To be honest, I have to say I was not the least bit interested in watching iZombie when I first heard about it, mostly because of the promotion used to hype the graphic-novel-turned TV show: Veronica Mars (not my cup of tea) crossed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer (loved the movie, wasn’t a fan of the show).
But after a weekend of binge watching the entire 1st season of iZombie, I have to say I have gone full on iZombie.
Any successful show needs a hook — one that won’t become repetitive (and therefore ultimately boring) and one that could ultimately evolve.
iZombie has that in spades. Liv Moore (Rose McIver), our heroine has become a zombie who needs to eat brains on a regular basis. This forces her to give up a promising medical career, and so she relinquishes herself to working in a morgue… for several reasons (mostly revolving around easy access to brains of course). She’s split with her fiance, Major (Robert Buckley) for fear of passing on the disease, and manages to buddy up with the one person in the world who can empathize with her plight (her morgue partner Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti, played by Rahul Kohli) — who takes it upon himself to attempt to cure zombie-ism. All of that is pretty fluffy when it comes to TV hooks.
What really works is when Liv eats the brains of a deceased (who often arrive as an unsolved murder case) she not only gets glimpses of their memories (which can be used to help solve the murders (helped along with the oblivious, but brilliant Detective Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin), who believes Liv is some kind of psychic), but she also takes on their personalities– intertwined with her own personality. That last part is the major hook that makes each show entertaining in so many ways. For example, there’s an especially poignant storyline where a friend of Liv dies in a skydiving accident, and after eating her brain, she finds a new (albeit temporary) zest for life she once had but had lost since she had become a zombie.
Liv eats the brain of an alcoholic, and she goes on a binge. Liv eats the brain of a narcissistic asshole, and she becomes one. All the while, Dr. Ravi knows what’s going on (and knows what’s probably going to happen whenever Liv eats any particular brain, but doesn’t stand in the way because he knows it will likely help solve a crime) and Detective Babineaux is always thrown for a loop by her seemingly schizophrenic behavior– but just chocks it up to Liv being a slightly weirdo psychic.
Liv’s love life is in shambles, especially as it pertains to her on-again off-again relationship with Major, who slowly begins to put together the pieces of the mystery surrounding Liv and a series of bad guys.
There are a bunch of bad guys of course, the main baddy played by the charming Dave Anders as Blaine DeBeers, who pre-zombie dealt in illicit drugs, and now all-zombie deals in illicit brains. And because the brains carry the memories of the previous owners, some brains can become much more valuable, like the brains of, oh… say… a former astronaut. And of course there’s a big bad corporation involved.
If you want The Walking Dead gore, you will be disappointed. While there is spraying blood, and obvious amputation and decapitations, this all happens off camera. But really, if that’s all I ever want in a zombie flick, I have a hundred (generally very bad) ones to choose from. iZombie is not a wimpy kid’s show. It’s smart, the dialogue is pithy, and the story moves along at breakneck speed. At least that’s how it felt when I binge watched it. So much happens in the first season. It makes me glad Season 2 has been picked up.
Give it a few episodes. That’s what it took me to get into the rhythm of the show. With that rhythm, like a great song, you start anticipating stuff to come, and when you get surprised with something that is even a bit out-of-left-field (that might make you do a WTF), you’ll more than likely do a satisfying nod than an eye roll.