I was delighted to see iZombie has returned to television almost completely out of the blue, I thought we had another six months until it returned.
If you’ve not seen it before, the show is written by the same people who wrote Veronica Mars.
It’s about a clever and hard-working woman who has her life completely nailed – she is going to medical school, is engaged to be married and so forth, her life is
She attends a party where a fella named Blain (David Anders – Alias / Heroes / Once Upon a Time) scratches her, and all hell breaks loose.
The party looks like it descended into a massacre with a hundred people killed but then of course all the bodies wake up from the ‘dead’ and go about their lives not knowing they’ve changed to zombies.
As a zombie show it is great as it doesn’t go for the cliché mindless animals, in this world zombies are still walking, talking, functioning people.
They’re just much more numb and cold, they have white hair, no pulse and they can get enraged when they’re angry but generally speaking they’re normal people.
Normal people who have to eat brains to stay alive that is.
Being clever, the main character (Liv) decides to get a job at a local morgue where she helps the police to investigate murders.
She figures it’ll give her a chance to eat all the brains she wants whilst doing an honest job.
When she eats brains though she adopts the persona of the person she ate and gets ‘flash backs’ from their lives, so the main bulk of each episode is the murder mystery she is working on, what she remembers, and the (often funny) result of her taking on that persons persona – which is usually something bizarre.
Rose McIver does an amazing job being able to act like a completely different person each week, which is why the show has done so well.
She has pulled off being a sociopath, an artist, a sorority girl, a hardcore American football fan, a pregnant woman (causing fierce maternal instincts) and tons of other personas.
To top it off, the police officer she works with – Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin who I recognise from Breakout Kings but he has been in lots of other stuff) doesn’t know she’s a zombie so he has no idea why her personality changes so abruptly each week or why she knows so much and is so good at solving crime.
It is a cliché to have the buddy cops who don’t know the full story about each other, but this feels like a perfect set up for using that trope.
The ‘world’ that is being built each season is brilliant. Blain the zombie that turns her, quickly creates a ‘zombie underground’ scene for the converted to socialize within.
He sources brains, sells them at a high price to zombies who don’t know where else to get their sustenance and is doing pretty well for himself.
He has a lot of decent story revolving around his past, and his father, played by Robert Knepper (T-Bag from Prison Break! Also in so many other things its impossible to list) who seems to be coming into season 4 with a new story which is great to see as his last story had run its course and seemed over and done with.
As it has progressed further and further, the world has began to learn that ‘zombies’ exist and they’re people – the background story has become more about the divide between humans and zombies, the hunt for a potential cure, whether people want a cure because they feel ‘better off’ as a zombie.
The markets and services that have grown as a result of it all.
It’s a very clever show – based off of the comic, but not particularly following it.
Season 4 has gone into a major next level, with a privately funded military organisation ran by zombies (led by Jason Dohring from Veronica Mars) instilling a kind of martial law over Seattle which has become a ‘Zombie city’ with infrastructure being repurposed to suit their lives and needs.
There’s brain processing factories that smush them up, clean them and package them in tubes they can suck on so zombies can eat without the memories and personas, and generally maintain a normal life.
Special brains have become delicacies, you go to a restaurant and the waiter is serving you a ‘prominent architect’ as a special brain of the day.
For a show that is quite light-hearted it has some more delicate bits to it like child zombies and what should happen with them or what will happen to them.
I don’t think zombies age, which is an interesting point, I want to know if they stay kids forever and if the adults stay their age forever too. I’d like to find out what happens when everyone turns and there are no brains!
I doubt the show will be around long enough to show us all of that, but it is cool seeing how it affects the politics in America. I’m going to assume they age otherwise the actors will never be able to change appearance.
I’d consider this to be one of the better shows my wife and I watch but its hard to say it is top drawer – it’s no HBO epic – but they put a lot of effort into it and I definitely think it’s the best zombie show on TV in the past few years considering how awful The Walking Dead has been.
Let me know your thoughts, you can watch it on Netflix.