I just watched a delightful pilot episode for a show which may or may not have legs as a series.
This is Bryan Fuller’s new show, and the pilot was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld doing a Tim Burton impression. The set up is that Ned can bring back the dead, on quite strict conditions: if he ever touches them a second time, they die again and stay dead, and if they are alive longer than a minute someone else has to die. He finds this out the hard way as a child when his mother drops dead and he brings her back, knowing the trick, but not the limitations; the father of the girl next door, Chuck, dies on the spot and his mother dies when she kisses him goodnight a little later. He and Chuck are parted by their families.
Ned grows up to be a pie man with a side line in helping a private eye solve murders – they bring people back long enough to say who killed them. Then Chuck, whom he has not seen since childhood, is suffocated on a cruise ship – he brings her back and then they talk long enough that the funeral director – luckily a bad man who robs corpses – drops dead. Ned and Chuck are back together, but can never touch or kiss – and, of course, they fight crime.
What makes this work is that it is not big on angst – Ned and Chuck just accept their situation with admirable sang froid and find ways of being together that do not involve direct intimacy. It is a show full of romance, bless it, even if you do want to scream at them ‘dental dams’. Chuck is played by Anna Friel ( famous for having been one half of British television’s first lesbian kiss) and is quite delightful. The Chenoweth is in this too as the nextdoor neighbour and probably source of any slashiness.
I am afraid that this is the show which makes ‘quirky’ sort of respectable again; it made my teeth hurt a little it was so sweet, but it has a nice sardonic aspect which worked for me. It will definitely be one of my autumn shows.Maybe I just have a thing for angsty yearning romance right now – I can’t at all think why that would be, but it does explain why I posted that chunk of Rosenkavalier the other week.
Eureka goes on being delightful.
Tomorrow will be Bionic Woman with the former Zoe Slater as J. Sommers – what is it with US TV and former starts of British soaps?