Monday, March 23, 2015

Pilot Review: iZombie

iZombie (CW)
Premiered March 17 at 9pm

Expectations aren’t everything, but they can help to amplify an experience. This season has been a great one for the CW, surprising viewers with the quality and heart of “Jane the Virgin” and impressing its superhero fan base with “The Flash.” Adapting a popular comic book series about a young zombie who can pass for normal as long as she eats brains on a regular basis is a task that seems truly fitting for the CW and its niche audience, and, once again, it seems that the young broadcaster has done pretty well with what it’s been given. Some quick research indicates that the premise of the show diverges considerably from its comic book origins, but I think the basic idea is the same, and it seems like a creative and worthwhile concept for a weekly TV series. I didn’t recognize Rose McIver from her role as Vivian Scully on “Masters of Sex,” though it’s not easy to do so considering the amount of white makeup she wears on this show. She possesses the perfect combination of spunk and unspoken sweetness to portray Liv, who might as well be an antisocial teenager, though she owes the majority of her mannerisms to the fact that she is undead. Her morgue coworker Ravi is great, and it’s fun to see her interact with do-gooder cop Clive. I was pleased to recognize David Anders, who I and many others know best as Sark from “Alias,” as the man who appears to have caused the zombie outbreak and seems to be a zombie himself, if Liv’s latest dream vision is any indication. I like that she needs to eat brains to keep herself sane and, for lack of a more accurate phrase, human. This feels a whole lot like “Warm Bodies,” which I found to be a very fulfilling look at what zombies could look like if weren’t portrayed in the normative way. Here’s hoping this show keeps it up.

How will it work as a series? That depends on how well the show deals with keeping Liz’s state secret from those around her. Suspension of disbelief is only possible to the extent that everyone is so oblivious to her current condition, and having her put on a bit of makeup to give some kids a good Halloween scare is a great example of how this show can be creative and effective while winking and acknowledging its premise. I think it can do a good job.
How long will it last? It wasn’t the smash hit that the CW’s other two major offerings this season have been, but it still should be a success. Strong reviews should help it, and I think that the CW, which renewed pretty much its entire lineup for next season, will be eager to check off another hit show and add it to the list.

Pilot grade: B+

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