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iZombie is an odd little pseudo-psychic TV show, with the nice twist of having a very likable zombie.
Director: Rob Thomas
Writer: Mike Allred and Chris Robertson (Comic Source) & Diane Ruggiero and Rob Thomas (Episode Script)
Review (with Spoilers) – Below
Characters & Story
Olivia Moore (Rose McIver) was a brilliant young woman who had aspirations to become a heart surgeon, that is until one party, one of the first times she let loose, she ends up being scratched by a zombie and finding herself become one. Thus leading to her continuing her pursuit of being a doctor in a morgue. Luckily, though, the medical examiner, Dr. Ravi (Rahul Kohli) enjoys her company and is quite excited when he finds out she is a zombie. Though perhaps no one is more excited than Detective Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin) who Olivia finds herself helping on a case.
But, on the personal side of things, Olivia’s life is a slight mess. Her one-time fiancé, Major (Robert Buckley) and she are no longer together, for his safety, and she is finding it increasingly hard to appear her mother Eva (Molly Hagan) who is quite a passive-aggressive mother. Though, after 5 months of serious depression, it seems finding purpose through assisting Detective Clive maybe just what she needed.
Though comparisons to Veronica Mars are happening, mostly thanks to the creator of Veronica Mars, Rob Thomas, being involved, I honestly don’t see the similarities past a young looking blonde solving crimes. With that said, though, the likability factor which launched Kristen Bell’s career you can see in McIver’s performance. For while Olivia is presented as an overachiever, and perhaps a goodie two shoes, pre-zombie, once she becomes a zombie she becomes a likable figure.
However, while McIver certainly does craft a likable character, you have to give props to her supporting actors which makes her performance, her character, and the overall show, likable and compelling. Be it the odd Dr. Ravi, who seemingly is focused on creating a cure, and being the lovable eccentric Desi; Detective Clive, who seems like a possible love interest, and someone who may bring a few comical moments out of Olivia; or even Olivia’s friends and family who, honestly, don’t make much waves in the pilot, but could possibly as the show goes on.
Perhaps the main issue I find with iZombie, which kills its Veronica Mars comparison, is that the tone, and handling of cases, for the show is sort of weird. If only because the show doesn’t really seem to have any sort of serious tone at all, and while McIver is likable, she isn’t presenting Olivia the same way Kristen Bell presented Veronica. Olivia isn’t the type of character who seems like she has a unique personality and the type of backstory you want to look into. Olivia is almost purely interesting due to being a zombie who eats brains and gets visions. All of which leads to an almost Gotham like show. Meaning, while you are presented with likable characters, with likable qualities, everything presented about their professional and personal life seems shallow.
Leading to perhaps the biggest issue of the pilot: The case. For while having likable characters are nice and all, at the heart of the series, is a young zombie who eats the brains of the victim, leading to a Warm Bodies like stream of memories. Which is a nice concept, but with episodic cases, of which the big reveal is weak, it presents a bad precedent. After all, what made Thomas’ Veronica Mars so good was the cases. They had nice arcs, with decent cases in between, and while all characters were likable, they also had enough depth to never leave you too comfortable in things. With iZombie though, everything seems to be as it appears until there is the need for a convenient perp.
Overall: Stick Around
iZombie surely will be around for a while, but I would not say it hits it out of the park with the pilot. For while, as you watch, you will be very entertained, this seems like the type of show which will either get better with time or possibly get worse as you get used to the formula of the show. Though if they create longer arcs for the show’s cases, and make them more complex, maybe this show could become better. Otherwise, this may become one of those shows you think is alright, but not understand the hype its fandom gives it.
Things To Note
- Detective Babineaux was formerly a vice detective so he may have very well have been looking into the drug “Utopium” which led to Olivia being attacked and becoming a zombie.
- It has been 2 months since Detective Babineaux left vice and Olivia helps him get his first perp.
- Doctor Ravi Chakrabarti is looking into a cure for Olivia, also presenting some hope for her.
- Detective Babineaux seems like he may become a love interest for Olivia, assuming Major has really moved on.