To start off my new past time, I think I’ll begin with a television series. Now normally I’ll review something that’s old. Past its prime. Ancient, if you will. However, I just finished binge watching this as of late, and feel as if it requires some serious praise. While it’s far from over (having finished last month and been renewed for another season), I feel as if it’s a bit underappreciated.
The show is CW15’s very own, iZombie. Now I know three of your possible reactions to this choice.
A) I’ve seen it.
B) I saw it in my Netflix queue/Saw a promo for it during Arrow.
C) Never heard of it.
Now if you’re B or C, then you need to get your head out of your ass, and smell the roses. iZombie is a refreshing take on the obscenely annoying list of zombie apocalypse media franchises that Hollywood has been making gangbusters off of. Instead of there being an apocalypse, there’s no knowledge of what’s happening around these Seattle morons. They are blissfully unaware of what’s happening.
Let’s get some of you up to speed (A people skip ahead a bit. You earned it.). It all begins when the main character Olivia “Liv” Moore goes to a party on a boat when some shit goes down, and she wakes up to find that she’s a zombie. She leaves a promising medical career for the morgue, breaks up with the fiancee of her dreams, and can’t eat anything without hot sauce. To top it off, her supervisor and fellow morgue medical examiner Ravi deduces her secret. And she’s scared shitless. Thing is he’s fascinated and wants to help cure her.
Ok, A people get back here.
Thing is, that a side effect of her eating brains (yes that old as fuck trope) is that she sees memories of the people’s brains she’s eaten, allowing her to pass herself off as a psychic. She also gains some of their traits and abilities for about a week.
Now B and C guys I know what you’re thinking. How is this different from Walking Dead meets NCIS?
Well for starters, Liv can walk among the living. Second, and this is the most important part, is the Scream-esque humor that the writers are able to sneak into the scripts.
Now we all know how everyone thinks the zombie apocalypse will go: some schmuck becomes a zombie and everyone gets the virus or magic hoodoo or whatever. The thing is that the idea is fucking ridiculous. Red Dawn is more likely dumbasses.
iZombie gets this and runs a fuckin’ Hail Mary with it.
Now I’m not a fan of modern grindhouse flicks. Most are stupid and contribute nothing to film culture whatsoever. The low budget 80’s B-movies I respect, not because I think they’re good, cause they’re not. They’re shit. The reason why I respect them is because they were a jumping off point for independent guys with no budget beyond whatever they made in high school ACTUALLY flipping burgers. When they got some capital from the profits of their shit movies they could go on to create masterpieces.
Anyways, iZombie decides that they’re gonna be the cheeky motherfuckers that we all know them for, and get meta. Like seriously meta. In fact, the exchanges for when Liv needs to feed on human brains, and Ravi (the M.E.) and Liv are in a conversation with a detective can get so meta that all they’re missing is a sideways glance at the camera. The series successfully turns dramatic irony into a running gag for the show.
The interesting thing is that it also ends up sending a message to the audience regarding relationships with humans, and what it means to live. Sure, the later episodes made me cringe, since they went for some frat house themed humor, but by then I was already invested.
The struggles weren’t at all relatable (except for Ravi since he never gets what he wants), since it’s a show about zombies. E.g. Liv can’t get laid cause she’s a zombie. Which ends up being amusing for a good portion of the series. The writers get that it’s unrelatable and end up running with it, creating more and more convoluted ‘zombie themed” plot lines and powers that make the show infinitely more interesting.
The only issues with the show is that they have Liv’s loved ones get mixed up in the main villain’s shit a little to coincidentally. It felt rushed, but at the end of the day, you end up with a plot line with twists and turns that seemed negligible at first, but ends up being tied nicely together at the end of the day.
Now I’m not good at evaluating actors. Or directors, or anything like that. However, the performance of Ms.Rose McIver is something special. Not because she does the cheery zombie bit well (I could never tell you) but because she does the mood swings bits so well. As stated above, Liv’s consumption of brains causes her to assume certain personality traits of her meals. These range from goth, to so cheery you wanna kill her, to a zen master one time. The fact that I thought her performance didn’t seem forced made me feel that she’s underappreciated as an actress.
And that praise isn’t because she can look good in white hair. She’s very good at the role, and even though some other actors could pull it off, she brought a signature aspect to the role which ends up helping to tie the entire show together.
Now I single her out, since that’s the only performance that came to mind. The fact that I feel as if all the other actors can fit their characters, be it Rahul Kohli’s quirky performance as the mad scientist ME Ravi Chakrabarti or Malcolm Goodwin’s clean shaven good cop routine, I can see that the casting people really chose their picks carefully.
My sincere props to the people who made this show possible. Including the M.C. himself, Rob Thomas.
To those of you calling me a fanboy, good job. I probably am.
My only request is that you give this show a watch, even for a few seconds. It’s not the drab, depressing Walking Dead or ridiculous World War Z, but rather a breath of fresh air into a genre that seems to have lost all sense of identity.
Instead of sorry sacks of shit getting stepped on everytime they enter a house, it’s a journey of self-discovery, and, if you wanna be pretentious for a little bit, the meaning of what it means to be human and alive.
When all’s said and done, I much prefer Liv to whoever the fuck is on Walking Dead. Walking Dead the Emmy equivalent of Oscar bait. It’s made to make you feel like you’re philosophizing about what humans can be reduced to. Or, alternatively, what you’d do in the same position.
I might be looking into the show too much, but I think that iZombie doesn’t ask those questions.
It asks you to drop some acid and have some fun. And at the same time, tells you that life isn’t the hand you’re dealt, but rather whether you plan to bet big and possibly lose it all or fold and play it safe.