iZombie Season 2 Premiere!
"Grumpy Old Liv"
By Jarrett Kruse
I have not been one of those people over the last 5 to 7 years that has fallen into the "everything zombie" trap. Admittedly, The Walking Dead is a brilliant show but its just not for me and it feels like I am watching the same episode over and over. For me, there are no real surprises for me with the AMC smash. In March of this year, a little show on The CW premiered called iZombie that I did not pay much attention to until I was told by my brother, whose TV recommendations I trust implicitly, to give the show a try. So I bought the Season 1 DVD set and in 13 short episodes I quickly became obsessed with the characters and world of iZombie. I friggin' love this show and it is still in its embryonic stages where it is early enough for all of you guys looking for a new zombie show to watch that is not as extreme to watch as TWD to catch up on and enjoy the second season that just began.
iZombie follows former doctor now Medical Examiner Olivia (Liv) Moore who in season one attends a boat party and is turned into a zombie. She becomes incredibly pale, white as a ghost and has a taste for brains. Liv leaves her job and becomes an assistant ME in Seattle where her ally Ravi almost immediately knows that she is one of the undead. The two make a terrific crime solving pair and Liv is sustained with a steady supply of brains from the murders that come through their office. As long as she gets her fill of brains, she doesn't "zombie out" and go postal on anyone with the super strength of the undead. Because of her affliction, Liv had to call things off with her fiancee Major and let her little brother and mother think that she has become some kind of recluse drug addict rather than tell them her secret. It sucks, but it is for their safety. To give you a play by play of season 1 would be a sin because it was one of the best freshman seasons I have seen in recent memories. Plus it made me realize that maybe I am a zombie fan just in a smaller and more intimate narrative that has a Scooby Doo type mystery backdrop.
The show is perfectly cast most notably with actress Rose McIver as Liv Moore, Malcolm Goodwin as Detective Clive Babineaux, Robert Buckley as Major Lilywhite, Rahul Kuhli as Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti, and David Anders as Blaine DeBeers. Veteran actor Steven Weber (WINGS) is perfect as energy drink magnate Vaughn Du Clark, the billionaire that wants to rid the Emerald City of all of the undead. When the first season ended, Major had become zombie hunter number one taking out Blaine's operation at the MEAT CUTE shop but not before becoming exposed and turning into a zombie himself. However, after the massacre at the shop ends, it is blown to bits by Captain Suzuki, a zombie himself but Liv's younger brother is caught in the blast. At the hospital, Liv refuses to donate blood to save her brother because it would both turn him into a zombie as well as expose her secret causing the doctors to quarantine her. To save Major, Liv turns him into a zombie briefly before giving him the last of the cure that Ravi developed.
Season 2 starts three months later with things relatively back to normal. Blaine is no longer a zombie but is running a funeral home so that he can still supply Seattle's undead with fresh brains. Although he is not a zombie anymore, he is still able to sense zombies so I am not sure if the cure worked on him 100% or what the deal is just yet. He is also using the funeral home as a front to sell pure, uncut Utopium. Major is now a personal trainer who like Blaine has the side effect of being able to detect when zombies are in the area. He first discovers this when his neck hair stands on end at a new clients home. He is also being blackmailed by Vaughn Du Clark to be Seattle's top zombie hunter after he took out five of them at MEAT CUTE. Major wants no part of it, but Vaughn has the goods on him and kills his personal trainer client when he realizes he has no way out of doing Du Clark's dirty work. Vaughn has even developed an algorithm with all of the things that zombies purchase and has files on hundreds of active zombies that he wants Major to kill. Vaughn threatens to eliminate Liv if Major does not follow his orders to kill the zombies he tells him to. You gotta feel bad for the guy considering all he wanted to do was get married and start a life with Liv when she was exposed at the boat party.
I am not sure where Peyton, Liv's bff and roommate has gone, but she has been replaced by Du Clark's assistant Gilda who is pretending to be an IRS agent when she is really there to watch and track Liv's movements. Liv consumes the brains of a crotchety old man that was killed in a local neighborhood in the secondary story of the episode. The culprit was a dog owning hipster who the old man used to threaten to kill his dog. It wasn't much of a mystery, but it was funny to see Liv act like "Archie Bunker" for an episode. That is one of the charms of the show, seeing Liv take on the personality of whoever's brains she eats in that episode. Ravi is in desperate need of more of the tainted Utopium from the night of the boat party so that he can produce more of the cure. Blaine confronts the deceased Scott E's twin to find out who did the mixing of the Utopium the night of the boat party.
While it was not a knockout of a first episode to the abbreviated first season, it was definitely good enough as a continuation of the narrative from the first season. I think that once more people pick up Season One and binge through that to catch up to Season Two, the geeky public will realize that this is one new show that they should not be missing. It really is that good with characters you almost immediately root for. McIver in the lead is the only actress I can even imagine in the role of Liv Moore, she is that dynamic, that witty and that fresh. Sure The Walking Dead is the gold standard of zombie shows but for those that are looking for more of a detective show meeting the zombie genre, iZombie is definitely your cup of brains.