Bryan Fuller, the name is now pretty much synonymous with oddball television shows that have an endearing lead cast, an unusual concept and rapid cancellation. He first worked on Star Trek: Voyager before creating the rather fantastic TV Series Dead Like Me - which was cancelled after two short seasons. Most recently he's been involved in Heroes (now cancelled) and Pushing Daisies (cancelled); so it should be no surprise to anyone that Bryan's first project after Dead Like Me was cancelled by Fox just four episodes into its run. Fortunately for those of us who enjoy quirky comedy/drama with strong and well realised female leads the shows first season was filmed in it's entirety and is available on DVD.
Caroline Dhavernas stars as Jaye Tyler; a moody, withdrawn 'Generation Y' underachiever. She lives in Niagara Falls and works in one of the local gift shops with a co-worker she describes as a 'mouthbreather'. Jaye is distant and withdrawn, connecting with few people apart from her best friend Mahandra (Tracie Thoms), even her family (Parents Sharon - Katie Finneran, Darren - William Sadler, Sister - Karen Diana Scarwid and brother Lee Pace, who would star as Ned in Pushing Daisies later on in his career) find her hard to associate with. Jaye lives in a trailer park and has little to do with the world in general if she can help it.
Throughout the series Jaye is instructed by otherwise inanimate objects to perform tasks; items like a cow creamer, a fish on the wall and a brass monkey force her to interact with the world and often help people, changing things for the better.
Caroline Dhavernas is the centre of this show and given the performance she provides here it's a complete surprise that she's not in higher demand outside of her native Canada. She's an absolute delight as Jaye, taking a character with a lot of exceptionally unlikable personality traits into a character who is so wonderful that it's hard not to fall in love with her as her story progresses towards its conclusion.
Now often with cancelled shows you're left with a cliff hanger that is irritating and unfortunate to endure. Fortunately with Wonderfalls there's a complete story in these episodes and as such it's possible to enjoy it as a complete entity.
So get out there, grab a barrel and marvel at this hidden gem of magical television.
You'll like this if you like: Dead Like Me, Arrested Development, Pushing Daisies, Spaced, Ten Items or Less.