Lee Pace is Ned “The Pieman”, a life-long loner who brings the dead back to life with a touch and then sends them back to the great beyond with another. The facts were these: If he doesn’t remake physical contact within a minute, the consequences will be fatal for some bystander. That’s a lot of pressure on a guy. Anna Friel is Chuck, his childhood sweetheart and murder victim brought back to life (at the cost of another human) and destined to remain his untouchable love (physical contact will, of course, send her back to eternal slumber).
Not only do they offer the sweetest romance on TV in Bryan Fuller’s fantasy of life, death, love and loss, they are also partners with Emerson Cod (Chi McBride), a flinty private eye who uses Ned’s gift to get the inside scoop on murder mysteries. And there are plenty of wild and wacky murders to solve in this crazed world of absurd melodrama, complicated love lives and storybook imagery. Kristin Chenoweth is Ned’s waitress with an unrequited crush (her romantic torment sends her to a convent, complete with a The Sound of Music parody, in the opening episodes), Swoosie Kurtz and Ellen Greene are Chuck’s eccentric aunties (still mourning the death of Chuck – they can’t know her secret), and Jim Dale delivers the wily and witty narration. Fuller had been playing with the netherworld between life and death in such shows as Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls, but the alchemy really came together in this beloved high concept series. Unfortunately it too ended up with low ratings and was canceled after a brief second season. The creators offer a provisional ending of sorts, more a promise of happy endings than actual closure, but it’s a sweet way to send off the characters.
The 13 episodes of the second season are collected on four discs on DVD and two discs on Blu-ray, along with four featurettes. The 12-minute “The Master Pie Maker” surveys the creative inspirations and challenges of the show (and makes it look like quite a fun production to work on), while shorter pieces explore the music and the special effects.