iZombie: Why the Living Dead matter

iZombie Poster

(photo source: imdb.com)

iZombie is a series based on the DC comic of the same name originally released in 2010. The TV show began in 2015 and is still running. There are currently four seasons out but I will be covering just the first three. The main premise of the show is about an underground existence of zombies in Seattle, Washington. Their existence was the result of a energy drink (similar to toxic sludge) at a 4th of July boat party turned massacre.

The main character is Olivia, a med student who is newly engaged to Major (Major what? No, his name is Major) after being scratched by a zombie on the boat. Olivia’s (also called ‘Liv’, lol pun on Live) life dramatically changes as her skin and hair loses color and her craving for brains (dowsed in hot sauce) becomes more voracious. Liv becomes a medical examiner, coroner, for the police department allowing her access to fresh brains which she consumes in secret. Her partner, Ravi, also works as a coroner and quickly discovers her eating brains. Ravi’s reaction is the first of many markers in the show that makes it unique for the zombie genre. Ravi is intrigued by Liv’s condition and begins researching the cause for her zombification as well as a cure which is the overall goal for the entire series.

The next character that plays a major role in the series is Clive Babineaux, a detective at the police department. This is where it gets interesting. In this story, after a zombie eats a humans brains they have spontaneous visions belonging to that person. So, after Liv eats the fresh brains she finds in the morgue, suddenly she begins to have visions that relate to the victims death. She is compelled to help solve mysteries relating to homicides and soon teams up with Babineaux who is led to believe she is a psychic with incredible accuracy. The duo begins to solve mysteries, some of which are related to the mysterious energy drink that caused this secret zombie outbreak. Along with Ravi’s help, these three find themselves getting closer to the truth.

Other Key Characters:

Peyton, Liv’s best friend who works for the legal system, learns that Liv is a Zombie.

Major, Liv’s ex-fiance that struggles with a changed Liv and later learning of her Zombification.

Blaine, a ‘Spike-like’ character reminiscent of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show, who is refreshing, evil (at times), and highly manipulative. An admirable adversary for Liv.

These characters are interwoven throughout the story and play out their own particular story lines that contribute to the overall story as a whole.

Key aspects that bring something new to the Zombie genre:

Eating brains gives you visions.

There are zombies already among us, living in secret.

There are zombie-led organizations that influence the lives of humans and zombies.

Zombies are presented as individuals, or together as a minority group under attack by humans. For the most part the zombies try to blend into society in fear that their discovery will lead to their death (‘death-death’ for the living dead: beheading etc).

Although some of these aspects may already be in other comics/movies/tv shows, I believe it is the approach that gives iZombie its uniqueness.

Key aspects about the show that stand out:

There are comic-book qualities to the show, for instance, the memorable intro that is presented as comic book panels, chapter breaks that are marked by a still of the last shot which morphs into comic-like art, and the precise structure of each episode that is form fitting to a comic in a series.

iZombie possesses qualities that can mark it as a meta-show, the show’s ability to be self-reflexive. For example when characters discuss zombie movies/shows within itself while hinting at a critique of iZombie (I noticed this more often in Season 3).

A killer soundtrack, often songs are sung and performed by the character Blaine throughout the series. They are mostly classic rock hits among others but the songs add a little more ‘art’ to the show. Often the songs are sung/played at the end of each episode to gain an emotional effect from the audience while also reflecting what just happened.

Popularity:

iZombie ranks #3 on imdb’s list of “Most Popular ‘Based on Graphic Novel’ Titles”.

This show has high ratings and a lot of admirers for its style and subject matter. I among them find this show to be very well put together and genuinely intriguing to watch. I look forward to watching Season 4, especially after the the end of Season 3 which left me aghast.

(Note: Contrary to professional movie/tv show reviews, I did not include the actors/actresses names after introducing the main characters. I have included the link to imdb.com that possesses all this information. This is just me writing informally.)


 

Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to read my writing!

I hope that you will return in the future!

Any comments/suggestions are welcome!

-Alina

Announcement: Working on…

Penny Dreadful Poster  Salem Poster iZombie Poster

photo sources: imdb.com

 

Hello! 

Here is an update of what I am planning on posting in the next couple of weeks!

First,

I realized I haven’t done two ‘Monthly Notebook Excerpts’ (May and June). This is because I’ve been working a ton and trying to get my personal life in order this summer. Not an easy feat. So do expect a combined post ‘May/June Monthly Notebook Excerpts’ very soon.

Second,

I am still under a pile of books that I have been reading this summer. I hope to have two or more finished by the end of this month and a reflection post for each one.

Next,

I have a few ideas on posts under my subsection of writing ‘Film, Music, Art’, here is what I’m considering (give any suggestions in the comments below!!!).

Reflection/Review Post:

Penny Dreadful

Salem 

iZombie

These are all series available on Netflix. They are some of my favorites. I have been thinking about doing a review on one or all of them this summer.

