I’ve been watching this show through the season with some bemused interest, but didn’t quite feel the need to talk about it, especially given that there wasn’t much to say about it in general that I hadn’t already said about some other shows. Leaving the conundrum: Do I repeat myself in the hope that new readers will stop by and appreciate not having to dig through my archives? Will they find repetition while they dig through archives annoying? And will either of my readers get fed up with the repetition and go away? Ah such are the burdens of anonymity.
So yeah, I watched through this season and enjoyed its mix of a little bit Psych, a little bit CSI, and a little bit Supernatural. It was a fairly creative take on the old police procedural without them breaking suspension TOO much (which is more the fault of my day job than the show writers) while having a premise that wasn’t stretched too much after the first dozen cases or had run thin (like Numbers or Lie to Me could).
Spoiler Free: If you enjoy those type of police procedural shows and like to have a bit of the fantastic mixed in to keep things interesting, I’d say definitely rent this and check it out. Consistently above average for a 1st season and entertaining. Keep an eye out for it on redbox or Netflix.
Spoiler Review: When I first watched Once Upon a Time, it was kind of as a joke to see “oh how silly will this get.” I’m a big lover of MST3k so snarking on crappy art is entertainment for me. That show ended up slapping me in the face and smothering me to death with its quality (while… embracing and even enjoying its silliness – I still swear that OUaT is the show LOST should have been).
I went into iZombie with some similar expectations. But this time it very slyly, very quietly seduced me with its quality until the next thing I knew, I woke up and we had married, moved to the suburbs, and produced 2.3 children together.
A lot of this comes from the show underplaying things (and yes I am saying this about a show where a zombie opens a butcher shop catering business). I say “underplaying” because a lot of things moving the plot forward come from logical character decisions. It makes perfect sense for a drug dealer to spread zombism as a way of getting rich on a product he can monopolize (while Liz never considers that she could solve some problems by operating a competing business from her supply – perfectly in character). A zombie apocalypse as portrayed in most media couldn’t really happen (as pointed out by cracked.com in one of its old, quality articles – or you can just notice how rabies hasn’t exactly taken over the world) but in this show we have a believable set up. (First person to bring up WWZ is getting the fire-hose.) Here, zombism is a manageable condition that could spread quietly for a long time until a supply chain problem causes it to break out of bounds. It’s a lot of these little, touches that draw in my world-building fascination and hold my interest through the season (which is why I always say: take care of the small things in your story, and the big picture will come together).
Another thing I greatly appreciate is that the show’s use of metaphors isn’t too overt (part of why I just could never get into TrueBlood). Is zombism here a metaphor for AIDS? It could be. It doesn’t have to be. Through this show we the audience can discuss tough questions like where does a person’s right to privacy end and the safety of the wider community begin? The people that Blaine has infected, are they enslaved innocents or cowards who cannot do what they must? Heck if you want to get into metaphors, the character “major” is one that on paper, should be annoying. He’s practically a gary stu in his goodness, to the point that even other saints would go, “Dude, lighten up a little.” Is his “perfection” a representative of God/Christ while Blaine represents devil figures? Is their low level war over Seattle (and Liv in particular) a fitting echo of Bible’s central drama?
Sure, maybe it all could be, but the point is that it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes a brain-eating zombie is just a brain-eating zombie. But I like that the show has the room for those sorts of examinations, and it makes me look forward to the next season. I like even more that the show actually puts in work to make the characters in it actually likable. Too often many shows/movies seem to operate under the logic of “well these people are pretty and the focus of the camera, the audience simply must like them!” So good job on that too, show runners.
I don’t know how long they can sustain the zombie plot for a few more seasons. It’s my understanding that the comic book this show is based on took story arcs based on a more “Monster of the Week” examination of the extranormal world. While it sounds interesting, I think keeping the first season low key was a wise choice. They can get 1 maybe 2 more seasons from the zombism itself before the show would need to branch out. I’m looking forward to see where it goes from here… Until next season.