iZombie: Pilot
March 18, 2015 10:00 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Six months ago, Olivia Moore was a kickass medical student, before she went to the worst party ever and woke up in a body bag as a zombie. Six months later she's hiding her condition, super depressed, and working in a morgue so she can get a hold of brains to eat. And then a detective comes to her looking for help...and the brain eating she just did of the most recent victim helps her see what was going on before the victim died.

Anyway, since the heinous boat party that supposedly erupted due to some bad designer drugs, Liv's lost all color in her hair and skin (beats me why she bought bronzer and didn't use it), and broke up with her fiance because she's afraid she'll infect him, and has lost her purpose in life. On the good news side, her boss has figured out she's a zombie, is super enthusiastic about it, and already has ideas about trying to find a cure for it. So good for him.

Detective Clyde Babineaux isn't doing too well at his job right now--he hasn't closed any cases and people are making fun of him. But since Liv absorbs memories and talents of those whose brain she ate, she can tell him that she saw that the victim died because a fellow was looking for a missing ring. And Clyde totally buys the psychic BS her boss feeds him--though Clyde probably isn't someone who should be told the truth about her zombieness. She also has the urge to steal things and can suddenly speak fluent Romanian, including figuring out what a "bearded pig" is (i.e. the cop who's missing his wedding ring).

This episode gives Liv some hope--in that maybe there's a cure for her condition, and that if she can't become an awesome heart surgeon, at least she can find other people's killers. Oh, and that it's fun to play a zombie at Halloween.

Overall, I don't think it is all that "Veronica Mars"-y as people are claiming--I thought it was kind of a sadder show since Liv is kind of dead and unable to embrace her former life in case anyone finds out she's a brain eater, and it's not super snarky. But I liked it, I suppose.

Random observations:
* The names in this are well, too cute. Oh well, what can you do.
* Will Liv's bullet wound heal, or is she going to end up like Owen on Torchwood? And how gross is that going to get? Hope she doesn't get injured every week.
posted by jenfullmoon (27 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I thought the two most interesting aspects of the show were the two that seemed to be completely absent in the promotional material: the possibility of the cure and her life in a high-pressure highly-skilled job. The former was kind of predictable, but not the latter. I'm more excited about that aspect of her pre-zombie life than anything else, not only because of how it influenced her personality, but also because it seems like the people around her should be making a bigger deal out of it than they already have. Of course this is only the pilot, and both Thomas and Ruggiero-Wright have worked wonders on previous shows, so the chances I get to see that side of things is pretty high.

Also: If anybody's read the comics that the show is (apparently very) loosely based on, is it worth getting my hands on them?
posted by zombieflanders at 10:13 AM on March 18, 2015

They totally should rename the show to Cagney & Pasty :-)
posted by Pendragon at 10:22 AM on March 18, 2015 [7 favorites]

Also: If anybody's read the comics that the show is (apparently very) loosely based on, is it worth getting my hands on them?

I read the first three trades in expectation for the show. Now, I'm probably biased because Mike Allred's art is such a huge turn off for me (it reminds me of all art seen in a hair stylist's shop in the late 80s/early 90s) but I like the show more after just seeing the pilot.

The comic is pretty much a different beast - she's a grave digger, not a medical examiner, has a friend who is a ghost and another who is a were-terrier, and there are vampires and people who hunt vampires out there. Magic plays a much bigger part (there are rituals and rites and cosmologies and stuff).
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:35 AM on March 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

I got the impression that the kleptomania and Romanian language acquisition were likely to be the fleeting effects of eating the prostitute's brain and that as she eats other people's brains she is just as likely to temprarily acquire their abilities as well as it suits the script of the week for her to have them.

But maybe that's just how I interpreted it.

I only watched this because my daughter and I were watching The Flash and it was on right after, but it was better than the promos led me to expect, so I might keep watching.
posted by briank at 1:15 PM on March 18, 2015

Also: If anybody's read the comics that the show is (apparently very) loosely based on, is it worth getting my hands on them?

