Genre shows unfortunately tend to have a short lifespan. They’re expensive to produce and unless they score huge in the ratings, they generally get cancelled in favor of cheaper, more populist programming like reality TV. Some of the most beloved cancelled shows include ‘Firefly’ and ‘Torchwood’, while Syfy viewers are now mourning the axing of ‘Dark Matter’, the latest in this trend. But perhaps it’s even harder for shows that skew quirkier than these straight-up sci-fi series. Bryan Fuller‘s ‘Pushing Daisies’, about a pie-maker named Ned (Lee Pace) who can reanimate the dead who uses his gift to solve crimes with the help of his reanimated girlfriend Chuck (Anna Friel), cantankerous private eye Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) and his lovestruck waitress Olive (Kristen Chenoweth), lasted only two seasons on ABC, but retains a devoted cult following even today, roughly eight years after its cancellation.
Might this romantic fantasy have a shot at being reanimated itself? Fuller hopes so. He recently discussed this series in an interview with Vanity Fair, saying:
“I still would love to do Pushing Daisies as a Broadway musical. I’d love to see it return as a mini-series for Netflix, Apple, or Amazon, or whoever would pick it up. I love these actors. I love Lee Pace like a brother. I love Anna Friel like a sister. Chi McBride is such a wonderful ball of light that can only be matched by Kristin Chenoweth’s ball of light.”
“I ask Warner Brothers every year to see if they’d be open to it. There are some obstacles there as far as revitalizing it as a television show, but like I said, I’d love to see it as a Broadway musical. I can just imagine Tim Minchin’s lyrics, can’t you? If you’re reading this article, Tim, call me!”
‘Pushing Daisies’ originally aired in 2007, but ten long months passed between the Season One finale and the premiere of the second. It was long enough for some viewers to jump ship. The one good note is that Fuller and his crew knew the show had been cancelled, so they were able to reshoot the final episode, which originally ended with a cliffhanger.
During its brief run, ‘Pushing Daisies’ won seven Primetime Emmys, including Outstanding Supporting Actress for Chenoweth, and was nominated for a total of 17. In 2015, it came in first in an Esquire poll to determine which TV show fans would most like to see return.
Considering Chenoweth’s extensive background in musical theater (she was the original Glenda in ‘Wicked’), the show dabbled with music, so reviving it as a stage musical could certainly work.
Tim Minchin was not affiliated with the show, but he did pen the whimsical stage show ‘Matilda: The Musical’ which won the Tony Award and Olivier Award and was nominated for a Grammy. His most recent show, ‘Groundhog Day’ based on the classic Bill Murray comedy is now playing on Broadway. His offbeat style would be a perfect match for ‘Pushing Daisies’.
In the years since ‘Pushing Daisies’ ended, Fuller has gone on to create the shows ‘Hannibal’, ‘American Gods’ (which also includes Chenoweth in its cast) and ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ (although he quit/was fired after developing it). He is currently working on an update of sci-fi anthology ‘Amazing Stories’.
Were you a fan of the show? Would you like to see it return? And if so, in what form?