After many, many hints that this was coming, Pushing Daisies has been cancelled. (So have Dirty Sexy Money and Eli Stone, but I don't watch those shows and therefore don't care.)
As so many others have said, the fact that this smart, unusual, gorgeous show has been cancelled while shows like Knight Rider (which I've never watched because every reaction I've seen has been wholly negative) and the new Life on Mars (whose unsubtle hectoring drove me away after two episodes) survive is a travesty, and something that ABC, and the television industry in general, should be ashamed of. And no, the fact that Daisies creator Bryan Fuller might now be available to return to Heroes (where, in its first season, he wrote the standout episode "Company Man") is no consolation. Heroes is a critically injured show which has done so much to squander my never-particularly-great affection for it that I doubt it could ever work its way back into my heart. No show that sidelines what used to be its most earnest, heroic character by mentally regressing him to age ten, while simultaneously retconning a villain who ought to have been killed two seasons ago into goodness simply because the actor portraying him is hunky, deserves the second (or rather third, fourth, or nth) chances that Heroes has gotten. Pushing Daisies, meanwhile, has been firing on all pistons lately, and this week's episode in particular was one of its cleverest and most moving yet, with great performances all around, most particularly a chance for Lee Pace (who had better find another place on my screen soon) to play Ned as a little more decisive and pro-active, and questions raised about Ned and Chuck's past which will now never be answered.
I know that caring too much about television is asking to be hurt. It's a medium designed to appeal to the broadest audience possible, and anything that's too different or too quirky to have more than a niche appeal is going to get cut down. Still, this smarts. In an increasingly barren television landscape, Pushing Daisies was a breath of fresh air. It could always be counted on to surprise and delight me. It never cut corners on any of its characters and never looked down on the emotions they were feeling. It brightened my day, and I looked forward to it every week. There aren't a lot of shows I still feel that way about, and the ones I do (Dexter and, to a much lesser extent, The Sarah Connor Chronicles) lean more towards the increasingly popular grim realism school of television writing. Which certainly has its points, but not to the exclusion of all other styles. Pushing Daisies was the show that proved that cute and charming isn't the same thing as brainless or emotionally inauthentic, an attitude that's far too uncommon in television nowadays.
The Middleman had better be safe, is all I'm saying.