iZombie Versus Veronica Mars: Has Rob Thomas Struck Cult Fandom Again?


The Pilot


Off the bat, Veronica Mars fans are going to have a vague sense of déjà vu here. First on the list – voiceovers. Rob Thomas loves using this pseudo-breaking the fourth wall technique with his main characters narrating at various points the whole way through. It takes a little bit of the guess work out of things, and I’m fine with that. Just because these characters are solving mysteries, doesn’t mean they always need to be a constant mystery – especially when you consider the targeted audience. Not everyone wants to watch a show where at the end they have to scratch their heads and ask themselves if they missed something. Personally, I like a nice mix between knowing the characters and being surprised by the story, not usually the reverse.

Both pilots start and end with slightly longer versions of what the writers cut in between scenes with dialogue. In iZombie, Liv (McIver) starts the pilot off by explaining her pre-zombie versus post-zombie existence, and ends with a Veronica-worthy motivational closing statement, setting the tone for season one. Unlike Veronica Mars, iZombie doesn’t drag out the backstory. For anyone who has watched VM knows, the backstory becomes the overarching focus of the show for some time – who killed Lily Kane? Kane’s murder being the catalyst for most everything that went wrong and lander her in the post-perfect world that the show is based around.

In iZombie, however, the details on how she becomes a zombie don’t really relate as much to the overall plot, even though it is a topic of discussion at points – most often with her new boss who is intrigued by the the possibilities of this discovery. It’s much more of a ‘what happens now?’ approach that the writers are taking.

Veronica (Bell) may take her time establishing her account of before and after, but you’ll quickly pick up on a similar gist between the two stories – life changing event, new sense of purpose, relationship devastation, personal loss, etc. – most of which are at least briefly touched on in the voiceovers. On the whole, voiceovers very clearly play a substantial role in both pilots (and series), so be prepared to explore the same inner-monologue style of narrating that fans of VM initially fell in love with.

Another lovely feature that both iZombie and Veronica Mars share is the witty style of writing. Rob Thomas once again draws viewers in with snappy dialogue, perfectly delivered one-liners, and a generally enticing tone. They even share a line in common – err, virtually share a line. The iZombie version: “Life’s short, and than you die.” The Veronica Mars version: “Life’s a bitch, until you die.” The writing is arguably the most appealing thing about both shows, as the same story with lesser writing would most likely rank as lacking in entertainment value.

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