Pick of the Week - April 28-May 4, 2014

A few weeks ago, my Pick of the Week was the television series, Hannibal.  At that time, I made a brief mention of the show’s creator, Bryan Fuller.  This week’s pick is another series that he created.

I first ran across Fuller’s name as a writer on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager.  He also served as story editor and co-producer on Voyager.  While I freely admit that Voyager was not my favorite Star Trek series, I was curious to see what Fuller had come up with when he created his first series, Dead Like Me.  The show, which follows a recently-deceased woman who learns that being Death is a job, is fun and quirky, but it is not my pick this week.

Instead, I want to recommend the next series Fuller created, Wonderfalls.  If you’re sitting there thinking to yourself, “Wonderfalls?  That was a series?  I’ve never heard of it,” don’t worry.  You’re not alone.  The show premiered on FOX in 2004 and was gone after only four episodes.  Even in that little time, the show experienced a little-advertised air date change, which didn’t help matters.

But let’s move away from the show’s brief televised life-span and get into the actual storyline.  Wonderfalls is about Jaye Tyler (played by the wonderful Caroline Dhavernas, who is currently appearing on Hannibal as Dr. Alana Bloom), a self-described over-educated yet under-employed twenty-something who works in a gift shop in Niagara Falls, New York (If you’ve ever been to Niagara Falls, though, they make no effort at hiding that they actually filmed on the far more scenic Canadian side).

Jaye has basically detached herself from the world and views it with truly astounding levels of cynicism until one day when a little souvenir wax lion begins talking to her.  And it’s not alone.  She soon finds herself receiving “suggestions” (commands, really) from all sorts of inanimate creatures (monkey bookends, stuffed bears, and so on) that force her to do something she would normally never consider: actually help other people. 

While the series was canceled almost immediately, thirteen episodes were made, and they tell a complete story.  Think of Wonderfalls as a thirteen episode mini-series rather than a show cut short before its time.  

- Alan Decker

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