Saturday, July 18, 2009
See my Blog DVD Review of Pushing Daisies: The Complete Second Season:
Pushing Daisies: The Complete Second Season (Warner, $49.99) brings the second and unfortunately the final season, of the comedic drama that is enchanting, original, different, and entertaining!
Pushing Daisies centers on the life of Ned, a pie-maker gifted with the mysterious ability to bring dead things back to life by touching them. There are a couple of conditions to this somewhat unwanted talent, however. Ned quickly learns that if something is revived for more than exactly one minute, something of similar "life value" in the vicinity drops dead, as a form of balance. Additionally, if he touches the revived thing a second time, it falls dead again - permanently. Ned discovered his gift as a child by resurrecting his Golden Retriever, Digby, after the dog is hit by a truck...now Ned can never touch his dog again. And later he found his childhood sweetheart (Charlotte "Chuck" Charles) dead and resurrected her...and he can never touch her again, either. The pie-maker has now teamed up with private eye Emerson Cod in solving homicides by bringing them back to life for a minute to get clues.
The series aired on ABC and starred Lee Pace as Ned, Anna Friel as Charlotte "Chuck" Charles, Chi McBride as Emerson Cod, Ellen Greene as Vivian Charles, Swoosie Kurtz as Lily Charles, and Kristin Chenoweth as Olive Snook. The series is narrated by Jim Dale. Among the specials guests for the second season are French Stewart, Autumn Reeser, Stephen Root, Fred Willard, Orlando Jones, David Arquette, Wendie Malick, Josh Hopkins, and Gina Torres.
This second season is once again charming and riveting. We get 13 episodes for season two, beating the 9 episodes in the first season which was shortened due to the writers' strike. The series was nominated for 12 Emmys including one for Lee Pace and Kristin Chenoweth in season one. For season two Chenoweth was nominated once again and was nominated for a total of 5 nominations. Some classic episodes for season two include the season premiere "Bzzzzzzzzz!," where Chuck goes undercover as a "Bee Girl" at a honey-based cosmetics company after their new spokesmodel is stung to death. In "Bad Habits," Olive calls on the Pie Maker and Emerson to solve a suspicious suicide of a fellow nun that she believes was murdered. In "Comfort Food," Ned and Olive compete at the Papen County Comfort Food Cook-Off, where Ned brings back to life Colonel Likkin, who was mysteriously deep fried to death. In "The Norwegians," Ned, Chuck, and Emerson finally meet their match when three rival Norwegian detectives start to get in their way after Vivian hires them to investigate the disappearance of Dwight Dixon. And finally in the series finale "Kerplunk," the past becomes the present when one half of the Darling Mermaid Darlings’ arch rivals, the Aquadolls, is killed. Those episodes really stand out, but they are all very good.
The packaging has a box holding the case inside. The front of the box has a nice blue sky with nice white fluffy clouds (show logo in the clouds again) setting with the entire cast sitting on daisies. The back cover has information on the series and has nice artwork of Ned and Chuck in the clouds again, as Ned is sitting on a pie. On top of that we have a nice quote from USA Today. There is also a section detailing the special features and credits & technical specifications also. Then inside is the nice case itself. Last time it was themed for The Pie Hole menu, this time it is themed to look like the Betty's Bees episode. The front of the case has the show logo inside some honey with a few bees surrounding it inside I believe a bee hive. The back of the case also has the bee hive with a few bees. Opening the case, we get an episode booklet on the left side. The episode booklet is very creative again. It is designed for the Betty's Bee episode! The front has the show logo with some bees flying around and a jar of honey. Inside the booklet, it has nice photos, episode numbers, titles, original airdates, writers, directors and a synopsis of the episode. We also get cast credits and special features listings inside some honey. As for the discs, a little white holder holds discs one and two, then you can flip that like a page in a book and you get disc three and four on the next little holder. Each disc is on one side each of the holder. The artwork on each disc is very cool! They are surrounding a big daisy! Disc one has episodes 1-4 with artwork of Chuck and Ned. Disc two has episodes 5-8 and has artwork of Olive and Emerson. Disc three has episodes 9-12 and has artwork of Digby the dog and Pigby the pig. And finally disc four has episode 13 and the extras and has artwork of Aunt Vivian and Aunt Lilly.
