Honestly, before I start, I just want to say props to the CW. They know how to make comicbook television. With two DC shows currently going strong, one DC imprint show going strong and another DC show promising to do the same, the CW is killing it with these shows. Ok. Now I’m ready. Let's begin.
With only 3 episodes left in the first season (it’s already been renewed for a second season thanks to growing ratings), I think it’s time that more people started to watch ‘iZombie’.
‘iZombie’ didn’t seem like much before it started. There were hardly any trailers and hardly any promotion. It just seemed like a gimmicky detective crime show. To those that aren’t familiar with the show, which is understandable, given its relative obscurity, the story has a pretty basic premise. Based on the Vertigo (an imprint of DC) comicbook of the same name, the main character in the show becomes a zombie within the first few minutes of the story and she discovers that the brains she eats give her memories of the deceased person and she can use these memories to solve their murders. She gets access to these at the morgue she works at, working alongside her boss (who is in the know about her zombie abilities) and a detective.
The main character Liv Moore, is as pale as a zombie and this look paired with the subject matter gave me the first impression that I was getting into a very bleak show, but it is really a very optimistic, funny and light-hearted show (thrown playfully into all the darkness and crime). Each time Liv eats a brain, she gets their personality and thus a different way to view the world. Liv Moore is an empty palette waiting to be painted with the personalities of others, and depending on which paints she uses, the painting that is her view on life elicits a different emotional response. It is beautifully written and acted and the storyline comes across as genuine and not something gimmicky. The show balances its tone very well and doesn’t go too far off the deep end in terms of darkness, while not becoming too much of a light-hearted comedy.
It revels in its comicbook origins, opening scenes with a brief flash of the scene drawn in comicbook form, before fading in to the scene. The show is well composed and the main theme song sticks out as a very good choice of song, suiting the tone with its light rock style. The action is great and the gore is well-balanced so as not to be off-putting to those who aren’t partial to horror, while also appeasing those who like gore/horror.
The jokes are very well written and the characters are amazing to watch. Their lines are usually great and they are very well-acted. Rose McIver plays a great lead role and she has enough of a personality to warrant a CWDC-Vertigo crossover. Malcolm Goodwin’s role of Detective Clive Babineaux slowly gets better over the course of the series, emerging from good character to great character. The same can be said of Robert Buckley’s character Major Lilywhite (Liv’s fiancé before she became a zombie). He doesn’t start out as much, but slowly emerges as an integral part of the cast, becoming a fan favourite. Of course, his name being Major might be a problem in the future if some news site announces that there will be a “major death” in the finale and then everyone loses their minds thinking that the death of Major has been spoiled or something. There's also the charming Bradley James character Lowell Tracy, who is a lot of fun when he's on screen. David Anders as Blaine plays such a charming villain that he’s impossible to hate. For some reason, comicbook tv seems to ALWAYS get villains right.
But my personal favourite is Rahul Kohli’s role of Dr Ravi Chakrabarti, who is one of the greatest comedic characters I have seen in a while. He plays the perfect role of Liv’s boss and all his lines are so well written and acted that if for some reason the rest of the characters don’t appeal to you, there’s a very good chance that you will eventually fall for Ravi. While the other characters tend to get relegated to the backburner, it’s hardly a problem as the main cast is so strong.
Why it works
I expected greatness from ‘The Flash’ but I only watched ‘iZombie’ out of a mild curiousity. It’s probably the most surprising show I’ve ever seen, balancing (as I've said before) comedy, action, drama, horror, mystery and crime perfectly.
Of course, a story like this could only work on tv currently, with the current romanticisation of horror monsters that is taking place after books and films such as ‘Twilight’, ‘Warm Bodies’ and ‘Dark Shadows’, which paints these monsters as comedic or romantic characters. Thus, this fascination with monsters being humanised brings brilliant shows like this gem out of the woodwork and part of the reason that it is so successful is the current climate that the world is in and people’s opinions towards monsters. Shows like ‘The Walking Dead’ (not knocking it) that portray zombies as dangerous monsters and take themselves too seriously, slowly fall in ratings, giving way for great shows like ‘iZombie’.
The comedy, action, characters and drama are great and I definitely recommend it. It's a very show and I can’t wait to see what the rest of it has to offer, so join me in discovering just how good the CW can get.