iZombie, Season 1: A Review.

Show: iZombie
Season: 1.
Released: 2014.
Running Time: 46 min.

iZombie is an American horror/drama/comedy paranormal crime show based loosely on the DC/Vertigo Imprint comic book series of the same name by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred about a young woman Olivia “Liv” Moore a medical resident who gets turned into a zombie at a boat party. She drops her residency and her fiancé and takes a job as a Medical Examiner, eating the brains of those who end up in the morgue and uses the memories of the dead to solve crimes.

The show doesn’t suffer in the visuals department. The camera work is solid standard fare for a show of this style, with nothing extraneous or lacking. The special effects support just the right amount of gore here and there, though the brains that she ate looked very much like shrimp or imitation crab meat half the time (when it wasn’t slushy style), particularly in the first half of the season, though it did improve in special effects overall in the later quarter of the season especially.

Liv Moore (Rose McIver) is not a bad character for a lead, though there was nothing that made her stand apart from other heroines in this type of role. She had just the right amount of humour and drama to suite the story, but it was more the situations she was in that made her interesting, not so much the character. Rose McIver played the main character decently well, though nothing really stands out particularly. It was a very safe performance. She was able to inject just the right amount of what was needed for each episode.

Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli) was one of the better supporting characters, with the some of the better humour, one-liners, and personality. As the main character’s boss, yet clearly also the side-kick archetype was a good choice, giving him some authority and an identity outside of the shadow of the main character. His dynamic with Liv and other characters he interacts with is interesting to watch as well. Rahul Kohli played the character well, with great almost tongue in cheek quippish tone, but at the same time able to portray just the right amount of seriousness that’s needed for times when his character has to pull back the main character down to Earth, though in the end his character seemed rather underutilized in the show.

Blaine DeBeers (Davis Anders) as an overarching antagonist was a delight to watch every time he was shown with a definite irreverence for the people and concerns of those around him. You can tell that Davis Anders seemed to be enjoying his role, though he also seemed a bit underutilized in the show.

The rest of the characters were overall too much their character archetypes, or not overly memorable enough to make them mention worthy. With perhaps the occasional recurring bad guy such as the CEO of Max Raver (fictional energy drink company and plot device) Vaughn Du Clark (Steven Weber) who comes across as a very smug laid back apathetic businessman with a bit of promise hinted at here and there, so we will see if he is fleshed out more in season 2.

The story meanwhile has its weak and strong points.

The premise is interesting, working functional zombism into a light-hearted crime show was not a bad idea, and there is potential in seeing where taking on various memories, personalities, and talents of various deceased victim in one person/zombie can take you is engaging. The show does this, but the way they do it is…well, a little to clean, a little too safe. They don’t push the envelope of the potential of where this can take them. It improved in the later quarter as it began tightening up some of its free-floating overarching plot points, and ended well on a good climax (there was actually some decent action in the last episode) but that doesn’t save it from feeling very much like a show targeted at very young teenagers or even mature tweens, the lack of boundary pushing makes it harder to connect with adults.

The show in the end is a fun little watch with a few engaging moments and dry humour here and there, some good characterizations and acting. Not a bad little ganter for a lazy evening on the couch with a bowl of popcorn.

*iZombie trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UndyIFo_jZ4

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