Review–iZombie: Your next favorite TV series

Rose McIver iZombie

Review by C.J. Bunce

Raise your hand if you wish you could watch more adventures of Buffy Summers, Veronica Mars, Claire Bennet, or Tru Davies.  Fortunately you can get your fix here and there–you can find Buffy in comic books in Dark Horse Comics’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10, Veronica continues in a series of novels by Rob Thomas, Heroes is coming back to NBC, and, well, it doesn’t look like we’ll ever see Tru again.  But thanks to Veronica Mars’ creators Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero, a new strong woman-led series might make you think they are all back.

iZombie premiered Tuesday night adding another winner to the pantheon of solid hit shows the CW Network has been churning out of late, alongside Arrow, The Flash, Reign, Supernatural, and the Vampire Diaries.  iZombie follows Olivia “Liv” Moore, a cardiac medical student resident who ends up at a party on a boat where all the guests break out into an infection and become zombies.  Liv thinks fast and jumps off the boat, but not fast enough.  She’s scratched and dies, only to return as the undead.  Her so-called life crumbles from there and she ends up working for the medical examiner’s office where she can get easy access to unwanted brains, which she needs to eat to avoid getting mean and stupid.

Zombie brains

And the execution of that off-the-wall premise is simply brilliant.  There’s no hiding the fact that the voice of Rob Thomas’s Veronica Mars is echoed in Liv–many scenes aren’t just banter between characters, but chock full of Liv’s inner-thought narration.  It was that storytelling device that was a big part of what made Veronica so accessible and endearing.  And it even works for a zombie.

You don’t have to be a fan of the comic book source material, the zombie genre, or police procedurals (yep, it’s that, too) to get sucked into this series.  What’s most impressive is how quickly series lead Rose McIver becomes the smart and clever defeatist-turned-optimist heroine.  In episode 1 she’s already got that confidence and spunk that took Sarah Michelle Gellar and Kristen Bell at least a few episodes to grow into.

iZombie clip

Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • Otherworldly powers.  The visions of Eliza Dushku’s morgue worker Tru Davies from Tru Calling, as well as the camaraderie Tru shared with her boss Davis, played by Zach Galifianakis.  Liv has that same rapport with Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti, played by Rahul Kohli.
  • A put-upon Chosen One.  For whatever reason, Liv was singled out for this strange new calling.  Veronica Mars was a real-world version of Buffy in many ways.  It’s no wonder both Buffy’s quirkiness and determination come through in the voices of Veronica and Liv.  You can actually sit back with your eyes closed and easily hear from Liv the kind of dialogue we used to love from Joss Whedon.
  • An unstoppable heroine.  Liv has this new persona and new powers she doesn’t want, much like cheerleader-turned-heroine Claire Bennet in NBC’s Heroes.  Like Claire, Liv learns she’s a bit composed of the Teflon variety of mettle.  And like Claire and Buffy and Tru, Liv just wants to be normal again.
  • A clever detective.  The biggest influence on Liv is the sleuthing Veronica Mars.  Just like Veronica was inspired by Buffy yet became her own strong character, Liv has her own distinct and interesting voice.  But the storytelling is so, so trademark Veronica the Investigator with all those funny and snappy quips.

Don’t worry if you missed the first episode this week.  You can watch the entire first episode at the CW Network iZombie page here.


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