Saturday 24 March 2018

Zombie heroine provides some RTÉ2 fun

iZombie: Rose McIvor plays Liz.
iZombie: Rose McIvor plays Liz.

John Boland

"What's the worst that can happen?" young doctor Liv's boyfriend asked when she declared her reluctance to accompany her emergency room colleagues for a party on a yacht.

Well, the yacht could be attacked by the undead, rendering Liv undead herself, which is precisely what happened to her in the opening scenes of iZombie, RTÉ2's latest American import - and one of the channel's more intriguing recent acquisitions, too.

Engagingly played by 27-year-old New Zealander Rose McIver (pictured), Liz takes up work in a morgue instead and finds herself craving to eat the brains of its dead inmates - thereby also ingesting the story of their lives and a knowledge of their fates.

Aided by her morgue boss Ravi, the only person who knows she's a zombie, she then sets out to solve murder cases alongside bemused black cop Clive.

Yes, it's daft and not nearly as distinctive as the Netflix fantasy drama, Jessica Jones, I wrote about last week, but the first episode was smart and sometimes very funny and I'll certainly give it another look.

Also smartly written, if a lot more serious, is the Norwegian political drama, Occupied (Sky Arts), which posits a near future in which Norway's government purports to run its own affairs while actually being ruled by a EU-backed Russia.

Oil, gas and alternative energy sources are the reasons behind the covert takeover, and if that all sounds somewhat undramatic, the first episode had the feel and pace of a thriller and was very well scripted and winningly performed.

Meanwhile, that other political thriller, Spin (More 4), continues to engross as rival candidates vie for the role left vacant by the assassinated French president. As the title suggests, spin doctors are to the fore here - one of them straining to maintain his integrity, the other using any grubby tactics that come his way.

And incidental plot strands continue to exert their grip, too, in a refreshingly adult, articulate and sophisticated drama.

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