has an average rating of 8.5 on IMDb
1080p in VC-1 on TWO 50gb discs
Dolby Digital 5.1
are minimal but decent.
– 562 minutes
Overall Verdict – Great Show/Mixed Disc
— Review written by: James Segars —
The Show Itself is created by Bryan Fuller.
Ned has an incredible ability — he can reanimate dead things. However, the gift is bittersweet because if he happens to touch the reanimate once again, it goes back to being dead… forever. Worse still, if he reanimates something for longer than a minute, it stays alive, but something else nearby dies. Lonely and afraid of his power, Ned finds comfort in baking pies — after all he can take dead fruit and freshen it up, right? — and opens his own restaurant. It isn’t long after that a Private Investigator learns about Ned’s surreal ability and convinces Ned to work with him to solve murder mysteries, and subsequently share the cash reward. All is well and good until Ned is confronted with the corpse of his long-lost childhood love, and first kiss. Unable to bring himself to put her back to rest, he keeps her alive, and thus sets into motion the most complicated and perilous relationship that’s ever been. Together, they’ll have to work to keep her reanimation quiet — lest Ned’s secret gets out — and solve a slew of murders along the way.
The second and final season of ABC’s Pushing Daisies is every bit as good as the first and then some. Where the first season was nearly sliced in half due to the writers strike — and a bit too formulaic for my taste — the second got more screen time (13 episodes instead of 9) to explore the characters and their respective pasts, presents and futures. Also, since much of the narrative staging and groundwork was laid in the first season, the second needed only to focus on tying up loose ends and bringing the show to a satisfactory and complete close — which could not have been an easy task.
While many people were angered, distressed, depressed and downright confused when Pushing Daisies was canceled, I honestly don’t think the show needed or even warranted another season. I don’t mean to sound callous, I just happen to think that the show would have been stretched thin if it had gone on much longer. If anything, I think that the show would have benefited greatly from an even longer episode order, perhaps to the tune of twenty episodes or more for the second season. The reason being is that this season — while exceptional, and better than the first — is far from complete as it is now. The front half is perfectly paced and deep — prior to cancellation — and the second half is a bit haphazard, rushed and incomplete.
Again, to the credit of the creative team behind the show, it was an impossible task to tie off every narrative thread within the available time frame, and I think they did the absolute best they could given the circumstances. Still though, I was left wanting more. Some surprise characters — which I’ll refrain from mentioning — appear, never to be mentioned again, and the ultimate resolution/conclusion comes and goes without much ado, but barring all of these minor complaints I still couldn’t help but feel like the show ended on a perfect note even if there were more than a few plot holes that need filling in.
And as far as filling is concerned, there’s been talk about a Pushing Daisies comic that’s primed to satisfy the appetites of fans everywhere, and give the concept a fresh and boundless canvas to weave its morbidly delectable story. With any luck, the comic might actually attract a slew of new fans while also providing ample closure to the myriad of storylines floating around within the Pushing Daisies universe.
In the end, it’s terribly sad to lose such an inventive, original and entertaining show while other inferior, mindless crap pollutes the airwaves, but I also feel that it was the right choice, just not the right time. If only the show had been gifted with a couple more episodes, perhaps there wouldn’t be a need for a comic, or a movie or some other narrative extension, maybe the story could have been fully fleshed out and absolute. But there’s no sense in worrying about things we can’t change. The second season of Pushing Daisies might be missing a few ingredients, but its every bit as enjoyable and entertaining as I had hoped it might be and I’m extremely grateful — as all Pushing Daisies fans should be — that it was finished at all.
The full 13 (total) episodes for The Complete Second Season are included:
- Episode 1 : “Bzzzzzzz!“
- Writer: Bryan Fuller — Director: Adam Kane
- Original Air Date: 10/1/2008 — 9.1 rating over at TV.com
- Writer: Peter Ocko — Director: Lawrence Trilling
- Original Air Date: 10/8/08 — 9.0 rating over at TV.com
- Writer: Gretchen J. Berg, Aaron Harberts — Director: Peter O’Fallon
- Original Air Date: 10/15/08 — 9.2 rating over at TV.com
- Writer: Lisa Joy, Gretchen J. Berg, Aaron Harberts — Director: Peter Lauer
- Original Air Date: 10/22/08 — 9.1 rating over at TV.com
- Writer: Davey Holmes — Director: Lawrence Trilling
- Original Air Date: 10/29/08 — 9.0 rating over at TV.com
- Writers: Katherine Lingenfelter — Director: Adam Kane
- Original Air Date: 11/19/08 — 9.3 rating over at TV.com
- Writer: Jim Danger Gray — Director: Paul Shapiro
- Original Air Date: 11/26/08— 9.1 rating over at TV.com
- Writer: Douglas Petrie — Director: Peter Lauer
- Original Air Date: 12/3/08 — 9.4 rating over at TV.com
- Writer: Dara Resnik Creasey, Chad Gomez Creasey — Director: Lawrence Trilling
- Original Air Date: 12/10/08 — 9.2 rating over at TV.com
- Writer: Scott Nimerfro — Director: Tricia Brock
- Original Air Date: 12/17/08 — 9.5 rating over at TV.com
- Writer: Abby Gewanter — Director: Julie Anne Robinson
- Original Air Date: 5/30/09 — 9.2 rating over at TV.com
- Writer: Peter Ocko, Lisa Joy, Jim Danger Gray — Director: Dean White
- Original Air Date: 6/6/09 — 9.3 rating over at TV.com
- Writer: Gretchen J. Berg, Aaron Harberts — Director: Lawrence Trilling
- Original Air Date: 6/13/09 — 9.4 rating over at TV.com
Video Quality on this release is 1080p in VC-1 on TWO BD-50′s (50 gigabyte Blu-ray Discs).
