Some shows are just better when binge-watched. Whether it's the latest BBC comedy, a PBS miniseries from the '70s, or just that cultish show prematurely scrubbed from a network — we're hooked on the stream. So, we're unrolling Staying In(stant), a new feature highlighting the best of streaming content. Each week, we bring you a show we're obsessed with and think you should be, too.
This week? Pushing Daisies — the cult-followed dark comedy in which witty, hyperbolic dialogue and robust, blown-out visuals meet!
Where To Watch: TheWB.com, Amazon Prime
How I Got Hooked:
It was the 2009 Primetime Emmys. And, relatively unknown Kristin Chenoweth just beat out Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series — with a funny, moving, and daring speech, no less. You see, Girl used her stage time as an open call for prospective acting jobs. In fact, she may have won TV's most prestigious award for her role as heartbroken, chatty Olive Snook, but the world in which Olive existed — Pushing Daises — was no more. The show was canceled by then, partly due to the writers' strike, but Chenoweth's spirit stole my heart. I instantly put Pushing Daisies in my Netflix queue (it was available to stream at the time). And, the minute I watched Kristin deliver one of many long, convoluted monologues, I was hooked. Not gonna lie: The morbid subject matter, visual eye candy, and the handsome Lee Pace only helped to feed the addiction.
Mostly every episode follows the same formula: Private-investigator-in-a-perpetually-bad-mood Emerson Cod brings a murder case to his partner/pie maker Ned (Pace). Ned, who has the ability to bring the dead back to life for one minute, questions the deceased victim. With new clues (because, apparently, dead people are chatty and never have enough time to identify their murderer), Emerson, Ned, his recently dead-but-alive-again childhood love, Chuck, and neurotic waitress Olive — a veritable Scooby gang — solve mysteries and find murderers. Imagine the glorious, magically induced hijinks that ensues! The amusing antics and sentimental message really shine in season one, episode eight, "Bitter Sweets." On top of the usual goodness, we're treated to a guest-star appearance by Molly Shannon, two murder cases, a pie versus candy shop "turf war," and a Lars And The Real Girl-type plot. In the end, we see the cold, hard realities of living in a dream world. But, this episode is at both times disturbingly sweet and uncomfortably honest, and I loved every moment of it.
Why You'll Love It:
Sure, murder, death, and other macabre motifs supply the storylines, but whatever darkness there is brilliantly juxtaposes against vibrant visuals, quirky characters, and the constant theme that true love transcends a lifetime. It's witty, creative, and more importantly, purposely cheesy. However, the dark humor appeals to both the realist and the dreamer. Full of double entendres, metaphors, puns, and rapid-speed dialogue that could rival the Gilmore Girls, this show was made for word geeks like me and in-the-closet and overt romantics everywhere. Unfortunately, this "forensic fairy tale" — even with all its super-fancy critical acclaim — ended way too soon. (The final season ended with a haphazard resolution since it got canceled.) Lucky for you, whether you're a dark, emo, suffer-in-silence type, or rainbows and butterflies are more your jam, you can spend your next weekend in on two seasons of dark, dreamy bliss.