iZombie: The Exterminator
April 1, 2015 8:23 PM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Liv and Babineaux investigate a hit-and-run case and discover the victim was a hit man responsible for the murder of a tech entrepreneur, a case that Peyton is prosecuting. Meanwhile, Liv makes a surprising discovery about someone from her past; and Peyton is shocked by Liv's reaction when Major moves on with his life.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich (19 comments total)
So, I lovelovelove Rose McIver, but the writing for this show so far is just not doing it for me so far. So formulaic. Hopefully the universe opens up a bit as a season goes on. Who made this drug? Why does it make zombies?
posted by leotrotsky at 7:05 AM on April 2, 2015

No one wants to like this show more than I do, but there are lots of aspects that just aren't clicking for me. Even with some additional screen time this week, I still know almost nothing about Liv's roommate, and Liv's ex-fiance doesn't seem like much more than very attractive set dressing that Liv is weirdly attached to. The addition of Blaine is promising, as I find that character 10x more interesting than the Mystery of the Week. (I also feel like I can't keep these mysteries straight each week because I can't remember anyone's goofy name.)

Also, while I was intrigued by the idea of Liv temporarily acquiring characteristics of the person whose brain she has most recently eaten, I feel like it's now standing in the way of actually learning more about Liv. This is complicated by the fact, in addition to needing to learn how Liv is now, we also need to learn about who Liv was before zombification. But acting like a painter or a hit man for a whole episode and saying "that isn't me" is only defining yourself as the absence of something, which doesn't actually tell me who Liv is, or even who she was.
posted by joan cusack the second at 9:10 AM on April 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yeah. I also didn't really enjoy this episode too much. I have high hopes for the show, but the things that I enjoyed the pilot--the mystery of who Liv is, how being a zombie works, and how it happened--are really being overshadowed by the whodunnit-ness of the show. I like the idea that she can solve mysteries because she eats brains and I would LOVE to explore more of the things that I enjoyed about the pilot but...right now the show is doing neither of these things well.
posted by lucy.jakobs at 10:06 AM on April 2, 2015

I'm willing to forgive a bit of the whodunnit-ness and mystery-of-the-week for the time being because that's something network execs and development types push for when a show is new but tend to let go of as a show builds its own mythology.

Also--and holy gods does it feel weird saying this--but the CW network has my trust these days, as they really seem more willing to invest time and resources in the development of fledgling shows, particularly genre shows. They just renewed their entire lineup for chrissakes. These are people who will give things time to grow.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:11 AM on April 2, 2015 [6 favorites]

Yeah, I agree with DirtyOldTown in that the episodic and by-the-numbers stuff about it are things that I am willing to tolerate for now because I don't see how this show can avoid this during this initial period. I have a lot of faith that all the things I want more of, I'll get eventually. In the meantime, I think they're doing a good job with filling-out Liv and Ravi's friendship and making Ravi into something more than a sidekick or quipper.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:31 PM on April 2, 2015

I feel like it's now standing in the way of actually learning more about Liv.

Nice. I'm trying to remember what the beginning of Veronica Mars was like. Party Down definitely started simplistic and flat but slowly became amazing. I am still pretty trusting that this is going to deepen and complexify in really satisfying ways. It's hard to imagine Thomas and Ruggiero not making that happen.
posted by zeek321 at 1:32 PM on April 2, 2015

After a strong opening episode, Veronica Mars had a run of 6 or 7 case-of-the-week episodes that felt kinda lame to me. It then got much stronger for the rest of season 1.

After last week's iZombie, I was excited about the show being less case-of-the-week oriented than it seemed at first. I haven't seen this one yet but it sounds like it's kind of skippable.
posted by isthmus at 2:32 PM on April 2, 2015

I wouldn't say it's skippable, per se - I thought the parts with the starving zombie in the pit were useful to world building, showing what could happen to Liv if she doesn't have regular access to brains and her emotional reaction to that knowledge. but yeah, I too am not enthused by the main thrust of the show being a police procedural at this point.
posted by something something at 9:37 AM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I was bored to tears by the cases-of-the-week in Veronica Mars, but ended up loving the show, anyway. I really, really don't enjoy episodic television and everything I watch is heavily serialized. But I'm willing to give iZombie a chance about this. This is broadcast television and I don't think the show would have been picked-up had the showrunners not pitched it as episodic, case-of-the-week.

Which brings to mind Daredevil as a contrast, coming in one week. At this point, I want all television to be freed of these sort of constraints because it's so much better without them.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:28 PM on April 3, 2015

I thought the parts with the starving zombie in the pit were useful to world building

Definitely glad this was there, and I'm going to wait and trust. But I sort of wish this had been done better/differently. Upthread was the point that we didn't get to really see Liv's reaction to this, although her being emotionally deadened during it was kind of interesting in itself.

Also, I feel like maybe they just needed to feed pit-zombie-colleague more brains and they didn't wait long enough. It seemed like she was more aware than before being fed. But I guess maybe they had to kill in the moment because he fell in.

