As television becomes more like movies, action-packed shows like 24 and Heroes thrive on the small screen. Comedies like My Name is Earl and The Office play like films. Now Pushing Daisies achieves a surreal look like the films of some of Hollywood’s most abstract directors. But don’t confuse Pushing Daisies director Barry Sonnenfeld with Tim Burton.
Sonnenfeld Plants ABC's Daisies
“I just love how many of you have written that this show looks very Burtonesque, which makes me feel really thrilled since me name is Sonnenfeld,” joked Sonnenfeld.
Pushing Daisies is the story of a man with the power to bring the dead back to life with his touch. A second touch sends them back for good, which creates problems when he brings back the love of his life. Even more than the fantasy plot, the show’s colors have taken center stage.
“A lot of people have commented on how colorful and rich this show is and the secret is that at Laser Pacific, there’s a dial that if you turn to 11 instead of just 10, just makes it that much more colorful. I think Bryan [Fuller] and Dan [Jinks] and Bruce [Cohen] and I have always sort of embraces a sort of saturated palette for a lot of our work. Truly, I just turn the dial a little more on the machine.”
That is not to say it’s easy to achieve the look of an Addams Family or Men in Black on television. “I think that you write for the amount of days you have. So what we’re doing on the series is we’re going to maintain the look, the palette, the self-conscious camera, the wonderful acting and we just write sort of for fewer sets perhaps. I think it’s really important to maintain the look because that’s part of the tone of the show.”
Sonnenfeld is no stranger to television, but having experienced previous shows’ early cancellation, he thinks he has learned the trick to making a series last. “I had produced and directed other television pilots like The Tick, like Maximum Bob and I didn’t stick around. I moved on. I decided, when I got back into television, that I needed to stay involved with the show. So for instance, on Pushing Daisies, I’m directing three of the first 13 episodes. If we get picked up for the back nine, I’ll probably come back and do some more. I’m much more involved in the continuing of the show than I used to [be].”