I’ve been writing a lot about horror or things that work well for Halloween, so now that it’s the actual date, what makes good horror? Now, this is obviously going to be somewhat subjective because it’s my thoughts on horror, and your thoughts on what…
In the Halloween spirit, and because I forgot to add it to the This is Halloween TV list, I figured it would make sense to write a review on this show. Also because Kristen and I have started watching it again. Mainly it’s again for me, as a friend and I watched a lot of the first season, but Kristen only caught an episode here or there.
iZombie is a show that was created based off of a comic book by the same name and Rob Thomas, the creator of Veronica Mars was the creator of this show as well. You can definitely tell that it has some similar feel to Veronica Mars, but it definitely isn’t the same show. Also, the comic book background of the show comes through in a big way. It makes a ton of sense for the show to has both of those feels to it though as the premise is a pretty odd one, and there is also the case of the week feel.
Liv (Olivia) Moore’s life is amazing and safe. She has a great residency at the local hospital, she has an amazing fiance, and family and friends who care about her. Things are going swimmingly until one of her coworkers invites her to a party on a boat on the lake. It wouldn’t be something that she’d normally do, but Major, her fiance, encourages her to cut loose for a night. That turns out to have been a bad plan when a zombie outbreak happens at the boat party and Liv is turned into a zombie. She dumps her boyfriend, quits her residency, and pushes her family away from her. She finds a job at the morgue so she has a supply of brains. There, she figures out that by eating the brains of someone, she takes on some of their personality and sometimes has visions of things that had happened to that person. She decides to use her new found skills to help solve murders.
You find all of that out in the first ten minutes of the first episode. The show is definitely an odd one, but very well done, and tells mostly compelling stories while being a crime drama. There are a few times where the stories aren’t as great, but for the most part it’s interesting. There’s also the story as to what caused the zombie outbreak to happen on the boat that is wrapped up throughout the season. So it isn’t just a plain old here’s a crime and it’s solves by the end of every week, sometimes you come out of it with more questions than you did going in, all with there being a crime solved by the end of the episode.
What makes this show are the characters, there really aren’t any cardboard cutout characters. Too often with shows you can end up with what I’d like to call “Main Character Syndrome” where the main character is fairly flat and boring and doesn’t really have many issues. The side characters might be interesting, but the main character is a bit of a cardboard cutout. An example of this would be Lost Girl, but in iZombie, and you see this some in Veronica Mars though a bit less so, Liv is an interesting and compelling character who has emotions, who isn’t always right or perfect, and it’s probably a fun role to do, because her personality changes every week. She is a bit overshadowed in the role by the Ravi who is her boss at the morgue, but he’s just so sweet and excited by things, and it’s hard not to like his character, he also gets a lot of the comedic relief moments. While the cases to help progress the story, it’s more the characters, what they care about, and what drives them that keep you invested in the show for more than a few episodes.
Now, I will say that sometimes the procedural cop show feel does get to be a bit annoying. Especially early in the first season there are a few episodes where it’s a bit predictable as to what happens in the case. It feels like the show was trying to find it’s feet, and while it isn’t bad and there is generally enough other interesting things going on, it isn’t until there is more mystery to unravel through multiple episodes that the show really hits it’s stride. I feel like that’s going to be the case with most crime of the week shows, and I’m not sure about the later seasons of iZombie if it comes back to that, but the two that I’ve primarily watched did a solid job of balancing that aspect, better than a lot of the bit crime shows like NCIS and CSI. This is something that is very similar to Veronica Mars and something that Rob Thomas does seem to balance out well, though you’ll notice a dropoff with it in Veronica Mars, but that’s the CW’s fault, not Rob Thomas’s.
This is a generally very enjoyable show, and while there is some violence, some darker stories, and some things that won’t be appropriate for younger children, it doesn’t take away from the viewing experience. Any show where you can empathize with most all of the characters is a good show. I definitely recommend this show, though, because of the sometimes procedural nature, it probably won’t be a hit for everyone. The acting and character development is going to be enough for a lot of people to enjoy it though.
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So wasn’t originally going to be part of the “This is Halloween” series, but felt like it fit in still. I’ve been giving advice on shows, movies, games, etc. and this advice is just a little bit different, but it’s still going to be suggestions…
I was having some troubles coming up with animes for this one. There are very few animes that I’ve watched which I’d consider just to be horror or just to be Halloween themed. There are a number of them that have bits and pieces of it, but will then have a focus that goes somewhere else, but I’ve come up with a few that have a bit of that Halloween feel to them.
Little Witch Academia
It’s about witches, it counts. This show isn’t so much a horror show but gives you that more fun kid focused Halloween feel. It’s about a girl who doesn’t have that much magical talent but really wants to become a witch, like her hero Shiny Chariot. It follows her adventures and misadventures around the school and sometimes deals with deeper things, but often times is just cute and goofy. It definitely doesn’t fit the horror side of Halloween at all, but still feels properly thematic for the holiday.
This is the opposite of Little Witch Academia, it’s about a paranormal investigator and the high school girl who helps him on the investigations, there are also other people who help as well from time to time. The cases they take on are often quite horrific and they definitely go for some jump scares, but mainly it’s just intense and disturbing. One thing that I really enjoy about this anime is that the cases are fairly short. So instead of just have one off episodes facing off against a monster, you get three to five episodes, but it isn’t isn’t so much that the whole show feels like it’s dragging out a single story.
I actually wouldn’t recommend this anime too highly because the story is just okay. However, it does fit into the Halloween theme as there are some horror elements in there. It’s about a group of students who are fighting against monsters in the system of their world. The plot is a little bit thin and predictable, however, and it has some of the weirder anime dynamics.
Blood Blockade Battlefront
Another one that I wouldn’t completely call traditional Halloween. This show definitely doesn’t have the purest horror feel, but in a world where there was a convergence between two worlds and there are crazy alien creatures and humans living together, it does fit into the Halloween theme. It’s also not like this show doesn’t have some weird or unsettling things that are horror like as well. This is a very well done anime, and the story arcs, especially in the first season, are really well done. Probably the best part about the anime is the world that was built. It’s so crazy and so well done. The one downside for me is the build up to the moves, where they announce them and you see it written on the screen as well. The anime is also very pretty to watch as compared to some of the other ones.
Death is leading a school that is going to fight witches, what could be more Halloween? Probably quite a number of animes, but this one does have a few undertones that match up with Halloween. This falls into the same category as Little Witch Academia where it’s much sillier. But it has that goofy kids feeling for Halloween while getting heavier and darker at times. The anime doesn’t end extremely well, but generally is a really fun anime. I would compare it to the heaviness of a movie like A Nightmare Before Christmas, where it can have a couple creepy moments here and there, but generally is more light hearted, and it has one of the better anime characters of all time in Excalibur, he sings with a voice like an angel.
Now, I’m sure there are a ton more animes that I could have mentioned, had I watched them. I thought about D.Gray-man, but the anime is just too long for the amount of story that happens in it, and I might have given up on completing it because I didn’t care that much about what was happening in it anymore. There are other animes that I’ve seen which have some horror episodes are smaller horror arcs, but generally don’t give off a monster, horror, or Halloween feeling like the animes that I’m looking for in these articles.
What are some of your favorite horror based animes? I know that I’m always looking for more that are good in that genre.
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THIS IS HALLOWEEN! With possibly my favorite holiday coming up, probably Christmas then Halloween, I thought it would be a fun to toss out some of my favorite or good ideas for scary books, board games, movies, anime, or anything else. They are going to…