iZombie is a sci-fi drama based on a graphic novel of the same, it was a mid-season show premiere for the CW and didn’t exactly premiere off the back of tonnes of hype and maybe that was a good thing as people unfamiliar with the existing material were open to the show and weren’t expecting it to necessarily be a certain way. I am one of those people who hasn’t read the novels and the show was a pleasant surprise for me, it’s a quirky, fun show and the most light hearted zombie TV show to date of course, featuring zombies functioning in everyday life without cannibalistic tendencies, though they do need to eat brains and do so in inventive ways.
The show follows Liv Moore (Rose McIver), a biology student turned forensics assistant, turned zombie, she gets infected by a zombie scratch (which is how Zombies’ turn people in the show) at a boat party and her life is changed forever, her passion and emotions are dulled, as is her complexion which is now pale and lifeless. Her relationships with the people closest to her in life are also changed, with her best friend Peyton – (Aly Michalka), her brother Evan (Nick Purcha) ex-boyfriend Major – (Robert Buckley) and forensic co-worker Ravi (Rahul Kohli), while Liv has to manage her personal life with her work life, keeping her undead secret from her new boss Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin). The cast itself is great, they all deliver consistently believable performances for the roles they play and they’re all great fits and that’s a credit of the shows’ writing, it’s very snappy and witty with characters often throwing in funny references or comparisons, it feels borderline Sitcom-y at times but the show has some of the funniest writing on the CW at the moment. Rose McIver especially is great as Liv being believably flat and disinterested in her natural zombie mode and then going through drastic personality changes as she eats brains, the shows’ character material is quite fun to watch as Rose essentially plays a new character each week.
The cast really helps bring life to the show (pun intended) with Blaine (David Anders) being the main antagonist, he’s also one of the funniest characters and the light entertainment feel and fun of the show is really brought because the characters are so vibrant in their own respective roles. The main characters as well as the supporting characters, from Blaines’ dumb henchmen to the witnesses or suspects they bring in for questioning each week, the show really feels like a comic book show and you get the feeling of each week feeling like a new issue in a comic book. And the show even has comic book panels in the opening title sequence and in scene transitions which is a nice touch. And that feeling is helped a lot by the procedural nature of the show for most of the first half with Liv eating the brains of a new victim each week and gaining their memories, mannerisms and characteristics temporarily, also a big and humorous part of the show, however morbid it may actually be, Liv is a functional zombie and that’s a good thing.
A lot of the comedy in the show is derived from the unreal circumstances that arise with Liv being a zombie and going through the motions, her odd demeanor is often shrugged off and knowing why she’s acting out as a viewer while some characters don’t has being a highlight. While the show also deals with a few darker and more emotional moments with Liv feeling out of touch with emotion and her loved ones, wanting to re-connect with Major and with feelings themselves, it also has an underlying theme on grief, as Liv, Ravi and Clive are dealing with homicides and it can take its’ tole on the mas people.
As we learn through the show, there are other zombies out there that need brains and Blaine creates a brain market to supply them, through nefarious means however, mostly involving kidnapping and killing at risk children. Blaine made a great bad guy as he’s complex, not purely evil but clearly out to service himself, he doesn’t care for the feelings of others and is a bit of an ass but he’s also servicing other zombies with brains. A good thing about the show is that portrays its character with some depth and there’s a lot of that with Liv, hating the fact that she’s a zombie but also retroactively being thankful for it considering some situations she’s been in, she wants to be as human as possible but knows she can’t be.
iZombie hasn’t delved into its’ own zombie lore a tonne but it’s an interesting spin on traditional mindless zombies that we’re used to and it’s a fun show, if you want action and something more heavy hitting there’s The Walking Dead or Gotham, if you want a fun comic book show you have The Flash, Agents Of Shield, Arrow and iZombie. And season 1 for it was a great starting point, establishing the tone and style of the show which is a hit so far, giving us an array of fun characters to follow and a world possibly filled with zombies to further explore.