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Here we sit, on the precipice of the climactic battle that is The Pop Filter Television Challenge: March Madness Bracket. This penultimate battle pits Bloodline against iZombie. The winner goes on to fight the good fight against The Last Man on Earth. The loser will be forced to eat an entire bag of dicks. We don’t mean to be hyperbolic in saying this, but nothing has ever mattered more in the history of human existence ever and fuck your face if you disagree. This battle is a tough one, so buckle up.
To begin with, iZombie gives us an in-depth look at the life of a doctor-turned-morgue-worker-so-she-can-humanely-consume-brains that is shockingly poignant. Using its unique voice, iZombie actually has something to say. Its message is delivered through sound writing that makes us not mind how formula-driven the plot is and strong actors who are able to deliver the absurdly cheeky dialogue. The character development and chemistry is not just crucial to the fabric of the show, but is also wholly organic. And if it seems remarkably well-put together for a freshman show, it’s because iZombie is a daughter to Veronica Mars. It has the same creator/head writer Rob Thomas and both share writer Diane Ruggiero. Thomas and Ruggiero benefit from the fact that they have already spent three seasons figuring out a style that portrays a strong female character within the confines of a formula driven plotline with quippy dialogue. Liv Moore (I know, it’s so good it can get away with that shit) makes decisions entirely on her own while never coming across as distant or aloof. Ya know, like an actual lead character. What these two learned during their stint at Veronica Mars bleeds through in iZombie. And much like its “mother,â€ iZombie can look forward to having a cult-following of die hard fans. These demonstrations of agency, pathos and abject loneliness all go to give this comedy about a zombie/fake psychic seen in a one-and-done police procedural a heretofore unseen amount of watchability and depth.
But you guys, like, Bloodline, though. Watching this show is mind-melting. Over the course of these first three episodes, you have to remind yourself to breath. A lot. This show grabs you by the dick (we assure readers of all genders that you don’t need a dick in order to be metaphorically grabbed by it) and refuses to let go. Scenes are fraught with tension, anger and passion bubbling so slightly below the surface that it becomes difficult to tell how deeply into depression any given character has fallen. We could probably write about Danny, the ne’erdowell brother, for another 5,000 words alone and still have barely scratched the surface as to what makes him monstrously good or tragically bad. The same can be said for his onlydowell cop brother, John. And that’s two of ten characters that make this show so compelling. This show’s treatment of its characters is so remarkably complex that this fictional family’s story plays out like an exposÃ¨ on the actual dynamics of human interaction. It’s never clear-cut who the good-guys and who the bad-guys are. The cast defies the characteristics that classic-storytelling demands in the best possible way–by being too authentic. It’s the most psychologically honest show we have ever seen. But the most complimentary thing I can say about this show is that it closely resembles the winner of the last bracket, Transparent, with its nuanced and graceful universe building, only without a whiff of comedy. And though a balance between comedy and drama is ordinarily very important, it totally does not fucking matter for shit here. This show is scene after gut-wrenching scene that refuses to even attempt to make you laugh. And it works. In short, this is a wholly remarkable television show.
We, Jason and Stephanie, kick out a show as amazingly entertaining and beautifully constructed as iZombie to move on the more deserving Bloodline. The Last Man on Earth, you better watch yourself. This show is not fucking around.