"IZombie" is one of the newer shows to launch on the CW this past spring and takes the idea of a zombie in a whole new direction. The show stars Rose McIver, David Anders, Robert Buckley, Malcolm Goodwin, and Rahul Kohli in its lead roles. But is this show deserving of its season two renewal? Let's find out.
Rose McIver is phenomenal in the lead role as Liv Moore, a young woman who has everything going for her before she is turned into a zombie one night at a boat party. As a zombie, she must eat brains and, thus, obtains both the personality traits and last memories of the individual in question. This is where McIver excels. Each week, she basically has to portray a different type of character and does this flawlessly and to fantastic effect. One week she'll be peppy as a cheerleader and the next she'll be a stone-cold assassin, while maintaining the necessity of who she is. It's an interesting twist of the zombie idea as this is the first show I've seen in which zombies actually live among the living and are not demonized.
Liv also goes through many challenges as a zombie. At the show's start, it seemed as if life wasn't too bad for the undead: No huge need for food outside of brains, can go into zombie mode at a whim, and get that bleached hair that you'd always wanted. However, as the show progresses, it is made more evident that being a zombie isn't all fun and games as there are difficulties and sacrifices seen in the character of Liv which would make one second guess the whole becoming a zombie thing. Again, McIver shows this progression in Liv's character nicely and I'll be curious to see this progression continue in season two.
David Anders is the other stand out of this show as the zombie villain Blaine. He's the reason that Liv became a zombie in the first place and appears throughout the season to both toy with her while also giving a suitable threat. And yet, there does seem to be some sense of kinship Blaine feels with Liv. Compared with all of the other zombies he deals with, Liv is easily the most on his level and someone Blaine seems to see as something of an equal. His presence throughout the show fueled the central mystery of the first season as each scene added a little bit more to his grand scheme. That said, by the season finale (*spoilers*), there isn't a huge payoff with his character. He doesn't have some master plan to turn the whole of Seattle into zombies which Liv then needs to stop. But perhaps that's the charm of Blaine, uncomplicated and never thinking too terribly hard while convincing those around him to do his dirty work.
One of the main threats Blaine deals with is in the character of Major, portrayed by Robert Buckley. As Liv's ex-fiance, his presence in the show began awkwardly and I was left wondering how long he would last before the show became some weird love parody. But never fear: Major is the character who has the biggest arc this season, as he undergoes a transformation which makes the Major that we see in the pilot and the Major in the finale seem like two completely different individuals. It works well and the build up is well done. With the events of the finale, I'll be curious to see his role in season two.
Malcolm Goodwin and Rahul Kohli play Liv's detective ally Clive and morgue boss Ravi, respectively. Her relationship with both of these men doesn't dive into anything romantic, which was a relief as I was definitely expecting some after the first few episodes. Instead, her relationship with both men is on a friend basis, as she works with both of them to solve murders. Goodwin and Kohli both work well with Liv, giving new dynamics for McIver to play with as her new personalities appear.
As I mentioned earlier, iZombie is definitely unique as far as zombie media goes, as most movies, shows, or video games about the undead portray them as the enemy universally. So it's nice to see a show which grounds some of these zombie characters in some humanity and uses that to make some impressive character arcs.
The effects on the show worked nicely as well. The pale skin and blonde hair worked well to allow zombies to stick out from the crowd. The show also chose when and where to break out the blood and guts effects, and, since they weren't used in every episode, made them all the more effective as a result. Lastly, zombie mode always looked badass whether it was Liv or someone else in it. The red eyes and the demonic look which comes over the zombies' faces looks freaky and I love it.
Some issues I had with this season before I wrap up:
With Liv's ever-changing personality, you'd think that Clive, who spends so much time with her, would start to question it at some point and be curious about why it always seems to happen when they have a dead body (hmmm...). It wasn't a huge thing, but it was noticeable and something I'd like to see cleared up in season two, whether that means Clive finding out about zombies or something else entirely.
Also with Liv's personalities, they sometimes wandered into the realms of annoying. Most weeks they worked great and offered new twists to the story, but one week towards the end McIver seemed to over-do it with a personality and it bugged me. Again, not a huge issues compared to the rest of the season, but still something which stood out to me.
Without diving into season finale details, I will say that the finale is quite good. The main plotlines are either wrapped up or pushed forward into limbo for season two, and while it doesn't necessarily set up anything major for its return this fall, it did end on an interesting note regarding Liv's choices and those of others. For more details as to my thoughts on the finale, be sure to check out my video review of "IZombie's" first season.
For a freshman season, "IZombie" was a grand success. Coming after "The Flash," one could have argued that the speedster was the main reason for the high ratings, but this was proved to be false as the show continued to produce the ratings when "The Flash" was off the air. It's definitely a show worth checking out whether or not you're a fan of zombies for Rose McIver's performance if nothing else.
But those are my thoughts on "IZombie's" first season. Leave yours in the comments below!
Check out my video review of "IZombie's" first season here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ehElAnG6DA