Watching: No Touching

A tender show for isolated times.

Author Headshot

By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

There’s a Whac-a-Mole TV show in the works, which is a good lesson: When we wish for shows that aren’t sequels, prequels, reboots or copaganda, we need to be more specific.

Have a safe and warm week.

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I miss human touch

From left, Shelley Berman, Lee Pace, Anna Friel and Chi McBride in “Pushing Daisies.”Danny Feld/ABC

‘Pushing Daisies’

When to watch: Now, on CW Seed (free) or HBO Max.

This enchanting two-season dramedy about a pie maker who can raise the dead, but only temporarily, is now on HBO Max. (It’s been on CW Seed for ages, though.) There’s never a bad time for whimsy and tenderness, but now is an especially good time for a show in which physical contact is verboten. Ned (Lee Pace) can bring the dead back to life just by touching them, but if he touches them again, they die for good — and if he doesn’t do it within one minute, someone else in the vicinity perishes. The central ache of “Daisies” is that Ned has resurrected his childhood love, Chuck (Anna Friel), but he can’t touch her ever again. He also can’t pet his ancient dog, Digby, for the same reason. So bring on the plastic wrap, the beekeeper suits, the wooden extend-o-hand and bunch of other creative solutions.

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“Pushing Daisies” is funny and darling, and it is also poetic in its understanding of the compound interest of loneliness, how isolation reinforces itself — but don’t worry, occasional musical numbers brighten the mood considerably. If you’ve got the quar blues extra hard this week, watch this. Binge gently, though; there are only 22 episodes.

I want something strange and clever

Alexandra Roach and Rufus Jones in a scene from “Hunderby.”via BBC

‘Hunderby’

When to watch: Now, on Hulu or Amazon.

There are a handful of fun period satires — “Quacks,” “Miracle Workers” — but “Hunderby,” created by and co-starring Julia Davis, is less wink-wink and more just a genuine gothic drama that’s also hilarious and twisted. It’s 1831, and a shipwreck has deposited a few survivors on the beach of a small British town. But perhaps Helene (Alexandra Roach) is not who she seems to be! Dark secrets abound, as do various grotesqueries and occasional instances of slapstick. If you’ve watched a lot of Regency era shows and want to rag on them but also embrace them, watch this. Be warned that characters use the phrase “bubbly milk” a lot, and it gets more vile every time.

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