In the US: Tuesdays, 9/8c, The CW
Three episodes into Rob Thomas’s iZombie, a strange amalgam of Veronica Mars and The Walking Dead in which a zombie medical student gets to solve crimes every week by eating the victims’ brains, and it’s hard not to feel like it’s missing some vital spark.
It has all the ingredients of a hit series and appears to doing all the right things: it’s got a Veronica Mars-alike heroine (Rose McIver) who has to juggle her affliction, her loved ones and her need to do spunky voiceovers; it’s got some fun supporting characters, including David Anders as a zombie drug dealer and Rahul Kohli as McIver's very English, humorous confidant; and it has some good ideas, including its own zombie mythology and Anders’ evil schemes.
Yet as we discovered from the first episode, iZombie feels somewhat soulless, a simulacrum of a hit show rather than a real, living, breathing thing. Since then, it’s managed to add some seriousness to its previous glibness, with the third episode in particular giving us some emotional depth to McIver’s situation, as well as giving her friend and former Hellcat Aly Michalka something to do except guilt-trip her every episode. And Anders’ scheme is very evil.
But that’s not quite been enough to make it compelling viewing. The police procedural format really neuters the show, turning it into a hodge-podge of styles with a usually not very interesting murder that must be solved before the end of the episode. None of the bolder ideas of the original comic, particularly not were-terriers and chimp-granddads, have managed to make it through to the screen, giving us something that really rests on just a few quirks. And although McIver’s zombie status robs her of some emotions, there’s almost no chemistry between her and her former fiancé, no real sense of loss or grief.
So iZombie is fun enough viewing and it’s rarely dull, but if you were hoping for a new Veronica Mars, just with a bit more gore and brain-eating, I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed.
Barrometer rating: 2
Rob’s prediction: Not quite as impressive as it should be, so going to be lucky to make it to a second season