There are zombies everywhere. Not in your backyard, of course (hopefully, or there’s a real problem on our hands), but in the media, and prominently so. They saturate movies, books, and a variety of TV shows, not to mention their well-established and almost historic position in a whole host of video games. At this point, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to avoid them, should you be less than inclined to venture into that particular sub-genre.
Into the fray comes iZombie, an adaptation of a comic book series by the same name, and a fresh take on the whole idea. iZombie is light-hearted and entertaining, full of brisk humour and undeniably clever, and yet it also delivers well on deeper, emotional scenes, exploring, for example, what meaning life can have when the individual in question is not actually alive or dead, but an awkward combination of the two. The difference seems to be that iZombie is not really about zombies, as such, and offers no tips for dealing with them – three’s a horde – but is, rather, about a girl that just happens to be a zombie, and the life she is forced to live since becoming one.
Episode four, humourously entitled ‘Liv and Let Clive,’ is, in my oh-so-humble opinion (which I do, of course, insist on shoving down your throats), the best installment thus far. The corpse of the week is an ex-gang member that Clive, our friendly neighbourhood detective, knew, and the reported circumstances of their acquaintance, alongside some odd brains-induced visions, are vague enough for Liv to be suspicious.
I found the plot particularly engaging this week. The episode followed the structure established in the previous three, producing another murder to be solved, but deviated in that the team – Liv, Babineaux, and Ravi – did not exhibit their usual cohesion. Instead, the murder provided a catalyst for divisions and tensions to appear between the three main characters, and which took until the end of the episode to be fully resolved. Ultimately, however, those moments served to strengthen growing friendships that had, before the episode, remained mostly untested.
The plot also provided a kind of springboard for a dip into Babineaux’s past career with the force, a welcomed insight into his character, and allowed Ravi to take a more central hands-on role, which was equally nice to see.
In this episode, we also see more of Major and Blaine, respectively, the latter of which is involved in some increasingly shady brain-dealings. If we are to discover at least one cliché in iZombie it would be the character of Blaine, drug dealer turned brain dealer, and yet a particularly enjoyable performance from David Anders ensures that his side-plot is never staid. If it is a cliché, it’s one used to good effect.
Ravi is one of my favourite characters. He’s a supportive friend to Liv, zombie condition or not, he often provides an entertaining perspective on events alongside an indisputable voice of reason, and he’s not by any stretch of the imagination the silly sidekick, but, instead, a clever, well-rounded character in his own right. In this episode, he plays a more important role than he has thus far, and proves to be a welcome addition to those extra scenes.
For all the reasons stated above, and a few others, not least among which is the fact that, if anything, this is a show featuring a particularly gifted cast of actors, all of which do an exceedingly good job, this is a show worth watching. It’s light-hearted enough to alleviate the often-stifling drama of other shows of a similar type, and serious enough to stand its ground against heavily armoured opposition. If the rest of the season is anything like the beginning few episodes, it’ll certainly be worth watching.