The size per episode is roughly 5 gigabytes each.
Disc 1 – uses 37.9gb total.
Disc 2 – uses 33.7gb total.
WB delivers yet another stunning visual presentation that serves as the near-perfect sendoff to one of the most vibrant and visually decadent shows ever conceived. Much like its predecessor, the second season of Pushing Daisies boasts a dizzying array of punchy colors, substantial fine object detail, and satisfactory/stylistic grain. Black levels aren’t the best I’ve seen, but they’re certainly not crushed either, and as such, shadow delineation is very good. In comparing the two seasons, I can’t help but feel as though this season, given the jump to BD-50′s, looks just a hair better than the other.
However, just like the previous blu-ray release, the presentation here is not perfect. Edge enhancement rears its nasty head time and again, and faint macroblocking can’t be seen when the frame is paused (see screenshots below). The good news is that these artifacts aren’t going to agitate most viewers, and it’s quite hard to pick them out unless you’re looking for them. While in motion, the video presentation looks every bit as good as it should. In the end though, while these minor defects detract from an otherwise perfect score, it would be a crime to give this presentation anything less than a “4.5 Star Rating” for overall video quality.
Audio Quality on this release is in Dolby Digital 5.1 @640kbps.
No TrueHD! Why, oh why did WB not offer a lossless option this time? After having teased, and erroneously labeled the first season’s box with the TrueHD logo, I’m left scratching my head. Ok, sure, the show is canceled, but that’s not a good reason NOT to include a lossless option at that point in time. It’s just plain rude, if you ask me. Beyond that, there were no improvements in the bizarre dialog spikes/drops! That’s right, they’re here again and just as persistent, if not more so. I’m not sure who went about mixing this disc but they clearly fell asleep behind the mixing board, or it was a serious rush-job — which is a real possibility. Either way, this track is not even as close to stunning as the visual presentation, and in many ways, I’d say that it’s inferior to the mixing present on the first season release. While the center channel is erratic at times, the front surrounds carry most of the weight, and for whatever reason, it seems as if the surrounds — while present — are simply mixed way too low.
The good news is that the LFE, while sparse is decent and occasionally impressive. Additionally, the dialog is still intelligible/audible even if the levels are hit or miss. Naturally, the addition of a lossless track would not have done much for these auditory anomalies, but perhaps the move towards a lossless track might have prompted a remixing of the original elements, and perhaps then things would be far more stable across the board. Sadly, I think it will be quite some time before these issues are rectified, but that doesn’t mean I’m giving up hope. All things considered, this presentation receives a “2.5 Star Rating” for overall audio quality because there was a severe lack of improvement over the previous shortcomings/anomalies. ABC/WB need to take notice and pay up for a much needed remix. The creators, cast, crew and fans of the show deserve that much.
Bonus Materials are presented in Standard Definition and Dolby Digital 2.0.
- “The Master Pie Maker” (12 minutes) – A very brief look at Bryan Fuller and his work on the show. Composed of talking head interviews with the cast and Bryan Fuller himself. I found this to be adequate, but I was left wanting far more information about the show, and what’s next for the characters (talk of a comic).
- “From Oven to Table” (5 minutes) – A brief featurette about the props and production design work that goes into the show, and the comedic death poses/looks.
- “Secret Sweet Ingredients” (8 minutes) – Featurette about the show’s award-winning composer. This was my favorite feature by far. It’s great to see how he works and the layers of complexity in characterizing the show’s detailed score.
- “Add a Little Magic” (4 minutes) – Short featurette about the Rhinoceros sequence and the CGI required to bring him to life.
Overall, the features aren’t nearly as comprehensive or as insightful as they probably should be considering the untimely demise of the show. I’d like to think that we’ll see a deluxe set one day, complete with pie recipes and oven mitts but it might be a long time before a set like that ever sees the light of day. Until then, fans will just have to console one another, and comfort themselves with these meager, yet decent, features.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Bare with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.