26. Pushing Daisies
What It’s About: Ned (Lee Pace) is a mild-mannered, socially awkward chap with two amazing talents: He makes awesome pies, and he can resurrect the dead with a touch. But with another touch, Ned can rescind that second-chance life…which is why he can never lay a finger on his best pal and one true love, Charlotte (Anna Friel), whom he reanimates after she’s killed. With gruff private detective Emerson Cod (Chi McBride), the pair solve murders in a world of opulent whimsy that invariably finds ways to let Kristin Chenoweth’s lovelorn waitress Olive Snook sing a song.
Why It’s Cult: The heightened artifice of it all — the ornate storybook production, the mile-a-minute screwball banter, Harry Potter reader Jim Dale’s narration — polarized audiences into love-it/hate-it camps. Those who love it swear by its imaginative depiction of a romance defined by relational, not sexual, intimacy. Those who hate it think that it’s like watching a long, annoying Splenda commercial.
Secret Handshake: You can recite the rules of Ned’s power by heart. —Jeff Jensen