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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Pushing Daisies: The Best Comes Tonight

The best of the new fall TV season finally arrives tonight: "Pushing Daisies" (8 p.m., Channels 9, 22). It's unlike any other show I've ever seen on TV. A mild-mannered baker (Lee Pace, "The Good Shepherd) discovers that he can bring people/things back to life with the touch of his finger. Here's the catch: He has to touch the person within a minute, to kill them permanently, or somebody else nearby will die.

The fun, inventive drama comes from from Barry Sonnenfeld ("Men In Black") and Bryan Fuller ("Heroes"). The "Desperate Housewives"-style narration is provided by Jim Dale, who reads the "Harry Potter" audio book series.

In the premiere, Ned makes two pivotal decision which set up the series: He teams up with a private detective (Chi McBride, "Boston Public"), so he can help solve murders. (He touches someone in the morgue, asks what happened, then touches them again and they die.) He also brings his old childhood crush back to life, a girl named Chuck (Anna Friel, "Rogue Trader"). He can't touch her again -- so no kissing, no hand-holding -- or she'll be dead forever. Talk about romantic tension. As she puts it: "I'd kiss you, but it would kill me."

Very clever. It's worth your time.

With the premiere of the much anticipated "Pushing Daisies" I thought it was time to ask: What news fall shows have you watched? What do you like -- and will watch again? What shows didn't you like? I'm enjoying "Chuck," "The Reaper," Kelsey Grammer's "Back to You" and "K-Ville." I didn't like "Cavemen" last night, though it was better than the pilot screener ABC sent out last summer (which will never air). I don't like "Kid Nation," its too contrived. I didn't like "Bionic Woman" or "Journeyman" or "Carpoolers."

What new fall shows are you watching? What do you like?


at 10/03/2007 10:00 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Life is pretty good. I like the different way they tell the story, cutting in and out of "interview" type setups and then back to the story. Damien Lewis' character is pretty quirky, which takes the edge off some.

at 10/03/2007 10:17 AM Anonymous Scott said...

I like Bionic Woman, I had also checked out Dirty, Sexy Money and Big Shots and enjoyed them both.

at 10/03/2007 10:57 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son and I watch Chuck and love it. Watched Back to You once and never watched it again as I didn't find it funny. I like Kid Nation. I also like Reaper.

at 10/03/2007 11:07 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck, Journeyman and Reaper have made the dvr list for the season. Out of all the new shows so far, my favorite is Journeyman. I think too many people are dismissing it as simply just another show about time travel. It's more than just a Quantum Leap knockoff. It's smart, positive and there is a mystery continuing to be unraveled.

Big Bang Theory isn't that great, but it will make it because CBS is good at getting ratings from average comedies (see How I Met Your Mother).

at 10/03/2007 11:15 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love back to you, reaper. I like bionic woman, and Life.
Pushing daisies looks really good.

at 10/03/2007 11:28 AM Blogger Rob said...

I've already seen the Pushing Daisies premier online but I'm still pumped for tonight's premier.

I've been watching Chuck and Reaper, and I really want to like them but neither has really grabbed me. I'm hoping they'll grow on me.

I thought the dialog in the Bionic Woman premier was atrocious but there was a good solid core there and the show felt right so I'm hoping it can turn it around in the next few weeks.

at 10/03/2007 11:47 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck has been very good thus far. I disagree with an earlier post, Big Bang Theory is pretty funny, but I also enjoy How I met Your Mother, so there lies my thought process. Kid Nation maybe contrived, but it is a show that will teach kids to work together, which is not a bad thing. Back To You is OK. I was hoping for more and with the talent pool in that show, I am willing to give it more time. Private Practice was better than expected, so I will watch it again.

I have no use for Cave Men, I won't even give it a gander. Bad idea to even make the series. I am looking forward to Pushing Daisies, plus, Friday Night Light's are back this week, so things are looking up!

at 10/03/2007 12:15 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

the $64 question is, which new fall show will be the first to get the axe? and after how many episodes see daylight?

at 10/03/2007 12:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Journeyman is really good and I will continue to watch, I will give Bionic Woman another shot. The pilot was alright, but the acting is really bad. Kid Nation sucks! Bring Jericho back NOW!!!!

at 10/03/2007 12:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Friday Night Lights? Nah. The only show for me on Friday nights, with the exception of what's on Sci-Fi channel, is the Friday Night Fu. I'm glad Cap'n Dave and the fu crew are back. I remember when the cap'n was named best local tv host years ago.

at 10/03/2007 1:09 PM Blogger Kevin LeMaster said...

Cavemen will be canceled. It's a flimsy premise.

Carpoolers was okay, but I don't see how they're going to be able to continue generating interesting scenarios.

at 10/03/2007 4:04 PM Anonymous Jon said...

I have been watching Chuck (like it), Kid Nation (give it one more's a good idea), Bionic Woman (agree...dialogue was rough, but the lead was excellent and the premise is great) and I am looking forward to Pushing Daisies.

Even though it has been on for a little while and is not technically a new fall show, I also REALLY enjoy The Singing Bee. It is mindless entertainment and has that frustrating "what the heck were you thinking" feel to it.

at 10/03/2007 4:18 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

is geico a sponsor of cavemen

at 10/03/2007 4:49 PM Blogger JimmyD said...

