Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bryan Fuller, creator extraordinaire

Technically Bryan Fuller might not have the best track record on TV (he created 3 shows with only 5 seasons between them), but he definitely created some of the most unusual and entertaining fare on the tube in the last decade. Patterns emerge from these three cult series. 

Dead Like Me (2003-2004, Showtime) follows Georgia "George" Lass (Ellen Muth), a recent college drop-out, after she dies in a freak accident and is tapped to be a grim reaper. She still has a human form and must basically lead a normal, mundane life with only her grim reaper boss and friends as true confidants, but her main duty is to rescue people's souls before they die. (A movie "to wrap things up" came out in 2009.)
Season 1 Find it in the catalog!
Season 2 Find it in the catalog!
Dead Like Me: Life After Death Find it in the catalog!

Wonderfalls (2004, Fox) follows Jaye Tyler (Caroline Dhavernas), a recent college graduate who works retail at a Niagra Falls gift shop and lives at the High and Dry Trailer Park (love the name). But her job is not her biggest problem: one day a wax lion talks to her. Toys and objects cryptically tell her to do things and if she doesn't follow their advice bad things tend to happen. Fox aired only four of the 13 episodes for this show, which is a shame because the show grows into its own as the season progresses.
Find it in the catalog!

Pushing Daisies (2007-2009, ABC) follows Ned (Lee Pace) who has the ability to bring people back to life with his touch, usually allowing their murder to be solved. However, this blessing is also a curse because it presents problems for him and his childhood sweetheart, Charlotte "Chuck" Charles (Anna Friel).
Season 1 Find it in the catalog!
Season 2 Find it in the catalog!

These short-lived, but masterful series have a few things in common, so if you like one, you'll like the others. Besides Fuller's affinity for naming his female characters male names (George, Jaye, and Chuck), they are strong women. The central character in both WF and DLM is a slightly acerbic female; PD features solid supporting female characters. While the themes of death, indifference to life, and seizing the day are common to the shows, it is predominantly the quirkiness they exude that bind them together.

Check out these quirky, funny, and oddly inspiring series-- it's not a huge time commitment (5 seasons, no problem!).