I have not, but they are currently half off on Comixology in a tie-in to the show. For the trades that works out to a buck a book (issue, not the trade itself), which is pretty good.

The White Trash Zombie book series uses a similar must-eat-brains mechanic for the lead but w/o the knowledge acquiring. I enjoy them quite a bit.
posted by phearlez at 1:52 PM on March 18, 2015

I had the opposite reaction, jenfulmoon - the whole vibe came off as so Veronica Mars for me, complete with voice over narration by the main character. Which is not a complaint - if they keep up this tone I'm going to love this show.
posted by something something at 3:21 PM on March 18, 2015

Yeah, but I think of VM as snarky, as angry, as getting righteous justice, as total cynicism. This show's more melancholy. Less with the feelings, at least at the moment.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:51 PM on March 18, 2015

It definitely has potential, but I didn't like it nearly as much as I was hoping. Veronica Mars grabbed me from the start, and I thought it was often hilarious, but with deep pathos as well. I cared about Veronica and her father right away. I didn't react nearly as strongly to I Zombie. It's an interesting premise, but I don't feel connected to these characters at all.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:42 PM on March 18, 2015

For me, it was more than halfway through before I started to care (and I stuck it out that long because, hey, Rob Thomas), and that was when Liv herself started to care (when she saw the death itself and felt the girl's terror). Not sure how they could have done it differently, though.
posted by Mogur at 7:07 AM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

I started watching it with the intent of just seeing the first ten minutes, then going to bed. Then it was the first twenty minutes, okay, then the first half hour, and I could not stop watching, in part because I agree with Mogur, the farther in we got, the better the show got. Her ex-fiance moving on (or did he? [insert cousin visiting or something]) was pretty predictable, but I still felt bad for Liv. It might have been the moment when she went full on rage zombie and moved in for the living brain that finally hooked me. It took my breath away as I inwardly screamed, "No, no, no! You're not that type of zombie!"
posted by Atreides at 10:50 AM on March 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

I enjoyed it, after having very low expectations. Then at the end of the episode with the preview, I am sorry...these are the words that went through my head, "Oh no! Did you get some BAD BRAINS!???"
But maybe I am just old.
posted by mkim at 5:01 PM on March 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

Then at the end of the episode with the preview, I am sorry...these are the words that went through my head, "Oh no! Did you get some BAD BRAINS!???"
But maybe I am just old.

Well it is a DC imprint right?
posted by phearlez at 10:09 PM on March 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

I couldn't get very far into the pilot before I felt I had to pass. I had thought it looked terrible before, and nothing in the first 10 minutes convinced me it was going to get any better.
posted by Catblack at 3:33 PM on March 20, 2015

I liked it a lot. It certainly helps that I enjoy the procedural genre in general, and Rob Thomas has that down to a science. Plus I'm a big fan of Allred's art and seeing it in the intro and scene transitions is kind of awesome.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:46 AM on March 21, 2015

I absolutely adored this, it very much fills the Veronica Mars-shaped hole in my heart, with shades of pretty much everything Byran Fuller has ever touched.

Also: her name is Liv Moore. LIV MOORE. I can't stop giggling about this.
posted by rhiannonstone at 11:13 PM on March 21, 2015 [6 favorites]

I just watched this last night and I did so without realizing that it was Rob Thomas. An ignorance that was rectified by about a third the way in when I realized that it just dripped of Rob Thomas-ness.

Anyway, I loved it. What I don't like so much is how episodic and not serialized the pilot made it seem, but then that's the norm for network shows and many of them, including VM, end up becoming much more serialized and interesting as time goes on. So I'm hopeful.

Liv's pre-zombie self just annoyed me in many respects and I'd not like the show if I had to watch that character. Which maybe is the point? It's not that I take exception to her type-a, ambitious personality, just how she looked and her mannerisms. And that's a huge contrast to her zombie self, who seems much more like someone I'd get along with ... and so I'm much more interested in spending time with that version.

