After more than five months off the air, “Pushing Daisies” is finally coming back to ABC tomorrow night (May 30), though the show’s return is a bittersweet one for fans.
Not only has ABC scheduled “Pushing Daisies” for Saturdays at 10 p.m., a woebegone diaspora that only barely deserves the designation of “primetime,” but this will be the final trio of episodes before the Emmy-winning series goes off the air forever.
Talking with reporters on Friday morning about her role in the upcoming summer film “Land of the Lost,” Anna Friel was excited to see the new episodes and to watch them with friends, including co-star Lee Pace.
“Lee’s gonna come to the premiere tomorrow, that and Bryan Fuller. I’ve got all my ‘Daisies’ clan, they’ll wanna come and watch,” Friel says. “I’m very excited. I’ve got them on DVD, but I wanted to wait to watch them go out live. Although it was a short run of a series, this’ll be… I read it, a journalist from USA Today put it really nicely, he said it’ll be a show that will last forever, it didn’t run long, but it’ll last forever. It was such a daring and creative project to do in the first place and hopefully it’ll open up many doors for TV.”
Since the upcoming finale was never intended as a series finale, there have been rumors about Fuller’s hopes to resurrect the “Pushing Daisies” universe in some other form at some future time.
“They are doing a comic thing and I know it’s always his dream to do some kind of film version, whether that actually comes to fruition, we’ll have to see,” she says. “But the real ending, he’s imagined, he’s had it planned out for over a few years and the real ending was so beautiful and touching, what he’d first discussed. This is lovely, Chuck gets to go and, I don’t wanna spoil it for you, but she gets to actually see the aunts and knocks on the door and you find out what happens to Olive and… I don’t want to ruin it!”
While film writers have to let their actors know where their full storylines are going for a two-hour feature, TV showrunners are notoriously stingy when it comes to keeping their casts in the loop very far in advance, but did those previous comments mean that Friel knew where things were eventually headed for Chuck and The Piemaker?
“I do! It was lovely,” she assures us. “That’s the thing with TV. Sometimes you’re so excited because you think, ‘Well, I know that’s gonna come and that’s gonna come.’ And sometimes they don’t want to fill you in with that, because they don’t want you to play it before the actual character would know, but sometimes you need help with that and every few months we’d go in to Bryan and you’d see the writers’ storyboards and you’d see how Chuck was tracked and how Ned was it and was so exciting, because even after the 17-hour days, you’d just think, ‘Oh, I’ve got that coming up and I get to have scenes with them.’ And my favorite characters were always Lily and Vivian, the aunts, and I was desperate, I was so jealous that everyone else had scenes with the aunts and I thought, ‘As soon as they know Chuck’s alive, I can start doing that.'”
Saturday’s episode, titled “Window Dressed to Kill,” will be followed by “Water and Power” on June 6 and the series finale, “Kerplunk” on June 13. With a nine-episode first season and a 13-episode second run, “Pushing Daisies” will basically have completed the equivalent of a season full season, not nearly long enough for a show that won awards and topped critics’ lists for two years straight.
Does Friel have any theories on why popular success was beyond the show’s grasp?
“I think the strike had a lot to do with a lot of shows, because it’s not your average show and it was just starting to pick up momentum and if you take something off the air for a year and to have to re-find those viewers and I think it was quite a complex storyline,” she notes. “It wasn’t something that you could just go, “Oh, well we’re turn it on,” because the whole procedural element made sure you had to really really listen and I think it was a big, bold thing for ABC to take on. It was incredibly expensive. It was incredibly bright. It was was something that was daring, but again, I think well-done to them for being brave enough to actually take it on and create something new and fresh.”
Friel continues, “I don’t know. I can’t answer that. Maybe there just weren’t enough fans. The fans that were there and loyal and strong and true, are avid fans, but maybe it just didn’t capture people’s imagination the way it should. If I really knew the answer to that, I’d be running a network.”
“Pushing Daisies” airs on Saturday, May 30 at 10 p.m. on ABC.
“Land of the Lost” is in theaters everywhere on Friday, June 5.