Time to talk about the newest Netflix show, this time the anthology series, Love, Death, + Robots. It’s an interesting experiment in show making an anthology series, but not just an anthology series, but a completely animated one. Let’s start out by talking about 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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It’s time for a new segment ’round here! I’ve been thinking lately about the way I seem to have a penchant for getting into things months — or, more often, years — after everybody else does. It’s basically my signature style at this point. So, naturally, I decided it was time to write about it!
This segment will be similar to “Have You Heard Of…” in that it will mostly highlight stuff from a little while ago, but instead of focusing mainly on obscure stuff, I’ll be using these posts to talk about stuff I’ve finally (FINALLY) gotten around to watching/reading/playing, regardless of category. And for the very first one, we’ll be taking a look at none other than Veronica Mars!
Veronica Mars originally aired from 2004 to 2007 on the CW (and other iterations thereof) and starred Kristen Bell. Looking back on it now, I’m kind of wishing I actually had watched this show when it was current, because it depicts high school students (albeit really farfetched, improbably beautiful, California-y ones), and I was in high school during those years as well. But at the same time, I’m of the opinion that high school is best viewed from a distance, so maybe the nostalgia is better than the potential relatability would have been. As it is, the fashion, technology, and pop culture references take me right back to the best (and cheesiest) parts of my teenagerhood in a way that’s pretty delightful (and that doesn’t make me feel old…nope, not even a little bit…*cough*).
The eponymous character of Veronica Mars is not your average high school student. In between going to class and dealing with the drama that all fictional Californian high schools are rife with, Veronica spends her time solving crimes both small and large. She learned her skills from Keith Mars, her sheriff-turned-private-eye father, who (gratefully or begrudgingly, depending on the day) lets her help him out part-time at his office.
Very early on in season 1, we learn that Veronica and most of her classmates are still reeling from the mysterious murder of Veronica’s best friend, Lily Kane. A year and a half later, the case still haunts Veronica (as does Lily, from time to time). Even though the confessed killer is behind bars, Veronica can’t shake the feeling that they got the wrong guy. That same feeling drove Veronica’s father to accuse Lily’s father of committing the murder. But instead of uncovering the truth, this act gets Keith fired from his sheriff position and consigns him to private eye work.
But while Keith seems ready to let it all go and move on with his life, Veronica’s not so willing to just sit back and let things take their course. As her sleuthing reveals new clues about what really happened to Lily, Veronica starts to think there may be some hope of solving the case at last — and clearing her father’s name. But there are lots of other people — powerful, wealthy people — involved with the case who would much prefer to keep the truth under wraps. Will Veronica outsmart them to find out the truth, or will Lily’s death stay shrouded in secrets and lies?
It took me about 1.5 episodes to fall in love with this show. The first season, at least, is an example of CW content at its best. The characters alone were enough to hook me — Veronica’s just the sort of savvy, witty, adorable person I wish I could be when I grow up, her best friend Wallace is the very definition of a person with a heart of gold, and her biker friend Weevil puts on a tough guy front but is always there to get Veronica out of a jam. Logan, who was Lily’s on-again-off-again boyfriend right up until the time Lily was killed, and with whom Veronica falls out of touch for a while, goes back and forth from dirtbag to charming as heck to an even dirtier dirtbag at a breackneck pace, and was kind of a pain at first, but completely grew on me by the end of the season. Veronica’s dad, Keith, is the daddest dad that ever was, and even Duncan Kane (Lily’s brother and Veronica’s erstwhile boyfriend), who can a little bit of a Ken doll, brings some important pathos to the table.
Beyond the great characters, another thing that really stands out to me about this show is the overall feel of it. One of the main reasons Peder and I started watching this show was because the Xbox game Life is Strange (which Peder wrote about here) reminded him so much of it. We decided it made sense to start a watch-through the show so that he could relive it, and so that I could both see what he was talking about and see what all the fuss over the show itself was about. After seeing the first season and a bit of the second, I can definitely agree with Peder about the tone of the show. While it (thankfully) doesn’t get as dark as LiS does, it has that same dreamlike, surreal quality about it, and the resilient, curious, heartfelt protagonists of each have a lot in common.
The overarching themes are similar as well in that both characters slowly realize that things are much more complex, much darker, and much more unexpected than they seem on the surface. I was relieved to find, though, that instead of taking this idea to its logical conclusion the way LiS does, VM uses this concept to showcase the importance of discovering the truth, and of believing in the strength of your own character and convictions, even (maybe especially) when the rest of the world persists in doubting and misunderstanding you.
As I mentioned, we’ve completed the first season thus far and have started the second. As Peder tells me, the series unfortunately goes downhill for a little while during season 2, since this is when the CW really got its claws into the storyline and took it in a new — and not altogether smart or interesting — direction. However, he also tells me that it’s worth sticking it out through the rough patch, because the show hits an upswing later on and ends well. On top of that, there’s the crowdfunded Veronica Mars movie to watch as well, which I’m told takes the story to a satisfying conclusion, and provides another opportunity to spend some more time with the great cast of characters who populated the show. I can’t wait to watch it all and find out for myself!
Have you seen Veronica Mars? What are some of your favorite memories of the show? Come reminisce in the comments!
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The news is a bit old, but I just came across it. If you are a fan of Game of Thrones and worried about what sort of epic fantasy will be around to watch once Game of Thrones is done, the Wheel of Time Series is likely to fall into that void.
Harriet McDougal, wife of the late Robert Jordan, dropped some exciting news late Thursday: the TV rights to Jordan’s Wheel of Time fantasy epic have been acquired by a major studio.
From the Wheel of Time Google Plus group:
The following is a press statement that has been approved by the studio involved in contract negotiations:Update: Wanted to share with you exciting news about The Wheel of Time. Legal issues have been resolved. The Wheel of Time will become a cutting edge TV series! I couldn’t be more pleased. Look for the official announcement coming soon from a major studio —Harriet
I’ve personally enjoyed this series more than Game of Thrones. And as long as they don’t spend all the time that the series does getting lost in a ponderous middle, they should be able to turn this into a nice, fairly long running, epic series.