re going, and the series is floundering because of it.  I think the negative response to series 2 shook them, possibly they had a plan then, but now they’re just scrambling to try and keep people happy.  Great TV this does not make.

The Reilly 2040 Worst padding award.

Named after a good friend and fellow blogger who is begging for the US to consider 13 episode seasons rather than give us 7 episodes of dull padding a year.  There is only one choice for this year’s winner

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. When this series is advancing its plot, its top stuff.  I mean really good.  However when its padding it can be dire.  This series suffered form too many padding single episode stories and not enough advancing of the plot.  Shame because what we saw of the plot was brilliant.  To paraphrase the person this award is named for, “I nearly fell asleep during an episode set in a sleep clinic”

Worst network interference,

for when networks damage perfectly good series through stupid interference.  A contender for this was Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.  The call from Fox for more standalone episodes and fewer arc plot ones gave us the padding I lambasted in the last award.  However possibly the worst example has to be

Dollhouse. It had an intriguing concept, and there is definite promise in some of the later episodes, but once again Fox intervened with a  call for more stand alone and less arc plot.  They probably asked for more changes which resulted in re-writing and in cases shooting the pilot and the first 5 episodes.  From what the rumbles are, it was so Joss could take the series from where Fox wanted it to still work with his longer plans.  As a result, Dollhouse has been a bit of a mess frankly.

Pie Man special award.

An arbitrary award given to a show for reasons of my choosing.  Winner is

Chuck. Chuck is great fun, and series 2 (What I’ve seen of it Virgin 1) has been good so far.  Chuck wins the special award because I’ve not seen enough of it to compete for another category, and also because it is the series that could stand alone on its supporting cast comedy sub-plots.

Graceful retirement award,

An award for a series that has retired before its gone woefully downhill.  This could have been Pushing Daises, but I reckon it had another year at least in it.  Nope, it has to be

Battlestar Galactica. Great ending, and it ended, wasn’t axed and left hanging (terminator) wasn’t run out until you were begging for no more.  It ended, story told.  Well done

The McMillan’s Pasties – now with over 20% real cow, a true lunch treat – award for shameless product placement

An award for a series that has a marketing man’s fingerprints all over it.  Who else but

Knight Rider. So, KITT is a mustang, not bad, I likes my muscle cars, but he can turn into other vehicles in a massively unlikely way, fine, it’s a silly show, that’s why I love it.  But for some reason, KITT can only turn into cars manufactured by ford.  What next, the Autobots only transforming into cars manufactured by Chevrolet?

Guilty pleasure award,

for a series that wasn’t particularly good but which I found strangely enjoyable, but probably wouldn’t tell too many people.

Bonekickers. Ok, was it Genre TV, probably towards the not side of the grey area.  It was dumb, its history was flawed and for a team of archaeologists they seemed to destroy every valuable find.  They wrecked Excalibur for gods’ sakes.  However it was daft fun and I have a wee soft spot for it.  In no other series will you see a man attempt to fight an armed man by quoting significant dates from history at him.

Worst treatment of a series.

This is for a channel, network, or other body who I reckon has mistreated a series.  Naturally Channel 4 and Virgin 1 were both contenders, 4 for Reaper, Virgin 1 for the late arrival of Chuck, ITV were even in the running for the graveyard slot for Pushing Daisies, and no publicity for season 2.  But the award for Worst treatment of a series has to go to

Virgin 1 for their treatment of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.  So, you have a big show from the US, what do you do?  Well, let’s start it late.  That’s fun.  Make sure some people have given in and started bit-torrenting by the time we show the first episode.  Next, oh this is better, you know, why have we been putting this high profile show, which we clearly have spent money on buying and publicising, on at a peak 9pm slot?  People might watch it, nah, lets shunt worlds most violent neds on at that time and push it back to 10, that way it’s probably on too late for people who want to sleep, or have a job, or like to watch the news.  And gods help you if you want to catch the +1.  Good Job virgin, really nice.

So, its been long and rambling, but perhaps this will spur me on into actually writing up some stuff about what I’ve said on here in more detail.  Review of the year, here we come.