Mini-review: iZombie 1×1 (US: The CW)

Veronica Mars eats brains

iZombie

In the US: Tuesdays, 9/8c, The CW

Are you the kind of person who loves Veronica Mars? Are you the kind of person who loves brain-eating zombies? Do you think you might be the kind of person who would like it if Veronica Mars had been a brain-eating zombie?

Then listen up, because I have a show for you.

iZombie is loosely adapted by Veronica Mars-creator Rob Thomas from his comic of the same name and sees driven medical resident Rose McIver (Power Rangers, Xena, Masters of Sex, Once Upon A Time) take a rare moment to enjoy her life and go to a party. Unfortunately, at said party, David Anders (Alias, Heroes) is passing out his new experimental recreational drug, which has the rather bad side effect of turning everyone into zombies. Guess who gets caught in the flesh-eating crossfire?

Realising she has the power to infect others and that she needs to eat brains regularly if she’s going to avoid a massive IQ drop, McIver abandons her engagement to Robert Buckley* (One Tree Hill, 666 Park Avenue, Lipstick Jungle) and goes to work as a medical examiner. There, by pretending to be a psychic, her ability to acquire memories from the brains she eats starts to come in handy for homicide detective Malcolm Goodwin (Breakout Kings) in solving murders. The only person she can trust not to kill her messily for being the undead monster she is? Fellow medical examiner Rahul Kohli, who might even be able to come up with a cure for her ‘condition’.

As with Veronica Mars before it, iZombie is a whip-smart show about a whip-smart woman who delivers a whip-smart voiceover while she solves crimes, all while juggling repressed passions and emotions, and trying to deal with adult issues. It’s a lot of fun, very knowing and oozes obvious subtexts from every pore, with McIver’s zombie-induced lethargy and lack of joie de vivre standing in as a viewer-determined proxy for anything from depression through to the rejection of societal and familial expectations.

Which should be exactly the kind of thing I would love. Yet for some reason, iZombie left me a whole lot colder than it should have done. Maybe it’s the glibness of it all or the lack of any real darkness; maybe it’s McIver’s annoying family; maybe it’s the fact the show has latched onto the police procedural format as the best way of telling stories; maybe it’s the fact that McIver gets shot and has no apparent capacity to heal – or blood flow – yet doesn’t seem too worried about having a bullet hole in her.

Whatever it is, while the show does have plenty of merits, from the central cast through to the zombie premise itself, it’s not quite gelling for me yet. But then I found the same was true of Veronica Mars, which I appreciate is practically a diagnostic criterion of some form of mental unbalance. So give it a try at least, since it’s entirely possible this might be the best TV show ever. I don’t think it is, but maybe someone’s eating my brain already.

* No, not me




  • aylwardreed

    Oh Rob, you're too cynical sometimes 🙂
    I loved this show. Sure it had a few holes(like the bullet one you mentioned) and her family certainly need some more character depth but I remember several good characters in Veronica Mars that were flat to start with but who expanded as the show went on which I imagine will happen here too.
    Like you say it is VERY similar in tone to Veronica Mars(which I have no problem with – seriously, you can tick off a list of things. 1. Pinning after ex. 2. Letting the big event that sets up the show retract her socially. 3. That big event was the reason they broke up. 4. On going mystery/potential villain. etc) and it's well cast(really like the Brit ME sidekick).
    I'm glad to have this show to watch as it's good to have a show that's much lighter and fun overall to watch alongside top notch seriousness like Hannibal and Justified or, even worse, things that should be much more fun but try to be all dark and serious and fail(I'm looking at you Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D!).

    Definitely sticking with this one…

  • JustStark

    I never saw Veronica Mars but from everything I heard it sounded awful; and I'm afraid this just sounds like the most disgustingly twee concept ever.

    However. That would definitely be judging a book by its cover, so I shall give it a look if it comes on free UK TV. Can't say fairer than that.

  • Stuart Nathan

    I hope they keep the were-terrier and the chimp-Grandad from the comic.

  • I don't think anything that involves brain-eating can really be called twee, but it's definitely a bit arch

  • It seems to have been modified quite a bit from the comic so far, but it's early days

  • I like a fun show – I just have to enjoy it and this wasn't quite as enjoyable as I'd have liked.