Years ago, I watched all three seasons of Veronica Mars with my two oldest daughters, then in 7th and 9th grades. This summer, my son, my younger daughter, and I binge-watched all three seasons again. This show holds up over time (nearly ten years), and I recommend it to anyone—particularly parents to watch with their teens. To this day, all my girls reassure me that they will never drink out of a container they didn’t open themselves or leave their drink unattended at a party.
Veronica Mars is one of those television shows that I wish I had written. (Confession: I have always dreamed of writing for television. Alas, that’s a dream not likely to come to fruition, though I’m not completely ruling it out … stranger things have happened!) Veronica Mars has everything I love in a good story: a compelling and intelligent heroine, complex mysteries, and great characters. This show was basically Nancy Drew for a modern audience, and as a fan of Nancy Drew way back when, I was hooked from the beginning.
[Read why you should be watching iZombie…]
One of the draws of this show was the voice. Not just Kristen Bell, the actress who plays Veronica, but the story voice—the voice of creator Rob Thomas. So when I learned that Rob Thomas was the creative mastermind behind iZombie, I had to watch it. It’s sort of like when I hear Joss Whedon has a new project—the project might not be something I would naturally gravitate toward, but because he’s putting his voice in it, I’ll definitely see it. Or, there are very few movies I’ll go see just because of the actor, but put Tom Hanks in something, and I will almost always hit the theaters because he’s so fabulous. New Pixar? Yep, all over it.
Rob Thomas has the same effect on me, so I took a chance on zombie humor. To me, a zombie world would be more like The Walking Dead, filled with violence and moral quandaries, good people doing bad things, bad people being redeemed, and complex theories of governing and rules and allies and enemies during an apocalypse. But if Rob Thomas is behind it, he’s going to have a lot of talent behind him, compelling stories, and an infusion of fun even in the darkness.
Geez, I sound like I’m gushing … well, I guess I am!
The premise of iZombie is simple: quiet, smart Resident Doctor Olivia Moore goes to a houseboat party with a friend where violence breaks out, and she wakes up craving brains. Zombies in this Seattle-based world don’t turn into the walking dead as long as they get their gray matter. They can function like everyone else.
Liv gets a job as an assistant medical examiner so she can have a steady supply of brains. The hitch? When you eat the brains of the deceased, you get their memories—and their personalities. Liv and her boss, Ravi, convince Detective Clive Babineaux that Liv is psychic and gets visions, so Liv ends up helping Clive solve homicides.
But what really makes the show is Actor Rose McIver, who is absolutely amazing in all the subtle personality shifts she plays: basketball coach, dominatrix, special ops soldier, and much, much more.
There’s a lot more going on with a strong supporting cast: Liv’s former fiancé who she still loves but can’t be with for fear she’ll turn him into a zombie; the smart, straight-shooting detective; the best friend; the criminal zombie who originally turned Liv and makes his living charging zombies for brains he gets from less than legal means (played by David Anders, who is just terrific). And, of course, there’s Ravi—the first and most important ally of Liv’s, who knows her secret from the beginning and is working on a cure.
But Liv carries the show. The zombie angle is fresh and original and sometimes downright hilarious, but at its core, iZombie is a police procedural perfect for anyone who likes a good mystery or a good cop show. Binge-watch it now (they are short seasons and well worth your time) to prepare yourself for Season 4, which will release early 2018.
What show did you not expect to enjoy but now evangelize for?
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Allison Brennan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Lost Girls and Make Them Pay, among others. She was nominated for Best Paperback Original Thriller by International Thriller Writers and the Daphne du Maurier Award by Kiss of Death. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, Allison lives in Northern California with her husband, five kids, and assorted pets.