Just another iZombie Show
After last week’s premiere of the CW’s iZombie series based, loosely, on the Vertigo comic book series of the same name. I know what you’re thinking, another zombie show? Seriously? And the name iZombie makes it sound like a Nickelodeon cartoon that we should NOT be watching. Well that’s what I thought anyway. But as new episodes of the show air could this be the start of a sci fi classic, or just another zombie show.
Just Another Zombie Show
With shows like the Walking Dead dominating ratings with it’s epically gorey and dramatic storylines, do we really need another show about zombies? Well remember when vampires were all the rage? Just after Buffy and about the time that Twilight came out there were about 4 or 5 vampire shows and vampire movies all out at the same time. Now it seems its the zombies’ turn. So how is this show any different?
Well for starters the fact that the lead character is a zombie is somewhat secondary. She isn’t shuffling across the screen at all times groaning about wanting to eat brains, although she does bring up the subject of needing to eat brains to get by. It merely adds a plot twist to her oh-so-classic struggle to change her fate.
In case you don’t know the backstory here’s a quick recap (don’t worry it’s not really a spoiler as it all happened in the first 5 minutes). Ambitious medical student Olivia “Liv” Moore (which I only just realised is a clever play on words considering she’s a zombie living after death, in a sense Living More… clever) attends a boat party which inevitably turns into a zombie feeding frenzy, as so many often do.
Fully aware of her transformation Liv is determined to pass for normal despite her increasingly pale complexion and inexplicably blonde hair. She gets a job working at a local morgue where she can munch on all the unused brains she could want. As a way to see some good in a bad situation she starts to use her zombie gifts to solve her patients’ murders with the help of Detective Clive Babineaux.
Makes sense right?
Quick Origin Story
Most of us watching the pilot knew the backstory before tuning in, this is why I was grateful they decided to shorthand the whole origin story that every sci fi pilot seems to want to drag out. We don’t have to sit through a load of scenes in which Liv agonises over her transformation and her cohorts take an entire show swathed in disbelief. It’s like, you’re a zombie, let’s do some cool stuff next.
A Little bit like Tru Calling
Another pro (or con, I’m actually not sure) is that the show has a stikingly similar theme to Fox’s cancelled show Tru Calling starring Eliza Dushku of Buffy fame (and weirdly enough Zac Galifianakis long before the Hangover). It harkens back to the time when dramas centred on a lonely character wandering into random characters’ lives and saving middle America one episode at a time. If it’s not careful and doesn’t develop a central and continuing theme soon it’ll go the way of Tru Calling.
The introduction of the second zombie character Blaine DeBeers, played by David Anders, will hopefully result in a nice battle of good vs evil to keep things going. (although if you remember they introduced Jason Priestly in Tru Calling to do just that… still didn’t save it).
Witty & doesn’t try too hard
It’s witty. Plenty of jokes, puns and one-liners and at the moment it isn’t trying too hard. The writers know it’s an absurd concept that works fine within the confides of comic book panels, but could be seen as ridiculous when shown on the small screen. So the script doesn’t take itself too seriously and at the same time it doesn’t try too hard to convince us that it’s light-hearted.
My biggest grievance with the show has to be the character of Detective Clive Babineaux. I don’t know if it’s the character or the actor that plays him but he bugs the crap out of me. Whether it’s the bugging out eyes, the scary-thin eyebrows or the fact that he insists on wearing a turtleneck sweater all the times.
Despite wanting to see more after the pilot episode I’m wondering how the show is going to remain interesting. Liv may learn to paint and appreciate jazz, but I still haven’t learned why I should care. In my humble opinion the concept seems a bit dated and the zombie twist isn’t quite adding enough charm to keep me drawn in. But what do I know?!
What are your thoughts on the series so far? Is it doing the comic book justice or is it just another zombie show?
In case you were still wondering if you should give iZombie a try, here’s a fun fact for you: star Rose McIver played the Yellow Power-Ranger in the 2009 ‘Power-Rangers R.P.M. series. So she’s a second generation geek actress.