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Dr Veronica Mars + American William the Bloody = iZombie

April 10, 2015

Full disclosure on this one: I am absolutely unfamiliar with the source material. I’m having enough problems finding popular Marvel trades in this state, let alone a Vertigo title. Considering there’s a “were-terrier” in the comic and the main characters don’t even have the same name, I’m guessing “loosely adapted” is an accurate expression for what’s going on here.

The CW’s new show, iZombie, is Buffy the Vampire Slayer by way of Veronica Mars. We all knew that was going to be a thing when we heard VMars creator Rob Thomas (not THAT Rob Thomas) was creating a new supernatural procedure. But what I did not expect was Rose McIver’s dead-on KBell vocal impersonation. Uh, no pun intended. McIver, a New Zealander by birth, could do the voice work for a VMars cartoon, she’s so close to Bell’s speaking voice. Fortunately, McIver’s role as Olivia “Liv” Moore (say it aloud; it’s easy to miss and then impossible to forget) is not Veronica 2.0. She only sounds like her. 

Liv was a successful young medical resident when, in the first few minutes of the show, she’s invited to a party where a creepy drug dealer is handing out a new drug. The drug has some terrible, zombie-like effects on the partygoers, and Liv is scratched by the drug dealer. She wakes up in a body bag. Cut to five months later and her life is terrible: because of her infection, she’s given up her promising career to work in the morgue, which gives her access to the brains that sustain her and keep her from going full-on zombie. Her hair is white and her skin is pale; she’s lethargic but that might just be the depression. Worst of all, she’d had to give up her relationship with her sweet, funny fiance, Major Lilywhite (I kid you not; I had no idea that was his last name), because she’s terrified of infecting him as well.

When Liv eats the brains of the people in the morgue, she can occasionally get flashbacks of their lives and takes on some of their traits too: kleptomania, sociopathy, passion, artistic talent, horniness, fear of pigeons. The usual. She ends up using this information to help Detective Clive Babinaux solve cases. Her boss, Ravi, has guessed her secret–the boat party massacre wasn’t exactly low-profile, and Ravi used to work for the CDC until they decided he was too obsessed with the idea of biological apocalypses–but he tells Babinaux that Liv is psychic to help her hide it.

Also, there’s Liv’s roommate and former BFF, her mom, and her brother, who are all upset that she’s so different than she used to be. They all accept she has PTSD or whatever from the boat party, but they’re in that position where they can’t figure out what else to do besides give her space, tough love, or confuse her and themselves with both at the same time.

So there’s your set-up. The show itself is funny and clever and breezes by–not unlike its lead-in The Flash. If not for Flash and Agent Carter, I’d be calling iZombie my new favorite show of the year. Unlike many shows on right now, it doesn’t try to make everyone a constant ensemble. Major and Liv’s pre-death people move in and out of the story as needed, not so that everyone gets a full-season paycheck. I appreciate that.

Who I also appreciate? David Anders as Blaine, the drug dealer-turned-zombie who will probably be the main antagonist for this season, if not this show. I’ve seen Anders before in other things–Heroes, Once Upon a Time–and I’ve never had this reaction to him before. Which is to say, “HELLO THERE (don’tcreepdon’tcreep).” There is something about Blaine that’s part William the Bloody, part Logan, and part…I don’t even know. The Mayor? Evil earnestness? Whatever it is, I love it and I love him. I’m excited to watch his plan unfurl.

I’m also appreciating that the brains have looked more pink in the last two episodes. I have a serious brain-squick and the pink isn’t as bad.

iZombie has nine episodes left of its thirteen-episode run. It’s an easy catch-up on Hulu or the CW app. I highly recommend it, especially for Veronica Mars fans.

[Photo courtesy of the CW.]

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