I'm thoroughly charmed by this show. I was a little afraid all the great things I've been hearing would lead to disappointment, but I must admit I loved the episode.
" Ned's first touch to something dead brings life, the second brings death forever.
" If the person he brings back stays alive for more than one minute, someone else in close proximity will die.
Ever since Ned (
Lee Pace) was able to bring his trusty golden retriever Digby back from the dead, he has known he has the gift of reanimation. He was 9 when he found out. Unfortunately he didn't realize his gift came with a price until he revived his mother only to watch his next-door neighbor and best friend Charlotte, aka Chuck (
Anna Friel), Charles' father die as a result. Soon after, Ned is shipped off to boarding school, and Chuck goes to live with her aunts, also known as the Darling Mermaid Darlings because of their synchronized-swimming careers. But before they are parted, they share a first kiss.
Nineteen years later Ned is obsessed with pie making - his gift of bringing the dead to life also works on fruit - and has avoided forming any close personal relationships. He has a business partner - private investigator Emerson Cod (
Chi McBride), with whom he works murder cases. Ned uses his gift to find out why and how victims are murdered and splits the reward money with Emerson. I have to admit I was a little worried about how this procedural element would fit into this modern-day fairy tale. But I think it's pretty seamless. Ned, Emerson and now Chuck can use Ned's gift to be sleuths. Considering what happened to Chuck, I'm sure she wants to make other corpses who were once in her position get some justice and maybe a bit of closure.
But let me back up for a moment. Ned poses as a dog expert to get into the morgue to see Leonard Gaswint. Gaswint's dog, Cantaloupe, is accused of mauling him to death and will soon be put to sleep. Leo's family is offering a reward for the real culprit. Ned does his thing and finds out Leo's secretary sicced her Rottweiler on him. It might just be me, but that doesn't seem like a good way to go. I've known one Rottweiler in my lifetime and although I'm not a dog person, she was sweet to me. But that's probably only because I fed her and played in the yard with her. She wasn't my dog.
And how does Ned run into the recently deceased Chuck? There's a reward posted for information about her death, so Emerson brings Ned to the funeral home where she's currently resting in peace. When Ned brings her back and discovers how she died but not the identify of the person who killed her, he can't fathom putting her back to sleep forever. The dirty funeral director takes a permanent dirt nap after Chuck's 60 seconds is up.
Here's what we know about Chuck's case:
" Chuck is given her vacation getaway cruise package gratis in exchange for picking something up for Deedee Duffield, the Boutique Travel Travel Boutique's proprietor.
" Chuck, Ned and Emerson find Deedee dead when they go to question her. They get almost no new information out of her, other than she knew picking up the monkeys would be dangerous, before Deedee touches Ned and keels over, dead again.
" Chuck's murderer goes to the house she shares with her aunts to get the monkeys back only to attack both Aunt Lily (
Swoosie Kurtz) and Ned, trying to suffocate them with a plastic bag, before Lily takes him out with a shotgun.
" Chuck and Ned discover the monkeys she was sent to retrieve are solid gold.
There were a lot of great lines. My favorite exchange (besides the whole pie metaphor debate Ned and Chuck had) was:
Emerson: "Words that sound alike get mixed up in my head."
Kristin Chenoweth): "Me too. I used to think 'masturbation' meant chewing your food. I don't think that anymore."
Favorite stand-alone lines:
Chuck: "I was hoisted by my own petard."
Aunt Lily: "Unless she enjoyed vomiting and diarrhea, I can't imagine she had a good last meal."
How Ned manages to touch Chuck without actually touching her:
" He asks Emerson to give her a hug on his behalf.
" He holds his own hand and pretends it's hers. And she does the same.
" He kisses her monkey with his.
Other characters I can't wait to get to know better:
Olive Snook - a waitress at The Pie Hole with a crush on Ned.
Aunt Lily - one of Chuck's aunts. She lost her eye in an unfortunate encounter with dirty cat litter.
Aunt Vivian (
Ellen Greene) - Chuck's other aunt. She, like her sister, likes fine cheeses but she doesn't like to be touched.
One thing I would recommend pronto is Ned coming clean about Chuck's dad. It's a pretty big secret and ultimately I think she'll understand. I mean she has to, right? But there's so much great dramatic tension with Ned continuing to keep his secret so I guess I'm not that eager for him to be honest. We'll see.
Jim Dale, is quite amusing. I like how some of what he says contradicts what the characters say, which reminds me of the narrator in
Little Children. The narrative there and here really adds something to the story.
I want to mention the visual palette at play here, too. It's like everything's in bright, vivid Technicolor. It's cool. I hope they'll keep the look of the pilot (or pie lette) throughout the series.
I've been a big fan of writer/creator
Bryan Fuller for a while. He created
Dead Like Me (but was only around for the first season;
Mandy Patinkin seemed to be happy working in TV at that time) and
Wonderfalls (executive-produced by
Tim Minear, probably best known for his work on
Angel. He's another favorite). I think I'd pretty much watch anything either one of them was a part of. Yes, even
Drive, but that was mainly in support of
Nathan Fillion. Mr. Fuller did good work on
OK, I'm sure you're tired of me drooling over this like I would a piece of yummy pumpkin pie. Hey, it's fall. Why not? I can't wait to hear your thoughts. What were your favorite lines? What do you think of Ned and Chuck's burgeoning relationship? Now that the Darling Mermaid Darlings are no longer shut-ins, what sort of mischief do you think they will get into? What's your favorite kind of pie?
In the meantime, take a bite out of our
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Im thoroughly charmed by this show. I was a little afraid all the great things Ive been hearing would lead to disappointment, but I must admit I loved the episode.The rules: Neds first touch to something dead brings life, the second brings death forever. If the person he brings back stays alive for more than one minute, someone else in close proximity will die.Ever since Ned (Lee Pace) was able to bring his trusty golden retriever Digby back from the dead, he has known he has the gift of reanimation. He was 9 when he found out. Unfortunately he didnt realize his gift came with a price until he revived his mother only to watch his next-door neighbor and best friend Charlotte, aka Chuck (Anna Friel), Charles father die as a result. Soon after, Ned is shipped off to boarding school, and Chuck goes to live with her aunts, also known as the Darling Mermaid Darlings because of their synchronized-swimming careers. But before they are parted, they s...