April 6, 2017, 8:08 am
Two of my favorite shows came back this week, and I was worried about both of them, because it's apparently tough to keep quality going for multiple seasons in a TV show.
My favorite current show, iZombie, came back for its third season this week. To be honest, this is the one I was most worried about, because it has been cleverly written, yet just campy enough for two seasons, and that's a big accomplishment. So naturally I worried that season three would let me down. First, let me synopsize (which, according to autocorrect, apparently is a word) the plot: Liv, a medical doctor, went to a party where she didn't know a local drug dealer was infected by a tainted energy drink that turned him into a zombie. He scratches her (and kills a lot of other people) and she turns into a zombie who hasn't fully converted to the Romero shambling, mindless things. As long as she can find brains to eat, she'll stay mostly human, part zombie. So she quits medicine on live people and starts working at the medical examiner's office, where she has ready access to brains. One side-effect: she gains some of the memories and attributes of the brains she eats, so turns out she's good at solving murders using those memories.
I know. It sounds like a stupid premise. But it is like chocolate cake wrapped up in another chocolate cake, melted down and fried in chocolate cake batter. The characters she gets involved with (the medical examiner, who quickly discovers her zombie-ism and works to help her, the roommate who works at the DA's office, the cop she ends up helping solve murders, the boyfriend who becomes a zombie himself, the drug dealer who turns zombie entrepreneur by opening a funeral home, scratching new people and then extorting them in exchange for brains) and the writing are exquisite. So naturally, when, at the end of season two, she discovers an entire zombie army that's going to set itself up in Seattle as the zombie home base, I worried.
But I had nothing to worry about. The writers are still excellent, and the show still entertained, with Liv and Clive (the cop) trying to work out what to do with the knowledge that zombies are setting up base in their town, Blaine (the former villain who is now an amnesiac) trying to piece together who he used to be—with the help of the assistant DA, who happens to be Ravi (the medical examiner)'s ex-girlfriend. It makes for a multilayered, fun, still-campy ride as they struggle to deal with the invasion and still come up with a cure that doesn't leave everyone completely memory-less.
Ah, iZombie, thank you for coming back strong.
Agents of Shield
Agents of Shield, Marvel's mostly-human government agency charged with protecting humans from the super-powered, is only coming back from its mid-season break, but it was a pretty big one. A former ally has turned on the agency and trapped most of its top people inside a Matrix-like dream state called The Framework so he can ... well, I'm not really sure of his motivations. Doesn't matter.
In any case, I was worried, because the Framework is an alternate reality where the greatest pain of their lives has been removed, so their lives are completely different and satisfying. Agent Coulson, the director of Shield, never joined the agency inside the Framework, so he's a high school teacher. Agent May never shot a little girl, who later went on to kill hundreds of people, so she's an agent at Hydra now, trying to make up for letting that girl go. It goes on and on, but you get the picture. The truth is, I was worried that this was a post-jumped the shark plot ploy to give the writers something else to do.
But I was wrong.
The Framework feels eerily real, like the way America could easily become after a massive terrorist attack where one person with supernatural powers killed a bunch of people and there was nothing anyone could do to stop her. It feels very much like post 9/11 America if there had been a second shoe drop. It's totalitarian, and citizens are brainwashed into valuing the state above the individual, to turning in neighbors who they believe to be "subversive."
If you could imagine Scientology as a government, this second-half of the Shield season feels very much like that, and it's thrilling.
So I'm glad Shield didn't fumble either.
Go watch both these shows. Do it. I'll wait. ... ... ... See? I was right!