IZOMBIE SEASON 5
After the epic failure that was the fourth season, iZombie had to do its best to try to come in for a soft landing, but it only succeeds in kinda sorta digging its way out of the giant hole it fell in. It never gets back on the right road, sadly. The way Rob Thomas chose to blow up the premise of the series last year, there was no real way to undo that. So zombies are out and about, Seattle is quarantined off and there’s no more need for our hero Liv (Rose McIver), to have a secret identity. This led to a wide array of confusing and chaotic storylines that the writers can’t quite knot their way out of, but I think it’s obvious they did at least realize that the heart of the show was Liv and Clive (and Ravi) solving murders using Liv’s adopted victim brain foods, so even though there is no logical reason any of them should be having to do this anymore, the show does go back to those episodic adventures. Thankfully, that makes this season bearable to get through, because the rest of the continued stuff with Mercy Graves (which Major is now stuck in charge of), Mayor Peyton (a character who was never anything but boring), Liv’s suddenly appeared father she never knew who apparently created the original zombie drug (whaaa?) and the ongoing shenanigans of Blaine and Don E, it’s impossible to keep up with everything that’s going on or understand the point of a lot of it. But on the bright side, we get a whole episode that uses Ravi, Liv and Clive to spoof the Dirty Dancing montage, which practically makes the season worth it. The cast chemistry is still there and these actors were always delightful to spend time with when they weren’t being bogged down in indecipherable plot lines. I will miss watching them trade quips and enjoy each other’s company, but I won’t miss the show, which nose-dived during Season 4 and never really recovered. I think Rob Thomas is a guy who simply can’t go the distance.
SWAMP THING SEASON 1
Speaking of aborted shows, Swamp Thing also had its work cut out for it in simply getting anyone to tune in after the DCU unceremoniously canceled the series after just one episode had aired. Talk about getting the shaft. Still, I chose to slug it out and watch all ten episodes of what will be the only season of Swamp Thing (unless it gets miraculously revived, which is highly unlikely at this point), and it was a worthwhile experience that I wish more people had gotten to have. The classic DC character created in the 70’s is given the monster movie treatment here, played by two different actors (Derek Mears in his human form as Alec Holland, and Andy Bean after he becomes the swamp monster) and is given life and a real soul in this very faithful adaptation, which combines some of the original 1970’s comics origins with the groundbreaking, revered take on the character revived by Alan Moore in the 1980’s. A really good cast rounds out the ensemble as the show takes its time to build the world of Marais, Louisiana, with Crystal Reed centered as Swamp Thing’s true love Dr. Abby Arcane, Will Patton as the nefarious Avery Sunderland, Virginia Madsen as his wife, Jennifer Beals as the town sheriff and Kevin Durand as Jason Woodrue (soon to be or would-have-been Swamp Thing’s enemy Floronic Man). The show incorporates horror elements in every episode and the special effects in terms of Swamp Thing himself and the various demons and magical creatures inhabiting the swamp are effective and chilling. It’s really too bad the show has such a rushed and abrupt ending after building storylines with a clear direction and seeds being planted for the future. There’s a lot of potential here that will now go to waste. A real shame.