Daddy issues, daughter issues, mommy issues, half-brother issues — there's going to be a lot of family drama when Pushing Daisies returns in October, the show's cast and crew revealed over the weekend at Comic-Con. But fans of the whimsical series need not despair: If anything, the Daisies folks promised, the show is overall lighter and even more delightful this year.
Creator Bryan Fuller and executive producer Barry Sonnenfeld also revealed the first footage from season two — after a brief snafu in which the video for the pilot started playing instead, prompting the two to run out to the podium early to apologize — and teased what's going on in the land of Coeur d’Coeurs when we return Oct. 1. To hear about what's coming up (plus some other highlights and a ton of pictures from the panel), just read more.
First, some hints about season two:
- There have been a few changes in the living arrangements: Chuck is moving out of Ned's place and into Olive's. Olive, meanwhile, will spend a few episodes at a nunnery for an as-yet-undisclosed reason. (I saw the nunnery set on my Pushing Daisies set tour at TCA, and it's truly spectacular! As soon as Warner Bros. posts its photos, I'll be writing more about that.)
- The aunts will be getting out more this season, including a trip to the Pie Hole (which understandably creates a lot of problems for Ned) and to visit Olive nunnery. The season two footage showed some hilarious shots of Aunt Vivian with a new color-coordinated eye patch in the nunnery's official blue.
- In case the very thought of Olive at a nunnery raises some Sound of Music thoughts in your mind, you're not alone: Olive does, in fact, sing in the first episode — and from the footage, it looks to be a classic "the hills are alive" moment.
- Emerson's quest for his daughter will be a major plot point: Fuller said Emerson wants to publish a pop-up book called Lil' Gumshoe that would essentially deliver the directions for his daughter to find her way back to him.
- Among the many new characters we'll be meeting: Emerson's mother, Ned's half-brothers, and Olive's new pet, a potbellied pig named Pigby. The show will also introduce Dwight Dixon, a man who has history with both Chuck's father and Ned's father. While they wouldn't name names, the producers said they're expecting some more stage actors and singers — Broadway friends of Kristin Chenoweth and Ellen Greene — to make an appearance.
- Also, we'll get to meet Young Olive and Young Emerson! In general, Fuller said, the second season will really embrace the ensemble nature of the show.
- There will be many new contraptions to enable Ned and Chuck to show some affection, including a device that will allow them to spoon! (Aww!)
- A special note for Wonderfalls fans: Fuller wants to put some kind of Wonderfalls tie-in in the new season.
And now, some highlights from the panel itself:
- First Chi McBride and then Kristin Chenoweth made their entrances by running past the front of the crowd, slapping hands. I was only a few rows back, but I could still just barely see Kristin's blonde head bobbing as she made her run.
- I couldn't believe I hadn't heard this story before this weekend, so maybe it'll be new to some of you, too: Bryan Fuller explained that the origins of Pushing Daisies came from an idea he had for Dead Like Me if the show had gotten a third season. That show's main character, George, took people's souls when she touched them, so Fuller thought about introducing a romantic foil for George who could give people their souls back with a touch of his own.
- One fan asked Fuller why, after Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me both had cynical main characters, he decided to have Chuck and Ned embody all that's good with the world instead of sarcasm and wisecracks. "We have Emerson Cod for that," Fuller said.
- Another fan asked Kristin Chenoweth if she'd indulge the crowd with a little song — and she obliged with a lovely version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," to wild cheers and applause. I'll try to post the audio of her performance later on, but for now, just trust me: It was gorgeous. (Barry Sonnenfeld even pulled his own mini video camera out of his pocket to capture it.)
- Speaking of singing, Fuller also said he'd like to do a full musical episode at some point. He said he figured out the musical element to the show only after ending up with a cast full of talented singers and said he didn't purposefully look for actors who could sing — but, lucky for us, he got them anyway.
- Sonnenfeld still holds a joking grudge against Anna Friel for convincing one director that it would be fine to have Ned and Chuck playing a hand-slapping game in the background of some Pie Hole scenes. "It's basically Russian Roulette!" Lee Pace said.
- Sonnenfeld was also getting a kick out of teasing Chenoweth about her popularity. "You all love Kristin," he said at one point. "She's like a perfect short person."