Due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, the show completed only nine of a full 22-episode season. On February 11, 2008 ABC picked up Pushing Daisies for the 2008-09 television season, and the second season premiered on October 1, 2008.
On July 17, 2008, Pushing Daisies was nominated for twelve Emmy awards, including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Lee Pace), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Kristin Chenoweth), and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (Bryan Fuller), and was awarded three: it won for Outstanding Direction of a Comedy Series (Barry Sonnenfeld), as well as for Outstanding Original Score, and Outstanding Editing of a Comedy Series.
In the pilot episode, Ned discovers his gift as a child by resurrecting his Golden Retriever, Digby, after the dog is hit by a truck. He later brings back his mother when she dies of an aneurysm. However, he accidentally causes the death of the father of his childhood sweetheart, Charlotte "Chuck" Charles, as the "price" of keeping his mother alive. Even worse, Ned's mother then falls dead permanently when she gives him his good-night kiss (which is how he learns the effect of the second touch). Ned and Chuck are separated; her agoraphobic aunts Vivian and Lily move in to take the role of her parents, while he is shipped off to a lonely boarding school by his father.
Inheriting his mother's baking talents, Ned becomes a pie-maker who owns a restaurant called "The Pie Hole," which he runs with the help of waitress Olive Snook. The restaurant is failing financially when private investigator Emerson Cod accidentally discovers Ned's gift and offers him a proposal: Ned will bring murder victims back to life, inquire about the circumstances of their untimely death, then touch them once more, all before his set limit of sixty seconds is up. Emerson will then solve the case and they will split the reward money.
The scheme succeeds until they learn that Chuck, whom Ned hasn't seen since childhood, has been murdered on a cruise. When her body is shipped back home, Ned revives her, but can't bring himself to touch her a second time. Against his better judgment, Ned allows her to live and the larcenous funeral home director falls dead in her place. Ned and Chuck fall in love again and he brings her home to live with him under the unique circumstances of their never being able to touch each other. Chuck is extraordinarily grateful upon receiving a second chance at life, and as such she starts to appreciate life as a truly precious resource and Ned, witnessing his vivacious beauty's happiness, begins to break out of his lonely shell.
|Lee Pace||Ned - owner and head pie maker at the Pie Hole|
|Anna Friel||Charlotte "Chuck" Charles - Ned's childhood sweetheart|
|Chi McBride||Emerson Cod - Private eye, Ned's business partner|
|Field Cate||Young Ned (was made a regular in the second season premiere)|
|Ellen Greene||Vivian Charles - Chuck's aunt|
|Swoosie Kurtz||Lily Charles - Chuck's aunt (a new relationship with Chuck is revealed at the end of the episode, "Corpsicle")|
|Kristin Chenoweth||Olive Snook - a waitress at the Pie Hole and "hopelessly devoted" to Ned.|
Due to the strike, Pushing Daisies did not finish its order of a 13-episode season. Instead, the writers planned to start work on the second season with production restarting around March to June 2008.
Automobiles featured in the series are often mint-condition vintage vehicles, though some newer vehicles have been used (such as a mid-1990s Chevrolet Lumina APV minivan or a Hummer in a recent episode). Emerson drives a mid-1960s Lincoln Continental with suicide doors in like-new condition. Ned is also seen driving a very old, but like-new car, a Mercedes-Benz W108. Other characters drive decades-old vehicles as well. 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor cars in their Ambulance and hearse configurations figure frequently in the series.
Many characters' names are alliterative, and some have duplicate (or near-duplicate) fore- and surnames: Deedee Duffield, Billy Balsam, Charles Charles, Charlotte "Chuck" Charles, John Joseph Jacobs, and so on. This doubling up of names is also apparent in place names (Coeur d'Coeurs being an obvious example, even though it really doesn't follow the theme of doubled up names because it translates to "heart of hearts" which is a common phrase), and a theme of "pairs" is apparent in episodes' plots (a pair of monkey statuettes in the pilot episode, for instance).
The distinctive storybook-esque style is continued within the overall design of the visual aspects. Regardless of the fact that the show focuses on murder investigations, the morgue is still painted in candy-cane stripes and many of the outfits worn by the characters are vibrantly colored, bright, and cheery (for example, Olive's work uniform is a lime-green pintucked dress, and Emerson is frequently seen wearing shades of purple.)
