iZombie Postmortem: Episode 1

After months, and months of anticipation, waiting patiently for the mid-season launch, iZombie’s television life has finally begun! The prospect of this show being the spiritual successor to Veronica Mars, and, although different, hopefully reverential to the comic, was very exciting to me. I don’t usually discuss T.V. on this site, but since iZombie is based on the great Chris Roberson & Mike Allred Vertigo series, and being developed by Rob Thomas, it was the perfect excuse to start!

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So, what did I think of the first episode? I won’t lie, there was some good, some great, and some ehh.. not so great.

That works for this first “postmortem”(since I’m making this up as I go…). We’ll break it down in three parts:

The Great! – The star of the show, Rose McIver, is perfect as the main character, Olivia “Liv” Moore. Her wide-eyed face, and slightly snarky demeanor fits her character perfectly. At the start of the episode, we see a super confident, take charge medical resident Liv with everything going for her in life, including a seemingly perfect relationship. Then, after a traumatic event at a party, we’re introduced to the “I-zombie” version of Liv, and we see a much less confident, less secure version of herself, perfectly portrayed by McIver. She’s traded her hospital residency for a spot at the morgue, which happens to be the perfect place to sneak a few bites of brain. Rob Thomas has said that he had to go through 100 actresses to find the right one, and I think his patience paid off with casting Rose McIver. She gives Liv a real magnetism, and you can see a whip-smart quality in her performance that’s reminiscent of Kristen Bell’s Veronica Mars.

I was super happy to see Mike Allred contributing the show’s introduction animation. The hand drawn comic panel transitions for each scene was a nice touch, too!

The explanation of Liv’s “condition” was well handled. We got to see her new diet in action; the way she mixes in the brains with other food(noodles). She get’s sort of “vampire-like”, and super-strong when she’s around a fresh “victim”.  I do wonder why she can’t have sex, although I have a few thoughts on why that would be..hopefully they will explain that better in future episodes.

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The Good – The 2 other characters that Liv meets through her new job are Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti, played by Rahul Kohli, and Detective Clive Babineaux, played by Malcolm Goodwin. Dr. Ravi quickly become Liv’s closest ally, and is the first one to be aware of her “rare condition”. They have good chemistry with each other, but it’s too early to tell if their relationship will progress beyond the lab. If Dr. Rabi has any interest in girls at all, I can’t imagine him resisting making a move on such a cute undead subject like Liv. Detective Babineaux seems like a tougher nut for Liv to crack, although it didn’t seem to take much for him to believe in her “psychic powers”, and this leads to some entertaining banter between the two characters.

I also liked the drama between Liv, and her friends & family. They think she’s gone all EMO on them, because, of course, she doesn’t want to tell them about the whole brain chopsticks thing. The more character development on the personal life side, the better. I don’t want this show to just be a supernatural CW version of CSI !

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The not so good… – The first episode just felt a little rushed in some ways. I know that they had a lot of exposition to cram into around 40 minutes of show, so I expect future episodes not to have the same problem. The main shortcoming in this epsiode was the boat-party scene where Liv becomes a zombie. You see her get bit/scratched(not sure..) by an “infected” party-goer played by actor David Anders(who was great on Vampire Diaries). They just seemed to gloss over that important scene to get to the crime-solving procedural part setup. Perhaps, more details of that event will be revealed as the season progresses.

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Overall: A-  I have no idea if I’ll continue to grade each episode, or not, because that could be annoying, and I’m going to watch iZombie as long as it’s on the air, anyways. It’s already one of my favorite T.V. shows, and considering my already over served plate, that’s saying something! Also, I’m pleased to see on imdb that the original creators, Mike Allred & Chris Roberson, both have writing credits on the series. That’s very encouraging to see, and I hope that more elements from the original comic make their way into the show.

iZombie airs Tuesdays at 9pm on The CW.