iZombie Premiere Review
by Adrea Scheidler
ALLLLright, I watched the iZombie premiere and let me just tell you right now: I think we have a seriously great show here.
iZombie is a juxtaposition of two popular premises: cop show and zombie apocalypse… with a sprinkling of what I hope is a winning addition of good female lead.
Basically, they are trying to get real with the zombie craze. Well, not gritty True Detective real – but good tv show real life zombie story. They are using the least supernatural means possible to get the story to work and still have some cool zombie attributes (re: its a drug that alters people into a zombie like creature and yet the brains our zombie eats transfers memories and other things to the zombie that eats them).
There are a hundred ways that this could fail – especially in the pilot where you have to give the audience as much and as little as possible in a scant 41 minutes. But at every turn, this pilot delivers. We have a short but completely adequate glimpse into our main character’s (Olivia Moore played by Rose McIver) pre-zombie life. To be honest, that two minute glimpse into Liv’s life pre-zombification was the least attractive part of the show or character to me. Then, almost immediately, we jump straight into 5 months after Liv’s “death” to learn how her sudden change in health status has affected her.
I have to point out that even the opening credits are commendably perfect because it is set up like Cliff Notes. This is important because it gives the show freedom to go at the pace it wants to go without worrying too much that the audience will be so lost that they will give up. Nope, I understand at least six different leads on stories (relationships, decisions, consequences) strictly from the few seconds of opening credits. There is exposition, but not the sort that makes you want to smother yourself with a pillow because it’s been forced in there like science facts into a kids cartoon. If you want to know more than what the exposition tells you, you have to watch the show. For example – her narration doesn’t explain exactly where the zombies that turned her came from until about a quarter into the show (and even then, we THINK we understand; in truth we may just have been given the easiest cover to a question she doesn’t know how to ask yet).
The show has set up the right amount of support for Liv, just the right amount of chivalry from her (balanced with her own original set of priorities and the situation she is now in). She didn’t have a burning desire for justice before she became a zombie, and she doesn’t necessarily have that desire after… until the circumstances of her new life change her priorities. There is an actual progression from depressed, lost, and apathetic girl who has lost everything and has isolated herself in order to protect those she loves to an (almost) hopeful, empowered, accepting zombie psychic crime fighter.
I found myself caring very much about her relationships set up just in this first episode – all of which can develop for years without even trying very hard. There is not one conversation that could solve anything therefore she doesn’t look like an idiot for losing the relationships she valued before that fateful night where she was changed. All the supporting characters and their varying reactions to the new Liv are distinct and believable: roommate, ex-fiance, mother, brother, boss, and partner – I like them all and I really can’t wait to see where it all goes.
iZombie is a show that I can like as the romantic that I am that doesn’t insult me by putting that romance as above all else. Yes, I love love. But Liv had so much more than just a promising relationship taken from her. There are deeper questions than “who am I going to date” when one becomes a member of the undead. This is that type of show I’m always looking for – that takes itself seriously – but not TOO seriously. Life is silly as often as it is serious, as is this show.
Note for you zombie fans out there: This is not The Walking Dead, World War Z type zombie stuff – not yet anyway. In iZombie we have a Blade type situation where we are on the brink of the Zombie Apocalypse, not in the middle of it. And we have a “good” zombie fighting both for her rights to live a productive life and also to keep our world from falling into the zombie abyss.