Another thing bothered me. It's how freaked out her friends and family are about her recent choices. They act as if she's some arch-slacker, but of course she's already finished med school and her job as a forensic pathologist / medical examiner is a perfectly respectable track for someone with a medical degree. I get that maybe the point is that her friends and family are very much that sort of people who are exactly like what it is that annoys me about her pre-zombie self and so that she's not aiming to be a heart surgeon and marrying Mr. Whitebread is some huge failure. But, I don't know, while I guess that such people exist out there, in the world I've lived in Liv's current track would impress most friends and family. This part just struck me as TV-contrivance.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:00 PM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

I feel like I Zombie is a bit of a grown-up VM, because Veronica really felt like a (mature) high schooler, with all the accompanying high school level of drama about boys and friends. If Veronica Mars was re-shot with adults in an adult setting, it would be a slightly less dramatic soap opera.

On the other hand, I Zombie has that sassy smart element, but less cocky, snarkiness that made Veronica fun as a character, but also made her seem young. And thank the gods above and below, no annoying love triangle drama. IZ also has the big question behind the whole show (why is Liv a zombie in a manageable way? Who made that drug? And how will she continue to survive among the truly living?).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:17 AM on April 2, 2015

Yes! We're still posting things about this!

That said.... uh.

I'm feeling this show, it's better than the comic, and I really hope that Liv and her ex-fiance can get back together because he's super-charming and nice and let's just buck the expected story beats for once okay?

Also her boss in the forensics clinic is great. That is all.
posted by Poppa Bear at 10:55 AM on April 10, 2015

i just started this last night and I LOVE EVERY SINGLE THING ABOUT IT! she's great, her boss is great, the detective is great, her reluctance is great (and reminds me of "dead like me" - honestly it all feels like rob thomas trying to make a bryan fuller show and i am 100% here for that).
posted by nadawi at 9:17 AM on October 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yes! This is charming and I am here for it. I wonder how much MAC white F&B they go through per episode.
posted by rewil at 10:42 PM on October 8, 2015

Just started this too! It was better than I was expecting, with so many avenues to explore. The main character bugged me but grew one me, the cop bugged me but is growing on me, and I really like the fellow she works with and his enthusiasm for learning about her condition.
posted by Glinn at 12:22 PM on October 25, 2015

I had the exact same experience. They do a wonderful job of making the main characters likable, even the bad guys.
posted by Atreides at 3:05 PM on October 25, 2015

Hey, this thread just won't die. Appropriate.

It's so very the VM formula, yeah, down to the interior monologue into moral and plot reversal. This isn't really a bad thing, and it maybe fits more in a story where someone is literally becoming part of someone else for awhile and learning from the experience. There's also a strong Buffy element, which I guess was also sort of present in VM, where there is a serialized metaplot along with the event-of-the-week. It's a good fusion, and I think it gets better as the cast finds their way into the roles.

Also: one of the places that Rob Thomas seems to excel is making really interesting and diverse characters.
posted by absalom at 6:46 PM on October 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

So i am watching this now - and had no idea it was Rob Thomas - and thought after the first episode - this reminds me of Veronica Mars with zombies and less angst (with a spirited, quippy blonde and a sharp, black partner in crime solving no less). Can i tell you how happy fanfare makes me?
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 4:57 PM on December 21, 2015 [3 favorites]

And you got a season and a half worth of episodes to catch up on!
posted by Atreides at 7:38 AM on December 22, 2015

Got around to trying the first episode and it's pretty good! Hope I can find time for the rest.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:40 AM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also now that it occurs to me, the edition of Night of the Living Dead that Liv buys and watches, the one with the tombstone on the front that comes in a red case, is the edition George Romero put out and the only one he gets money for people buying. The video quality is top-notch and it's stuffed with special features.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:01 AM on April 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

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