Carpoolers was pretty good. Interesting premise. Challenging for the writers. Could have potential. Cavemen was one of the worst things I've seen in a very long time. Regarding How I met your mother being awful, you don't like sitcoms then. It's the best sitcom on TV. I would throw Mother's counterpart 3 1/2 Men in that category of overhyped/overrated. Big Bang will be the same. Okay only.
When the hell does Lost start back up?

at 10/03/2007 5:35 PM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

Jimmy D:
Lost comes back in January/February, to run without repeats thru May.

at 10/03/2007 6:26 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa, looks like JimmyD threw down some smack in support of How I Met Your Mother. Maybe he works for CBS.

There hasn't been a good sitcom for the 18-34 demo since Seinfeld. Just because Mother has shown some quality doesn't mean it's, as Captain Awesome would say, awesome.

I agree with the early post. Mother is average. It's not legend... wait for it... ary yet. It's just okay.

at 10/03/2007 8:50 PM Blogger Scott Evans said...


I love Journeyman and have even created a fan website devoted to the show(those interested feel free to email me Its not as good as Quantum Leap but I love the idea of time travel especially when you can make lives better.

Back to You is a great comedy and Fox's best non-animated comedy in a long time. Hopefully they don't do anything to screw it up.

My wife loves Cavemen, me not so much. Has potential though.

And My Name Is Earl is great this season as is Smallville.

at 10/04/2007 8:43 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 10/03/07 10:00 AM again, watched Life again last night. I am really starting to like this one a lot. The undercurrent backstory of why Crews was in prison along with the Columbo-esque nature of his detective method, with just enough humor at the right spots to keep it from getting too heavy. I find myself looking forward to next week's episode already.

at 10/04/2007 10:55 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still a big HEROES fan!!!

What about Jericho? When's the new season, since they agreed to bring it back?

at 10/04/2007 11:29 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Mother is the best sitcom on tv right now, hands down.

I watched Daisies for a few minutes and thought it was awful. It looked like Nanny McPhee and is too "british" to last long.

at 10/04/2007 12:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

the best comedy is the office with out a doubt. It easily triumphs over anything CBS OR ABC have to offer.

at 10/04/2007 3:26 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed Pushing Daisies. I am afraid that it will spell the end of both Back to you and Til death.
Have no intention of watching Cavemen, but am eagerly awaiting the Womens murder club
from the neighborhood

at 10/05/2007 2:04 AM Blogger JerBear said...

I watched the premiere of Chuck and thought it was pretty funny.

Journeyman seems like a knockoff of too many shows in the past. I don't think it'll last. Maybe I'm wrong. When watching it, I kept thinkig of "The Pretender" and how there were some similarities (not with time travel). They need to bring back The Pretender!

I agree with the masses on Caveman. My brother and I saw a promo and though it was quite possibly the worst things we've seen in years...and I actually thought it was a good idea for a show when I first heard of the Caveman idea. ha!

Best so far I've seen: Chuck
Worst so far (maybe ever): Caveman

at 10/05/2007 6:02 AM Anonymous Sedi said...

Did anyone else feel like they were watch a Tim Burton Movie??? I didn't care for it over all. Telling sign, when the critics love it, it's got less than a 50/50 chance of making it a full season.

at 10/07/2007 9:03 AM Blogger skippercollector said...

I WANTED to like Pushing Daisies, I really did! My favorite genre of TV series has always been science fiction/fantasy. Not only that, the show is brightly colored and cheerful--a combination I haven't seen in a genre show since the 1960s.


I HATED IT! Not only was it strange, there were too many details squeezed into the first 10 minutes. It was pretty obvious that the original pilot was two hours long, and all the information compressed before the first commercial had been part of a much longer story. The number of details about what the main character could and couldn’t do were just too confusing. And I just couldn't empathize with the characters.

It's ironic, I know. A show FINALLY comes along that I SHOULD like, and it gets really good ratings so it's assured to be around for a little while, and it turns me off immediately.

at 10/08/2007 10:51 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was looking forward to Pushing Daisies just like everyone else but was disappointed. I thought they rushed it and did not have good character development. When he brings her back, why would she not freak out a little or ask more questions? Bad writing but I will give it another shor or two.
Best new shows out there are Big Shots and Chuck. Life is OK but I will need more in order to keep watching it. I did not even know Cavemen already premiered and have never heard of Carpooling...and I watch a lot of tv!

at 10/08/2007 4:31 PM Anonymous DSJ said...

Just got finished listening to your spot on WLW. I heard someone ask about the Dresden Files and you claimed you have never heard of it. What exactly do you do? I'm no TV "expert" and I don't watch that much TV, but I have heard of that show...and it's not my job!
And let me give a little tip to all those people who rely on John to find out about their shows...there is this new invention that came out. It's pretty spectacluar. It's called a computer. And on this "computer" there is a really cool thing called the "internet" which has something called "Google." I know it's alot to absorb in one sitting, but if you want to find out who the other guy in Big Bang Theroy is, try I'm sorry, that a web site on this internet. Come on, tools, get with it.
Why is this spot even on WLW? So we can hear John guess a TV theme song each week and listen to Burstank talk over everybody, including John.
I liked Reaper and Journeyman too.

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