iZombie: Pilot

“So you are what you eat isn’t just a bitchy thing my mother says about fat people.”

For a series that’s built off ideas and concepts that have been recycled for years, iZombie is remarkably fresh and compelling.

It’s got the rapport and wit of Veronica Mars, the outlandish comic book style of Sin City and zombies courtesy of a dozen different movies and series of the last decade, but iZombie somehow comes across as its own kind of animal.

Rob Thomas’ signature style is all over this, and not just in the trademark voiceovers, but in the fast paced dialogue and the way the characters interact with one another so easily. Whether it’s the now zombified Liv sniding detective Babinaux into a corner, or Ravi’s babbling charm pulling her out of her hole of self pity, it makes it easy to get lost in a story that has such a solid team at its core.

The Veronica Mars comparisons are pretty obvious. Liv is the un-dead cousin our favourite teen detective never knew and though she comes up short in the snarky comebacks department, Liv is a great leading lady, and Rose McIver gives the pale ghostly exterior some real depth and likability even when she’s drained of all life. I came away from this pilot already in love with her, and desperate to watch the ex-med student embrace her zombie ways for as long as the show continues, and that’s half the job done on the show’s part.

Naturally story is just as important, and the formula that was established here is solid. I do feel like there needs to be more mystery and intrigue in the long run; as someone who is drawn to serial storytelling, I feel like the standalone format might get tiresome after a few weeks. The introduction of a mystery drug and David Anders’ brief appearance seem like a good starting point for something long term, so I’m curious to see where it all goes.


I like that Liv develops different traits of the people she eats. That has a wealth of comedic and dramatic potential.

Daran Norris! I am so here for more Veronica Mars alumni guest spots.

Didn’t get much of a vibe from the other characters here; Major is cute but didn’t get much screen time, and Aly Michalka’s Peyton already seems like a Skyler White drag.

Not to throw in another comparison here, but did anyone get Tru Calling flashbacks?

He Said, She Said

Liv: “I feel like there’d be some buzz on the street if we were mid zombie apocalypse.”

Though it doesn’t push out the bar for originality or do anything that we haven’t seen before, iZombie somehow makes all of its different styles work in tandem to give us something fun and satisfying that doesn’t take things too seriously. In a TV landscape that's cluttered with dark and harrowing post apocalyptic tales of survival, iZombie is a great alternative.

4 out of 5 brains covered in hot sauce

Originally posted at PandaTV.


J.D. Balthazar said...

Fun review Panda, I agreed with basically everything you said. The Rob Thomas stuff was very obvious and welcome. I didn't love all the characters, and the plot felt a bit slapdash. But I loved her, and the vibe the series created.

More than that, the world building is fascinating. These zombies are almost alive, and I like the rules they've created for them. They are kind of like brain eating vampires. I'm seriously intrigued, and I hope the show doesn't stick to a case of the week format.

mona said...

Hey :) thx for the nice review panda

Hum, since I didnt watch a lot of VM I never thought of that show until reading some online reviews and I also hadnt thought of other shows that were mentioned by many. with the tiny exception of TruCalling (only during the flashback scenes). Since you brought that show up too. What parallels did you think of?

Maybe I watch so many shows, that I cant really see specifics... I tend to jumble em all up in my head xD And I dont watch anything twice unless I forgot almost everything. I think the only exception beeing BUFFY <3 (watched MANY times) and Alias and friends.

I also couldnt pick up who was involved behind the scenes from watching.

And since I hate nothing more than spoilers I never heard anything about the izombie until I could watch it online this morning ^^°

What I have to say though is, that the whole thing is reminiscent of a lot of shows ppl mentioned simply in its building blocks. But so far I like what they did. I bet I would have liked it even more a few years ago, since the comic stuff and the zombie stuff has been done that often (I dont mind it, I love this stuff in general, just not that unique these days).

I hope they get the balance between weekly stuff and the mythology as a whole. If they can do that, I could grow to love it.

Rohan said...

If I could recommend something, when you review new shows or pilots, don't assume that the reader has seen or even heard of the show.

