Two episodes were provided prior to broadcast.
One thing that’s become apparent to me over the past two years is how criminally underrated iZombie is. Sure, the landscape for comic book based TV shows is larger than ever and, while most of them are very impressive, they tend to lean toward the superhero genre. Perhaps that’s why Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright’s loose adaptation has been somewhat overshadowed.
I use the term “loose” because they took a markedly different Vertigo comic and turned it into what’s essentially a police procedural – another genre that isn’t overexposed by any stretch of the imagination – and infused it with elements of horror, drama, comedy and romance. Okay, the procedural aspect is but one cog in the machine, but if we’re to categorize, that’s where it falls, more or less.
But unlike your run of the mill procedural, one area among many where iZombie excels is crafting compelling characters. From the boy next door turned (non-lethal) gun for hire Major (Robert Buckley) to suave scientist Ravi (Rahul Kohli) to a by-the-book detective that would make Jim Gordon proud in Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin), there’s not a wooden performance among them. Furthermore, it’s nice to see Peyton (Aly Michalka) finally become a member of the principal cast.
Those fine talents aside, I’ll be bold in saying that the lynchpin of this series is that of Rose McIver, without whom the whole thing would fall apart. Now, that’s not meant to be a knock against anyone I just mentioned. No. I’m saying that her being able to essentially play a new character each week puts her on the level of Burn Notice’s Jeffrey Donovan, who did something very similar when that show was still on the air. I think that’s why Liv Moore has us all consistently coming back for, um, more.
As we begin to delve into the newly commenced season, I can’t proceed any further without bringing up something that’s mentioned in any recent conversation about iZombie: The unfortunate nearly year-long hiatus we’ve endured since season 2’s finale. In fact, that’s the only real criticism that I can levy against the current product, but that’s more so the network’s fault, not the producers’. The “2.8 Minutes Later” header at the top of the premiere did feel a bit odd when we examine it in that context, to say the least.
Luckily, a brief recap and narration delivered by Liv help everyone catch up by merely going over the basics. In other words, the opening minutes tell you most of what you need to know without having to binge watch season 2 all over again.
Although the meat and potatoes are still there, no decent show that hopes to have longevity is without a few changes to status quo, and as last year’s finale hinted at, the zombie-run enterprise that is Fillmore Graves is what you need to keep your eye on going forward. While they may not be the sinister force that was Max Rager (as far as we can tell), it’s obvious that they’re more comparable to Magneto and his sympathizers than with Charles Xavier and the X-Men, if we’re to draw a parallel between how zombies and mutants may see their relations with humans.
Despite the show being lighthearted on most occasions, the new dynamic is approached with an incredibly straight face and allows me to suspend my disbelief in such a way that I could see this being how a situation such as this would pan out in the real world. As such, I fully expect shit to get real between now and June.
Still, that doesn’t mean all the puns and jokes we’ve come to love aren’t there. In fact, once the premiere is out of the way, the levity makes itself known. Believe me, you won’t want to miss Liv on yoga teacher brains. Sure, I wasn’t amused as much as I was by horny Liv or stalker Liv, but it still brought a smile to my face at the end of a long day.
Most definitely, a pat on the back is owed to all those in the writers room, as both the ongoing narrative and criminal investigations take some surprising twists and turns. Avoiding major spoilers – as well as Major spoilers, for that matter – I can’t wait to see where the exciting new developments take us. Whereas season 2 felt like the logical continuation of season 1, this feels like a new ballgame and I couldn’t be more geeked.
For my money, iZombie remains one of the most sharply written, well-acted, beautifully shot and emotionally resonant shows on all of television. I’m sure the best this season has to offer lies ahead of us, but in the here and now, it’s hard to fathom a better first impression.
Having gotten off to one of the strongest starts this critic's seen in recent memory, iZombie remains one of TV's greatest multifaceted shows.