Do you like zombies? Do you like actual zombies in your zombie TV shows? How about some semblance of joy in said shows?
Good, then you’ll probably be somewhat receptive when I suggest watching iZombie.
Loosely based off the Vertigo comic book series, iZombie is the comic book show that has flown under the radar for the past two years. Which is a shame because in a landscape of depressing, self-serious fantasy, iZombie manages to bring some levity to the genre.
Headed by Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas (not that one), iZombie picks up with Olivia “Liv” Moore (get it?), a promising young medical resident who decides to take a break from her perfect life and perfect fiancee to go with a friend to a boat party.
As these things happen, the party is the site of a zombie outbreak and Liv is infected. Now one of the living dead, Liv takes a job at a morgue to get the one thing she needs to stay sentient: human brains. But by consuming brains, Liv gets flashes of memories and personality traits from the owners, which leads her to helping a local investigator with a series of crimes, all while looking into the fallout from the party outbreak.
It’s part crime procedural, part horror genre, part angsty/pretty CW show, and it works because Rob Thomas knows exactly how to apply his schtick. The show is always popping with zippy exchanges and sly nods that nerd captains will enjoy.
There’s just so much playfulness going on with this show to dismiss it. Not just in Thomas’s trademark writing style but in how they handle the concept of zombieism. Zombies eating brains is Undead 101 — or a cliche if you want to be like that — so why not make it for a reason, then have a lot of fun with that reason?
Without getting to in depth, Liv isn’t the only zombie out there and the whole underground zombie world revolves around this one food source. Thus, we have some sketchy characters with unsavory methods wreaking terror on Seattle to keep hungry zombies fed, not to mention some interesting ways to keep this whole thing secret.
Each episode has a meticulous cooking montage of the essential gray matter that can compete with Hannibal in terms of yummy-lo0king meals you know are just wrong.
Of course, this is all failing to mention that, in having Liv take on the traits of the brain’s owner, star Rose McIver essentially runs the acting gamut over the show. Not only is she playing Liv and her occasional full-zombie mode, she’s also taking on a new personality each episode, ranging from a hacker, to an alcoholic, to an erotic fiction writer.
There’s a conspiracy or two, an ongoing “will they/won’t they” scenario, a respectable amount of gore and cameos from Thomas regulars like Daran Norris and Enrico Colantoni. Better still, each season is truncated at 13 episodes for the first season and 19 for the second season, making the show all the easier to devour.
You can catch the first two seasons of iZombie on Netflix and look forward to this spring when the show returns to the CW for its third season on April 4.
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