Wednesday, November 14, 2007

TV's Best New Star

There's an old adage in Hollywood: Never work with children or animals.

Whoever came up with the adage obviously has never seen "Pushing Daisies," (ABC, 8 p.m.) because that person obviously hasn't seen Ned's (Lee Pace) dog Digby in action.

In my opinion, the single best-shot scene on TV this year was the song-and-dance routine between Digby and Broadway veteran Kristin Chenowith, who performed Olivia Newton-John's "Hopelessly Devoted To You" in the series' second episode. And you had the Lassie-inspired sequence a couple of weeks' ago, in which the young Digby pulled the fire alarm en route to tracking down the young Ned at boarding school.

How the producers of "Pushing Daisies" get the facial expressions and perfect timing out of Digby is certainly a question for the ages, but the closest scene-stealing animal to Digby on TV that I can think of is Moose, the Jack Russell Terrier who played Eddie for 11 seasons on "Frasier."

But Digby is even better, and one of the best elements on TV's best new series. Tonight's episode centers around a murdered dog breeder, so I'm hoping that means a big role for Digby.

AROUND THE DIAL: For those interested, Newsday has a very good interview with "30 Rock" star and Maconite Jack McBrayer, who plays Kenneth the page. You can view it here:,0,1362365.story

Good news this New Year's Eve. Dick Clark is officially back on ABC's "Rockin' Eve," sharing hosting duties with Ryan Secrest. Clark, 77 years young, missed the 2004 edition because of a stroke, and it always seems that he's a year away from hanging up his microphone permanently. ...

Just a week ago, "Damages" was 50-50 as to whether FX would give the show a second season. But the network announced this week that it was not only bringing the Glenn Close series back, it was doing so with both a second and a third season. ...

Finally, a reminder that the Galleria Cinemas in Centerville will show "The Menagerie," a digitally remastered version of the original "Star Trek" episode tonight at 7:30 p.m. It's one of the select few theaters around the country that is doing so. I was going to go last night, but got sidetracked (Thanks, Oprah!)

WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: What has become a TV event returns tonight as "Project Runway" (Bravo, 10 p.m.) begins a new season. (Don't worry, Mom and Dad, I've set the VCR). Of course, if the WGA strike lasts a while, it wouldn't be much of a surprise at all if parent company NBC starts re-running the series on the main network, since "Runway" is one of the highest-rated cable series on the air.

Speaking of NBC, I got a preview DVD of tonight's "Life" (NBC, 10 p.m.) and it's one of the cleverest installments of the series as the detectives investigate the death of a Walter Mittyish bigamist while Crews is the prime suspect in the murder of the cop who put him away. We pick up some major clues tonight in the story arc about the conspiracy that sent Crews (Damian Lewis) to prison, but they bring about more questions than answers. It's preceded by a new "Phenomenon" at 8 p.m. and "Bionic Woman" at 9 p.m.

ABC is running new episodes of "Private Practice" and "Dirty Sexy Money" after "Pushing Daisies."

Enjoy "Back To You" (Fox, 8 p.m.) and "Til Death" (Fox, 8:30 p.m.) while you can. Both series stopped shooting last week because of the strike, so I'm fairly certain this is the last week of new episodes. "Kitchen Nightmares" (Fox, 9 p.m.) should continue for a while, since it's a reality show.

CBS is all new with "Kids Nation," "Criminal Minds," and "CSI:NY," while the CW's "Gossip Girl" is also new at 9 p.m.


zodin2008 said...

I second your kudos to Digby the wonder dog on "Daisies". I agree he's a terrific animal actor.

(and though Koose, aka 'Eddie' on "Frasier" is now in doggy heaven, he was always fun too).

But "Pushing Daises" has grown somewhat tiresome for my wife & I each week.

The show is well made, visually stunning, and well acted, but the whole 'storybook' aspect has become a bit tiresome and it's more of a chore to watch than it is fun - like "Bionic Woman" (though it's a better show than Bionic).

For me, the only show that started strong and has gotten better each week of the newbies this Fall is "Chuck"; and the two shows I started out not loving but now really enjoy are "Life" and especially "Journeyman" (though i realize all 3 NBC shows do not look like they have a long term future).

In fact, it's ironic that "Bionic" was the most heavily hyped this Fall, when it's the one I least enjoy and most wouldn't miss for a second if it vanished.

For me, "Pushing Daisies" is like "reaper" - it started out as a show with an etertaining pilot but doesn't for me as a week to week series. "Reaper" could work but I hate the lead actor (Brett Harrison) and that really can't change so I gave up.

To me, "Daises" would have worked better as a movie or a mini series.

Phillip Ramati said...

Well, in an atmosphere of unoriginality on TV, Pushing Daisies stands out as something fresh. It's one of the few shows I look forward to every week.

Part of Bionic's problem was that it was so overhyped that it would be impossible to meet expectations. And, unlike the other NBC series, it doesn't take the time to tell the personal stories of the characters, so it's hard to root for them.

dad said...

Thanks from mom and me