CGI is very prominent in the series, with much use of blue screen technology (the shop window, similar set pieces and outdoor scenery outside often cast a blue halo tinge) and 3d set-extensions (streets, grass and landscape, the pie shop facade). It has been criticized that due to the lack of blue hues in the background replacements, a green screen would have fared slightly better for chromakey effects. It has mostly been given a "not-quite photo-realistic" look to emphasize the storybook surreality.
Both Kristin Chenoweth and Ellen Greene have backgrounds in musical theater, and have performed musical numbers in some episodes. In Dummy, Chenoweth sang "Hopelessly Devoted to You" from the movie musical Grease. In Pigeon, Chenoweth and Greene harmonized on the They Might Be Giants hit, "Birdhouse in Your Soul". Also in Smell of Success, Greene sang "Morning Has Broken". Chenoweth has requested to sing "Eternal Flame" in a future episode, which Bryan Fuller has agreed to accommodate. She will be singing it in episode eight.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the heavily-promoted pilot episode ("Pie-lette") attracted over 13 million viewers in the United States; it was the most-watched new series and 14th in overall viewership for the week.
Time magazine's James Poniewozik named it one of the Top 10 New TV Series of 2007, ranking it at #5.
|1||2007||October 3, 2007||December 12, 2007||Wednesday 8:00 PM EST||9.42 million||ABC|
|2||2008-2009||October 1,2008||TBA||Wednesday 8:00 PM EST||6.32 million||ABC|
|Result||Award Show||2007||Best New Series||Family TV Awards|
|Best Television Series, Comedy, or Musical||Satellite Awards|
|Actress in a Television Series, Comedy, or Musical||Anna Friel|
|Actor in a Television Series, Comedy, or Musical||Lee Pace|
|2008||Best Performance in a TV Series - Young Actor Ten or Under||Young Artist Awards||Field Cate|
|Best New Comedy||People Choice Awards|
|TV Series, Musical or Comedy||Golden Globe Awards|
|Best Actor, TV Series, Musical or Comedy||Lee Pace|
|Best Actress, TV Series, Musical or Comedy||Anna Friel|
|Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Television - Comedy Series (for "Pie-lette")||DGA Awards||Barry Sonnenfeld (Director), Gabriela Vasquez (Unit Production Manager), Chris Soldo (First Assistant Director), Greg Hale (Second Assistant Director), Renee Hill-Sweet (Second Second Assistant Director)|
|Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Movies of the Week/Mini-Series'/Pilot for "Pie-lette"||ASC Award||Michael Weaver|
|Best New Series||WGA Awards||Chad Gomez Creasey, Dara Resnik Creasey, Bryan Fuller, Abby Gewanter, Jim Danger Gray, Lisa Joy, Kath Lingenfelter, Rina Mimoun, Jack Monaco, Scott Nimerfro, Peter Ocko|
|Best Episode for "Pie-lette"||Bryan Fuller|
|Outstanding Art Direction for a Single Camera Series for "Pie-lette"||60th Primetime Emmy Awards||Micheal Wylie (production designer), Halina Siwolop (set decorator)|
|Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series||Camille Patton, C.S.A., Meg Lieberman, C.S.A., Jennifer Lare, C.S.A.|
|Outstanding Costumes for a Series for "Pie-lette"||Mary Vogt (costume designer), Stephanie Fox-Kramer (costume supervisor)|
|Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series for "Pie-lette"||Barry Sonnenfeld|
|Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series for "Smell of Success"||Daniel Curet (department head hairstylist), Yuko Tokunaga-Koach (key hairstylist)|
|Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||Lee Pace|
|Outstanding Makeup for a Single Camera Series (non-prosthetic) for "Smell of Success"||Todd A. McIntosh (department head makeup artist), David De Leon (key makeup artist), Bradley M. Look (additional makeup artist)|
|Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (original dramatic score) for "Pigeon"||Jim Dooley|
|Outstanding Picture Editing for a Comedy Series (single or multi-camera) for "Pie-lette"||Stuart Bass, A.C.E.|
|Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Kristin Chenoweth|
|Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for "Pie-lette"||Bryan Fuller|
|TBA||Outstanding Grading for "The Fun in Funeral"||Hollywood Post Alliance Awards||Joe Hathaway for LaserPacific Media Corporation|
|TBA||Outstanding Editing for "Pie-lette"||Stuart Bass, A.C.E.|
|TBA||Breakout Performance||Scream Awards||Anna Friel|