Dan on TV: Multi-requiem

Right Time (I guess): iZombie

The only Walking Dead anyone needs.
Image: CW

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Dr. Seuss

What’s it about?

Olivia “Liv” Moore’s (the fabulous Rose McIvor) medical career and engagement to her perfect fiance, Major Lillywhite (the hilarious-when-given-the-chance-to-be Robert Buckley), both come to a sudden end when she finds herself turned into a zombie after a boat party massacre. In order to stay herself, Liv must eat human brains… and when she does so, she absorbs the former owner’s memories and aspects of their personality.

Which, as it turns out, proves useful in solving murders. The chance to help murder victims find justice gives Liv’s post-life meaning, so she uses her position at the Medical Examiner’s office (a job she took for the brain access) to assist homicide detective Clive Babineaux (the rock-solid Malcolm Goodwin), by pretending to be psychic to explain her visions.

Making this definitely one of TV’s top two shows about someone pretending to be psychic to solve murders.

I still have a lot of love for its competition.

Meanwhile, her boss, disgraced CDC virologist Ravi Chakrabarti (living treasure Rahul Kohli), works to uncover the cause and hopefully cure of Liv’s condition; and Blaine DeBeers (the always outstanding David Anders), the zombie who turned Liv (after she quite probably accidentally caused his zombieness, as a recent rewatch of the pilot suggests), looks for a way to profit off his new undead status.

And while all of this is happening, creator Rob Thomas weaves a five-year arc about brewing conflict between humans and the emerging zombie population. The outbreak in season one; attempts at containment in season two; the battle lines between humans and zombies being drawn as Discovery Day looms in season three; the dawn of New Seattle in season four; and season five, when everything comes to a boil.

And that’s all great, and the show absolutely benefits from the long arc, but the thing of it is, the murders-of-the-week worked right up until the very end. Some shows, like The Blacklist or Prison Break have to blow up their premises to keep going, but all the way to the antepenultimate* episode Liv is still eating brains, taking on new personalities, and solving murders, and even if some of the brains she’s on are a little over the top**, it’s overall delightful, and the cast is superb, all playing great characters.

Rose McIvor nailing each new personality quirk of Liv’s; Clive’s unflappability; Ravi, Liv’s greatest ally since the moment he caught her eating brains in the morgue (“I have so many questions. Is the hot sauce a zombie thing?”) I might miss most of all, with his dry wit and big heart; Major’s rough road from social worker to leader; Liv’s best friend Payton, second to know and embrace Liv’s secret; Even Blaine at his most despicable is so fun to hate you never want him to leave.

UGH. I have so much to say about this show, I haven’t even touched on short term enemies Vaughn du Clark or Chase Graves or Blaine’s father, or Seattle PD support staff like sketch artist Jimmy Hahn and Vampire Steve, or even the parade of gag names they loved handing out (Liv Moore, Major Lilywhite, private military group Filmore Graves, district attorney DA Baracus, or military leader General Mills). But we have to move on.

*Look it up, you’re on the internet.

**We get it, this guy was a LARPer, but does she have to speak like King Arthur all the damn time? No LARPer does that.

Why did it end?

iZombie was never the ratings darling it deserved to be, even for the CW, and while the CW is the most forgiving network for that sort of thing, not every show gets to run 15 seasons. Plus, they were approaching a natural conclusion of their long-arc, so it made sense to say “Okay, one more year, let’s make it a good one.” And damn it, they did.

How did it end?

It ended well, all things considered. Bittersweet in some places. We got closure for everyone in the central cast, even if they did leave it somewhat open to a future return. It’s not an “everything is perfect” ending like The Office or WKRP in Cincinnati, nor a grimmer, “keep fighting, no happy ending” conclusion like Quantum Leap or Angel. They picked an unexpected point to suddenly jump forward in time, but I see their reasoning… the resolution of the main arc could really only be done by looking back at it from later on. Plus, we get the full scope of what the characters we love are doing once the dust has settled and years have passed.

Should I watch it?

Yes! They’re never going to make a reunion movie if we don’t keep watching it over and over on Netflix. Plus you deserve to fall in love with these living and dead crusaders for or against justice.

Next page: Love in a time of horrifying swamp monsters

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