‘Pushing Daisies’ Was Supposed to Be a ‘Dead Like Me’ Spinoff

It’s not often that a great show comes along. Pilots are picked up and dropped before most viewers even notice. And sometimes great shows never get the chance to shine. Shows like Pushing Daisies are too often canceled before their time. After just two short years, Pushing Daisies was taken off the air.

This was before the advent of streaming revivals, when cult classics like Arrested Development were more likely to get saved by diehard fans. 

‘Pushing Daisies’ had a unique premise

The greatest thing about Pushing Daisies is likely its premise. Ned, played by Lee Pace, is a pie maker with a unique ability. He can revive the dead. To do this, he only has to touch them. The catch is he can kill the same people he’s revived again, essentially making them dead for a second time, all with just a second touch. 

As if this ability wasn’t complicated enough, Ned uses his power to revive the love of his life, Chuck. That may sound nice, but the fact that Ned revived Chuck meant that Ned and Chuck could never touch, as a second touch from Ned would make Chuck dead again. The actors who played Ned and Chuck tried hard to keep their hands off each other in real life, so they wouldn’t accidentally do it on camera. It got to the point where Pace actually flinched when the actress who played Chuck hugged him. 

Add a private investigator played by Chi McBride, and Pushing Daisies was one of the most unique shows on television, possibly ever. Ned helped McBride’s character solve cases, adding a mysterious twist to this fantastical romance. 

‘Dead Like Me’ was supposed to be a prequel to ‘Pushing Daisies’

The New York Television Festival Premiere of ABC's 'Pushing Daisies'
The New York Television Festival Premiere of ABC’s ‘Pushing Daisies’ | Steven Henry/Getty Images

There was one show on in the early 2000s that rivaled Pushing Daisies in terms of the distinctiveness of its premise. It’s no wonder Dead Like Me was similarly dark and inventive. In Dead Like Mea young temp, George, is killed when she’s hit in the head by a toilet seat. But instead of dying, she becomes one of many grim reapers that exist at any given time on earth. 

Pushing Daisies and Dead Like Me were similar for a reason. According to Mental Floss, both shows shared a creator. In fact, Pushing Daisies was intended to be a spinoff of Dead Like Me. The creator, Bryan Fuller, left before Dead Like Me filmed its second and final season. If Bryan had stayed on the show, Ned would have been introduced on Dead Like Me, which would have meant trouble for George. In a perfect world, Fuller would have put George and Ned together romantically, which would have been some nice symbolism.

Will streaming be able to revive ‘Pushing Daises’?

Dead Like Me actually had a shorter run than Pushing Daisies. It was only on for one year, between 2003 and 2004, before Showtime pulled the plug. But Dead Like Me is still a cult classic, much like Pushing Daisies. Both shows are equal parts darkness and light. Although they didn’t thrive when they were on the air, audiences today are more appreciative of complex shows that use humor to confront death. Just look at how successful The Good Place has been. It might be the perfect time to revisit Pushing Daisies or Dead Like Me, or both. 

Fuller has supposedly been working on getting Pushing Daisies back in some form or another, but fans shouldn’t get their hopes up. Streaming will likely not be the answer, as Fuller has already approached Netflix with no success. Other options for a revival include a musical or movie. 

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