Thursday, March 19, 2015

"iZombie" - A Review

Before 1968 zombies were generally portrayed in films as people under the influence of dark forces from some voodoo cult, walking around in the mode of the Thorazine Shuffle and not in search of brains. However, George Romero forever changed how zombies would be perceived and portrayed after his landmark film “Night of the Living Dead.” From that moment on zombies became bloodthirsty driven killers in search of human brains for daily consumption and could only be killed by decapitation or a bullet straight through the frontal lobe.

There have been many copies of Romero’s groundbreaking work, most not very well done except for a few like the “Resident Evil” franchise, and particularly the AMC Channel’s revolutionary “The Walking Dead” which made zombies a financial goldmine for anyone willing to do it right. Even mega stars like Brad Pitt have gotten on board with his “World War Z” feature film.

The CW Network, noted for successfully bringing vampires back in vogue with its two highly rated shows “The Vampire Diaries” and “The Originals” has now dipped its toe into the world of zombies with the new series “iZombie.”

The pilot episode, directed by Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars) centers around a young medical student named Liv Moore (Rose McIver) with aspirations of one day becoming a heart surgeon. She is engaged to a real hunk, comes from a prominent family and seems to have the world on a string until the evening she decides to attend an old friend’s boat party. Suddenly attendees start getting sick after partaking in a drug and are turned into brain eating zombies. Liv makes a beeline for the ramp but is accosted by one of the newly turned zombies played by David Anders (Once Upon A Time, The Vampire Diaries). Though not bitten she receives deep scratches to her arm and the zombie infection is passed on to her. Awakening in a body bag on shore her life is forever changed from her old Type-A personality to an “I don't care" fatalistic pasty lass with little to no ambition. She literally becomes a real slob which is so not her.

With her dreams of becoming a brilliant heart surgeon dashed she does what any intelligent zombie would do ... become a medical examiner with an endless supply of brain matter at her disposal with a touch of the connoisseur.

So far “iZombie” is sounding pretty much like typical zombie fare, but, this show has a unique twist. Liv begins having visions of the lives of the people whose brains she has devoured. When Detective Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin) appears in the morgue to get a report on his latest homicide victim her visions become instrumental in helping him begin piecing together the case.

Liv’s ME partner is Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti wonderfully portrayed by Rahul Kohli who is a Indian Alan Rickman. Ravi knows Liv is a zombie and while he begins studying her and trying to find a cure he also encourages her to use her unique gift to help with homicide cases.

I think this show is capable of catching on with audiences if the pilot episode is a prelude of what is to follow. Rose McIver is witty, smart, funny and a brilliant actress who seems to have been made for the part. The chemistry between her, Kohli and Goodwin works immediately which is a must for any show to have legs. If the writing and direction can keep up with the talent in front of the camera then The CW can rack up another hit show to add to their growing list which also include “Arrow,” “The Flash,” and the aforementioned two vampire successes.

I will keep watching this series to see if it can keep up the pace.

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