The menu screen is basic but it works. The closing theme is playing in the background with the same artwork as the cover art on the box. There are auto-trailers on discs one before the main menu starts...all it is a trailer for Blu-ray for WHV. The options on the main menu are Play, Episodes, Languages and Extra Helpings (disc four only). In the Languages section, we have the option of audio in English or Portuguese and subtitles in English, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Thai or Spanish. The Episodes option has three screenshots on the left and the episodes are listed in he middle, similar to last time. We once again have an option to turn on or off the recaps before episode episode, as they can get annoying if you're watching these straight through. Extra Helpings option is only on disc four and it has those extras.
The episodes run usually between 41-43 minutes or so...unedited of course with all the great music intact. There are about 7 or 8 chapter stops per episode, counting the recaps. There is an option on the menu to turn off the recaps, as mentioned earlier. After the seventh episode of the season, there are no more recaps anyway, so on discs three and four we don't have the option. The video is digitally mastered and is in widescreen and looks very good! The audio is great and sounds very good, as it is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. This is from the 2008-09 season, so it had better be good. One tidbit, the "Robbing Hood" episode has the full opening theme! Every other episode has that short 5 second opening with the show logo, as that is how it was originally.
Moving on to the Extra Helpings. This is only on disc four. The menu has a honey jar with bees flying around. We get four little featurettes. The first one is titled "The Master Pie-Maker" and it runs 12:32. Interviewed are Bruce Cohen (executive producer), Dan Jinks (executive producer), Kristin Chenoweth, Bryan Fuller (creator, writer, executive producer), Chi McBride, Ellen Greene, Swoosie Kurtz, Lee Pace, Ana Friel, Jeff Johnson (roperty master), Todd McIntosh (make-up department head), and Michael Wylie (production designer). This extra is about the brilliant mind of Bryan Fuller. How creative is he? Then we have "From Oven to Table" and it runs 5:16. Interviewed are Bryan Fuller, Todd McIntosh, Daniel Curet (hair department head), Lee Pace, Ana Friel, Michael Wylie, and Kristin Chenoweth. This one is very short but good, as we see how the make-up department handles the dead people. Lots of make-up! The third one is titled "Secret Sweet Ingredients," and it runs 7:44. Interviewed are Bryan Fuller, Kristin Chenoweth, Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks, and Jim Dooley (composer). Jim Dooley does an excellent score for each scene. We see his secret sweet ingredient added to the show! Finally, we have "Add a Little Magic," and it runs 3:59. Interviewed are William Powloski (visual effects supervisor) and Elizabeth Castro (visual effects producer). This feature is about the effects used in the rhino scene from the episode "Window Dressed to Kill."
I highly recommend you buy this DVD set, especially if you have the first season. It is such a shame the writers' strike ruined the momentum in the first season as I think it could be still going right now if it had a full first season of 22 episodes instead of 9! Who knows it could have had 22 for season two as well. I think the long break between seasons killed the show. Maybe ABC should have brought it back in April of that year for 6 more episodes or so. Warner Home Video has done a great job AGAIN with this series on DVD. We have wonderful artwork, scenery, brilliant performances, and just a fun show to watch. It ended too soon and I wish it didn't. Long live this show and I said "oh hell no" when I heard the series was gone. So you better buy this DVD and watch what you missed!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
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Our blog DVD reviews continues tomorrow for the third straight Sunday special, this time a look at the classic American Gladiators on DVD! Stay with us tomorrow!
New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)
10/04 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Christmas Special (Colorized)
10/04 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #1 (Colorized)
10/11 - Dr. Ken - Season One
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Series
10/11 - Nurse Jackie - Seasons One and Two
10/11 - Weeds - Seasons One and Two
11/01 - Schitt's Creek - Seasons One and Two
11/08 - Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season
11/08 - Your Family or Mine - Season One
11/15 - Community - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Lucy Show - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Mindy Project - Season Four
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