I will say that it was pretty neat character development for what's-his-name before, during, and after the pit. He seems like a pretty great guy, even though we don't know his deep backstory so he still seems kinda superficial.
posted by zeek321 at 9:51 AM on April 4, 2015

I feel like the idea of Liz's "real" personality developing is a red herring - the premise of the show means she's always going to be under the influence of somebody's brain to some extent, and I hope/expect that part of the arc will be her coming to terms with that.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:09 PM on April 4, 2015

Does anyone know where the I can get her periodic table "O Mg !" shirt? I found some similar ones but nothing with the exclamation point, which I feel makes the shirt.
posted by Gymnopedist at 6:30 PM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]

Does anyone know where the I can get her periodic table "O Mg !" shirt?

I cannot vouch for this website, but this is the only place I've been able to find that shirt (with the important !).
posted by joan cusack the second at 10:09 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Finally got around to watching it. I wasn't overly impressed with the case of the week, but once again the ending got me with her realizing how dependent she was on NOT feeling the feelings she would normally have felt.

Also, poor inevitable Marcy. And that kid Blaine walked off with.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:31 PM on April 12, 2015

This show feels like it has potential, but having Liv at crime scenes and taking part in interrogations seems like such a waste. It's like there's a procedural paint-by-numbers kit they're working from for the crime stuff and it's tiresome.
posted by ODiV at 11:32 PM on June 9, 2015

"It's like there's a procedural paint-by-numbers kit they're working from for the crime stuff and it's tiresome."

It really is, and it's a big weakness of the show. I think it's a broadcast network thing where to get the show on the air, they really had to build it around an episodic, procedural format.

But Veronica Mars at the beginning had a very episodic format, with the bigger mystery mostly lurking in the background. Over time, they moved toward being more serialized and exploring these wider, ongoing things more closely and thoroughly, and the show improved. So I've been moderately sure all along that Thomas would transition iZombie toward a more serialized, less episodic and less procedural version of the show.

And over the rest of the season, some of this happens. They stick with the crime of the week, procedural stuff where the victim doesn't have a relationship to the ongoing story, almost without exception to the very end of the season. The procedural stuff remains. But over time, they include more and more of the serialized stuff and the show improves quite a bit for it.

So it's a mixed bag, if you're thinking about continuing to watch. It gets noticeably better. But they still seem committed to including the procedural elements, even as the larger story begins to dominate the episodes at the end of the season.

The show was renewed for a second season. It's not getting great ratings, and so they really couldn't move the format away from the episodic procedural much at all in this season because it would hurt the ratings -- it always hurts the ratings when a show becomes more serialized -- and, even if it didn't (though it would have), it would have made the network more worried about the risk of renewing it for a second season. Because the network guys aren't dumb, they know that the show is going to become more serialized in the second season -- it's what the writers want, it's how this tends to work. And it's right there on the screen, that Thomas and the writers want to tell a larger story. So I really think that the writers had very little room to maneuver in this first season -- they're fortunate it was renewed. I do think this means that the second season will probably be notably more serialized and they may end up eliminating some of the things that have been holding the show back. But, in doing so, they'll likely end up eroding the ratings some more. I don't see how they are likely to increase the audience, there's not a lot of buzz about the show. I dunno.

Weirdly, it's been one of my favorite shows, I've found that I'm always pretty eager to watch it, even though it's not great. It's charming, though, and that counts for a lot for me.

So, basically, I'm saying that the show does improve for the rest of the season, though doesn't become a good show (only a pretty good, mediocre show), and will likely be a better show in the second season. And it might then get canceled.

Land of contrasts.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:45 PM on June 10, 2015

so - i happen to really like episodic procedurals, and as such, what others are seeing as a weakness, i'm really enjoying. i think we're getting lots of both parts. i loved the part where the boss had to come face to face with a monster (or two). this is not ebola. this is very different. i think it's important that he had that moment and he had it with her.

and i thought the whole lack of feeling thing was an interesting device - that's what we do as humans, we check out, we try to push feelings away, we reach for things that deaden our reactions, and eventually, hopefully, we face up. i will say that i would like to see more sustained consequences for liv. right now everyone in her life are mostly still trying, especially her roommate/bff, when they're increasingly running out of reasons to.
posted by nadawi at 6:32 PM on October 7, 2015

nadawi, it's interesting to see your posts on these threads as you binge-watch the season! I wondered at the time if I would like the show more watching it all at once. I'm going to give it another try. I think I quit soon after this one.
posted by something something at 6:20 AM on October 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

"nadawi, it's interesting to see your posts on these threads as you binge-watch the season!"

Yeah, orange swan has been catching up with Person of Interest and posting in threads like nadawi is doing here, and I have been enjoying both sets of new comments. I'm really glad that they don't close these threads and that people are willing to comment in episode threads long after they were initially posted.

I guess it goes without saying that I'm seeing this in my recent activity feed. But I just wanted to echo the sentiment that I'm enjoying your comments, nadawi.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:53 AM on October 8, 2015

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