For once I’m okay with TV regressing a decade.
“I assume the glow will fade quite soon,” I messaged our Benevolent Leader at a quarter past the hour last night, “but oh my is iZombie delightful.”
I can’t throw myself into any show – even those that tickle all my fancies1 – after the last couple of years of TV. Too much has gone off the rails, too much intrigued and then fell flat or meandered all over, and way too many have ditched the interesting tonal aspects of the pilot in episode two. So when I tuned in to iZombie (Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW), I found myself fighting to keep from diving in with both feet. And a dismembered hand.
I’m optimistic, though – even beyond the first 25% – for a few reasons: First, it has a real solid pedigree. It’s based on a comic you probably don’t read and helmed by the creator of Veronica Mars, which you probably didn’t watch.2 Then there’s the cast, all of whom nail what they’re asked to do. It’s scary, really, how no one overextends and everyone makes the dialogue so simple, smooth, and on point. Props have to be given to the series’ star, Rose McIver – she’s uber-watchable, especially as she navigates restarting her life.
But most of all its how neatly it fits together into the light but well written fare it should be. Comic panel intros and extros don’t overstay their welcome. It balances zippy, wry one liners with down-to-earth feels. And, a great sign from the writing room: the pilot did a stellar job of packing premise and procedure (for this is in large part a cop show for now) into the hour. We get all the setup we need,3 a complete, decent enough mystery, and compelling teases of the mytharc – including David Anders as the likely big bad.
Beyond my knee-jerk fear of disappointment, there are a couple of reasons this could all unravel. It’s a touch slow on pacing in the second half and meanders towards Dawson’s Creek sentimentality now and again. Mostly I’m not positive where a show that skews younger but lacks clear sex appeal slots into the The CW’s current lineup. But again – optimism! In a recent interview, the creator Rob Thomas noted the first season actually shifts away from a procedural as it progresses, which is good.4
- Ladies… ↵
- I mean, didja see the ratings? Amiright people? <adjusts tie> ↵
- The real nutshell, if the commercials have passed you by – Brilliant Olivia ditches her dreams of doctor and husband when a small zombie outbreak leaves her a wee bit undead. She snags a job at the morgue where her brain snacks turn out to give her the memories of the consumed. Her boss, delighted in the medical mystery that is she, encourages her to use her new ability to help cops solve murders under the guise of being a psychic. ↵
- The procedural is generally the least interesting part of any procedural (although the other stuff is way harder to do) and I look forward to some more time spent with the characters. ↵