iZombie (2015, TV)
Ordinarily I wouldn’t review a show after just two episodes, I feel it often takes about 3 or more before you can fully grasp what it intends to be. However in this case, despite having an unusual twist, the show is built on a framework so incredibly familiar, I feel like I already know it.
Medical student Liv Moore (clever name played by Rose McIver), becomes a high-functioning zombie, though she can keep up the appearance of still being alive, she makes drastic changes in her life, dumping fiancée Major (Robert Buckley, ‘One Tree Hill’) and moves to working in the pathology lab with British pathologist Ravi, the only one who works out her secret. There, she discovers that the side-effect of eating brains and adopting the traits and memories of her meal, is that she can help the police solve murders.
Essentially it’s a police procedural with an added zombie twist, Liv’s situation hidden under the guise of pretending to be a psychic, an idea previously seen in shows such as ‘The Mentalist’, and ‘Psych’. Unlike some adaptations, it doesn’t shy away from the source material, proudly wearing its comic roots on its sleeve, and I like that. There are comic book styled opening credits and cards in the show, clearly reminding that it’s not just a jumper on the bandwagon but suggesting more an overdue adaptation of material that’s now in style.
One key plot point, a side-effect of eating brains, that Liv takes on the memories, skills and feelings of her food, will keep her character always changing and despite her flesh being rotten the show and her character may stay fresh. The overall story is nicely interesting, avoiding answering all questions up front and gently expanding our understanding of Liv’s condition as she too is discovering herself. This also involves her realising that she’s not alone in her condition, with another dubiously motivated zombie (played by David Anders, ‘Heroes’) playing a key part that’s sure to unfold in an interesting way. Some of the supporting cast have previously been in lead roles on the CW, Aly Michalka (the short-lived ‘Hellcats’) and Robert Buckley, which suggests that they might have substantial parts to come in the future rather than just small scenes.
I may change my mind nearer the seasons end, but so far it’s pretty good. I’m not usually one for zombie shows, but this is low on the gore, high on the inventiveness, and from a comic book source, so I’m more than willing to stick with it as long at it can stay such. Plus, with ‘The Mentalist’ over, there was already a one-hour space in my schedule each week for a fun fake psychic who will help solve murders in an unconventional way… though Patrick Jane never ate brains.