Please watch Pushing Daisies
As I repeatedly remind my students, television is neither a democracy nor a free market. The vast majority of viewers cannot vote for the programs they wish to see, and we cannot exercise our tastes with our dollars (at least until a show lasts a season to reach the DVD market). The best that we can hope for is that if there’s a show that you like, create buzz that hopefully impacts a few of the thousands of households that stand in for 110 million television households according to Nielsen.
So if any of those Nielsen families happen to read this blog, do me a favor: watch Pushing Daisies. I caught the pilot tonight on Canadian TV (yes, living in Vermont we get CBC in both English and French, but we don’t get BET, as French Canadians are a more prominent minority than African-Americans). And it’s really great TV. Unlike almost anything else out there, the show is festooned with quirk and whimsy, offering a storybook tale of magical realism and romance. It looks more stylish than anything else I’ve seen recently, and the cast is utterly charming, with extra praise for Anna Friel, who completely owns the screen whenever she’s on.
Probably the show I’ve seen that comes closest in tone is Wonderfalls, another Bryan Fuller creation starring Lee Pace. Alas, Wonderfalls was short-lived and mistreated by its network, impatient with its inability to become an instant hit. ABC seems more patient with its programming than Fox, but Pushing Daisies has a lot of reasons to not get network support. It’s an expensive show, with director/producer Barry Sonnenfeld getting into reported budget squabbles with studio Warner Bros. It’s not produced by Disney, thus giving ABC no incentive to build an audience for DVDs or syndication. It feels like a niche show, belonging on cable for a small cultish following, but it needs to get the ratings of a mass hit to sustain itself on ABC.
So I’m skeptical about its chances in the non-free market of network television – but give it a shot on ABC at 8 pm on Wed. And if you know any Nielsen families, please encourage them to watch to help avoid Bryan Fuller racking up another item in the Brilliant but Cancelled file.
Filed under: Television, TV Shows | 12 Comments
Tags: Nielsen ratings, pushing daisies
random thoughts from media scholar Jason Mittell
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