That is all I am thinking about right now!

Please feel free to leave any suggestions etc. in the comments below! I will take all suggestions into consideration!

As usual expect my ‘Free Hand #’s’ poetry posts as well as my ‘Flash Fiction #’s’ I will be doing those regularly still.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my writing!

I greatly appreciate all my followers and regular readers!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Alina

Hemlock Grove: Netflix Series and Novel

WARNING: CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS

photo source: imdb.com

I am a big fan of the Hemlock Grove series that was featured by Netflix from 2013-2015. After starting the first season I was instantly pulled into this strange horror/suspense series and shortly after I decided to read the novel (Hemlock Grove) that the Netflix series was based on by Brian McGreevy.

The novel possesses traits that remind me of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (format and stylistic approach). The narration jumps from character to character and includes text and email dialogue as well. I found McGreevy’s approach to trademark horror elements (monsters, murder and mystery) intriguing. It’s as if Hemlock Grove is an evolved version of a classic Victorian novel only with more gore and the inclusion of technology. Overall the novel is as good if not better than the Netflix series and left me wanting more.

What I love about the Netflix Series:

The characters are played by talented actors that give the characters amazing depth and complexity. As the series progresses these characters evolve and change (few for better, most for the worst) and this progression is wonderfully portrayed by the actors. Their ability to pull the inner struggles and desires from the core of these characters adds to the series as a whole.

Netflix’s approach to the subject matter and their knack for gory details satisfies my need for an ever evolving horror/suspense show that recognizes the chuckle that comes with vampires and werewolves but also adds more and makes it unique to its predecessors. These vampires (Umpirs) and Werewolves are different from the mainstream ones that have been over glorified and given too many (almost unbelievable) moralistic traits but they also contain key elements that horror fans recognize. For example the stereotype of gypsy werewolves and aristocratic origins of old vampires is paired with a werewolf gone ‘berserk’ (lol) a.k.a. Vargulf and an Umpir who uses money and science to better understand her species.

Throughout the series there is no restraints on the use of blood and bodies. The show is rated MA for Mature for a reason. I personally love the over the top use of blood and dead bodies. At certain times in the series (season one) the blood is used precisely to instill fear of the mysterious monster that is terrorizing Hemlock Grove. In season two blood is used in exaggeration (I think to reflect the gravity of the events taking place, as well as Roman’s ever increasing blood lust). The best example of the over to top use of blood is in this scene from season two episode five,

(source: youtube.com  user: Nippy93)

Roman’s need for blood is seen in this ‘daydream’ of his as he fantasizes about drinking Miranda’s blood. The music and slow motion reflect his lust filled desire to indulge in his Umpir appetite. 

Alongside the use of blood and classic monsters, the story also includes unknown creatures that I have never read about (I also study folklore and mythology). This inclusion of other strange creatures is intriguing and demonstrates the stories ability to evolve and adapt to a modern audience.

The soundtrack is varied and includes many different songs spanning across multiple genres. I am curious to know if the soundtrack was chosen in collaboration with others in the production of the series or if the music is just a particular taste of one individual. I find the soundtrack refreshing and remarkably reflective of the show as a whole.

(Here is a spotify playlist that includes the songs used in the Hemlock Grove series)

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/1211694248/playlist/0LjjoX6dDbTvQ0XqtXtCVC

ROMAN AND PETER:

With every show and story there comes a fandom. I usually indulge in looking up behind the scene photos or extra information on the actors and actresses of a series that I love but with Hemlock Grove I find myself admiring the characters from a safe distance. I’m not concerned about the questionable relationship between the two main characters, Roman and Peter, but love to dissect their attributes and actions while I read/watch Hemlock Grove.

Many lovers of Hemlock Grove gravitate to Roman Godfrey (played by Bill Skarsgard) because of his looks and of course his role as an Umpir. From what I’ve found there is little obsession over Peter (played by Landon Liboiron) which I think is a shame (or I just haven’t looked hard enough). Personally I’ve always gravitated to werewolves in horror novels and films versus vampires because of the honesty in which the werewolf operates. A werewolf cannot hide in a crowd when transformed, it is a brutal creature that kills versus a vampire that looks like anyone else when it is killing, save it’s fangs and distorted face. But really it all comes down to preference.

Overall, I would recommend Hemlock Grove to anyone that is open minded and loves Horror/Suspense shows. I can see Hemlock Grove as an acquired taste for some people and probably ridiculous to others. I personally love the Netflix Series (even with season three’s conclusion) and the novel by Brian McGreevy. I plan on re-reading the novel this summer and watching the series over again (I can’t count how many times I’ve seen the whole series, over and over again).

Please feel free to leave any responses in a comment below! I’d love to converse with any other fans of the series or expand on this small reflection in the future, given a specific topic.

 


 

If you are reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you return in the future!

-Alina