Not even 25 seconds in the episode, I knew that Pushing Daisies would not be like any other show on TV. The scene is highly colorful (yellow flowers and a bright blue sky), the soundtrack is reminiscent of fairy tales, and the narration is quite precise (not a minute older) and entertaining (at least to me). The action takes place in the little town of Couer d'Couers (the way narrator Jim Dale pronounces it, I think they meant "Coeur d'Coeurs," which is the proper French spelling for "heart").
I meet young Ned who is happily running with his dog, Digby. But there is a black cloud coming in this picture perfect scenery: a van hits Digby. It is at this time, and not a second later, that our lead character discovers that he has the power to revive the dead by touching them. But he doesn't know that this gift comes with a price since there was no instruction manual coming with it, and he learns it the hard way. After his mother suddenly passes away, Ned revives her. Soon, Charlotte's father dies. (Charlotte is nicknamed Chuck... yes I know, another character named Chuck this season!) This tragic event highlights the fact that if Ned revives someone and doesn't touch the person again under a minute, someone else will die.
Later that day, Ned learns more about his powers when his mother kisses him as she puts him to bed. When he touches for a second time someone he revived, the person dies... for good. That's a lot to take in for a kid.
The episode jumps to about 20 years later. Ned owns The Pie Hole, a restaurant specialized in pies (could this be as an homage to his deceased mother?). As a side job, Ned works with Private Investigator Emerson to solve murders and collect the rewards. Emerson chooses the cases; Ned revives the deceased and asks them who killed them before touching them again. The gig works pretty well until Chuck, whom Ned hasn't seen in 20 years, is murdered. After reviving her, Ned can't come to terms that he has to send her back to the dead especially since she was his first kiss (probably the only one too) and because he still has a huge crush on her. Since he let Chuck live, someone else had to die, Ned can never touch Chuck again (unless they find a loophole down the road), and she has to hide because everyone around town knows she died.
The rest of the episode has Chuck, Emerson and Ned work together to find who killed Chuck and collect the reward. Their investigation leads them the Chuck's aunt's home where the killer eventually turns up. Since Daisies has a fairy-tale side, the ending is a happy, of course, one.
Even though I already know a lot about Ned's powers, I don't know everything. For example, his dog died/was revived about 20 years ago yet he still looks like he did back then. Does it mean that people he revives but doesn't touch again stop aging? Or at least, age at a much slower pace?It'll be interesting to see how Chuck and Ned work and live together yet never touch one another. They already showed some creativity in the pilot (Emerson hugging Chuck, the kiss using the monkeys, the holding hands) but they can't do that forever.
I wonder if it'll drive them crazy to a point Chuck will try to get a place of her own. Or maybe they'll allow one another to see other people even if technically they are not dating one another? Ned will also have to tell Chuck about her father's death. Will she forgive him especially since he also lost his mother due to his powers? (Okay, technically, she didn't die because of him but her second death was because of his powers.)
I thought that the characters were well-defined (at least enough for a pilot episode) thanks to the narration and flashbacks. It allowed me to relate to them and care about what happened to each. I enjoy the character of Ned a lot. He has a lot of insecurities and views life in a different way due to his powers and his upbringing. Olive, even if a tad annoying, will be a good comic relief. I didn't care much for the aunts though and I wonder how they will include them in every episode since they are regular characters. Maybe they'll open a shop near The Pie Hole? Or they'll learn of Chuck's "live again" status, thus be present in her life?
I really enjoyed the format and feel of the pilot. The camera work, the narration, the claymation/live action scene, the flashbacks, etc., all helped suck me in the storylines. The possibilities for storylines are endless since the series has a procedural element. Oh and for those wondering yes, it is a song from Amélie that plays when we first meet the aunts.