Thursday, March 19, 2015

iZombie - Pilot

What if Veronica Mars was a zombie? Based on the comic series of the same name created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred The CW's latest show bares more than passing resemblance to a certain young plucky high school detective from Neptune, California. Adapted for television by Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas along with Diane Ruggiero the new series centers around a spunky outsider whose personal pain and dark past push her into a life of solving crime. Oh, except this time she's a zombie.

It's probably unfair to compare Olivia "Liv" Moore (Rose McIver) to Veronica. A promising medical resident whose life was turned upside down when she was a victim of a zombie attack on a party boat, Liv now works for the coroners office which supplies her fresh brains a chance to use the horror of her past for something good (while offering the same kind of smart-ass self-deprecating narration fans of Veronica Mars came to love). Although she doesn't have a talent for detective work she does have an advantage as Liv receives scattered memories and temporary personality traits (ranging from proficency with foreign languages to bad habits such as kleptomania) from those whose brains she's recently snacked.

In the opening episode Liv's boss (Rahul Kohli) discovers her secret, her family (Molly Hagan, Aly Michalka) worries about what they see as a life sliding into apathy, and for the first time Liv is pushed to using her knowledge of a murder victim to help a detective (Malcolm Goodwin) solve the murder of a high-end prostitute (under the guise of having psychic visions of the victim's life and death). The longer Liv stays on the case the more emotionally invested she becomes in something for the first time since becoming and undead.

Horror is far from my favorite genre, but I was more than willing to give Rob Thomas' new series a shot and I had enjoyed McIver's recent recurring role on Once Upon a Time. McIver proves to be well-suited to the role of zombie detective struggling with everyday life, and the show does well to mix a nice amount of humor to mitigate the more distressing aspects of Liv's current condition. The zombie twist certainly gives the murder-of-the-week procedural a different flavor and the cover of psychic visions offers a smart way to hide knowledge of victims Liv couldn't otherwise have (unless she was, of course, snacking on their fresh brains). No, she's not a marshmallow, but she does have a squishy center underneath and I'm planning to stick around to see just where Liv's new career of zombie detective leads.

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