Add a small paragraph with the basic information. It doesn't have to be much. But my reaction to seeing the title was "What's iZombie?" and that question was still unanswered after finishing the post.

Billie Doux said...

Panda, I enjoyed your review and I feel much the same way. I really liked it and it feels like it has a lot of potential. (And Sark!)

Rohan, I understand the reason for your suggestion, but this review is pretty much what we do. And we review a lot of pilots. It does say that it's a pilot, right?

Josie Kafka said...

Panda, I'm so glad you reviewed this (so quickly, too), since I forgot it premiered last night.

I really enjoyed this. Much more than I thought I would, in fact, as it sounded like a VM ripoff with a terrible title. But it was funny and sweet. I'm excited to watch more.

Especially with more Sark! coming soon, I hope.

But, just so it's clear in my head: the protagonist's name is Olivia Moore...but people call her Liv? Liv Moore? It's got all the subtlety of a hungry zombie.

Patrick said...

When I first heard about the show, it seemed like it'd be a typical so-so CW show, trying to cash in on the popularity of zombies. Plus I was miffed that it meant no more Tink on Once Upon A Time, and I'm still bitter that Ruby got taken away from me, dammit. But I actually enjoyed the show quite a bit more than I expected to. I like the pace they used in getting from "human Liv" to her present situation, we didn't really need to see what happened in those 5 months, what they did show us pretty much told us everything we needed to fill in the blanks. You can definitely see the Veronica Mars influences, in a good way. Panda, I don't get TruCalling flashbacks, but something about the way this pilot was shot reminded me a little bit of Pushing Daisies. Something about the way some of the shots were framed, pushing in a little closer on the people than many shows do, the interactions between Liv & those around her, I dunno. What I do know is I'll definitely be sticking with the show for now. There were a couple of things that nagged me throughout the pilot, though. Both of them had to do with Liv's current...pigmentation, I guess. I can believe that zombie Liv would progress from her natural coloration gradually to the more albino look she has now. We saw how that began with her only having a streak of white in her hair when she woke up in the body bag. Makes total sense. But a) why did nobody who knew her before make more of a thing of it? I mean, I guess her hair going white you could write off to the trauma of what happened, dunno how often that actually happens, but still. But her skin & eyes? A mom like that would've been forcing her daughter to a doctor to be examined. And b) at the beginning of the episode, we saw her buying a metric boatload of bronzer, yet we never saw her actually use it to try and HIDE her current complexion. The joke of her buying all of it is a little less funny if she doesn't actually use any. Do they not know the rule of Chekov's Tanning Agent?

Miguel said...

I"m not a big fan of the title, but I loved the show.

It's pretty hard not to compare it to Veronica Mars, but like Kristen Bell, I think Rose McIver is a great leading lady. I already love her character already after just one episode, which I can't say for many pilots I see.

Hopefully more David Anders and more mythology and I totally will be on board!

And in regards to a comment above, I for one am glad Doux Reviews doesn't begin each review with summary of each episode. There are a plethora of sites that recap episodes if anybody wants to know what the show is about. I come to the site to read someone's analysis of the episode, not to rehash it.

Great review!

Laure Mack said...

I had no plans to watch this pilot. I've never found zombies terribly interesting and the title is at least top 5 of dumbest I've ever heard. So so glad to be wrong. The name is still stupid, but I think I'll stick around for a few episodes of the show. I agree with basically everything you said, Panda. Great review!

Elfie said...

When I first heard about this show I thought it was be immensely stupid. Especially because they kept advertising it everywhere, the ads popping up during my favorite shows were very irritating and the concept of humanizing zombies sounded idiotic to me. We've already humanized vampires and werewolves. What's next, guys? WHERE. DOES. IT. END?

I'm going off topic...

This show actually turned out to be pretty great. So much Veronica Mars nostalgia! I love the leading character and the show is smart, it's got wit and it's got heart. I'm surprised I ended up liking it. I'm not sure how it makes sense that these zombies are so alive but I like it nonetheless. iZombie is a stupid name but I'm also in love with a TV show called 'Teen Wolf', so I can let that slide. :)

I can't wait to see where they go with this show. My only complaint is the snoozefest of a love interest. Please no.