This was a show that when it was announced, I really didn’t give it much of a second thought. The zombie genre has been stretched almost as far as it can go and I knew very little of the comic from Vertigo that this series was being based on. This combination didn’t leave me with an overwhelming urge to invest in this show. However, my 13 year old daughter was excited for the launch and I kind of reluctantly decided to watch the first episode with her when it debuted. It turned out to be a great decision, as iZombie rather quickly became a weekly favorite for both us—not just giving us something to bond over (which is something that comes fairly infrequently once your children hit the teen years), but for also delivering a fresh twist on a somewhat tired genre.
Rose McIver was incredibly charming as Olivia “Liv” Moore, our lead character and recently turned zombie. The debut episode gives us a quick synopsis of how Liv became a zombie and we find out just how it’s affected her life, career and the relationships she has with friends & family. She takes a job as an assistant medical examiner, giving her access to the one food that she craves & can’t pick up at Whole Foods—brains. What she comes to learn is that consuming the brains of the deceased that find their way into the morgue gives her flashes of that persons memories, as well as the ability to take on the deceased’s personality. After that, the show hits the ground running—knowing very well what it is and the story it wants to tell. McIver is excellent in the lead role and coupled with the clever & witty writing, was able to bring the character to life (yeah, I see the irony there). As Liv dealt with a new career path, ever-evolving personal relationships and adjusting to life as a zombie, the supporting cast also changed and grew with her.
There’s Ravi, forensic pathologist and Liv’s boss in her new profession. He quickly figures out that Liv is a zombie and works throughout the season on a possible cure. These characters had great chemistry in this debut season and Ravi was an integral part in how Liv developed within her new state of being. It didn’t hurt that he was ok with his assistant snacking on the brains of the poor souls who got rolled into the morgue. David Anders was excellent in his role as Blaine, main antagonist for the show. He’s the one responsible for Liv’s transformation and is one of the most vital parts of the show. He has that “Spike from Buffy” vibe and I could see his role on the show—as well as his relationship with Liz—going down a somewhat similar path. The events of the season finale (no spoilers here!) definitely have me looking forward to what season 2 has in store for Blaine. But perhaps the most interesting supporting character was Major—whose relationship with Liv, as well as his story arc, took some surprising turns. I honestly didn’t think he’d be much of a player in the story but he became one of its most interesting components. When he and Liv split, I figured he’d kind of fade out as the season progressed but by the season finale he’d become the man taking the fight to Seattle’s zombies and a central character oniZombie. Much like Blaine, the season finale provided some intense changes for Major going into season 2. Clive Babineaux provided an entirely different layer to the show as the more serious, straight laced detective who often called on Liv and her “psychic” abilities to help him solve murders on a weekly basis. My biggest gripe with Clive was the fact that he knows something is off with Liv, yet he hasn’t questioned her about it at all. His obliviousness to it all makes the character come off a little doltish, which was a bit contradictory to how the detective approached everything else. Minor gripe though, as his character looks to take on a bigger role in season 2 following the last few minutes of iZombie’s season 1 finale.
iZombie takes the zombie genre and gives it a nice, lighthearted twist. You won’t find the same gruesome scenes you’d see in The Walking Dead, nor the suspense and terror of a George Romero classic. As a matter of fact, outside of a few instances, there’s really not much indication of what exactly Liv is capable of in “full-on zombie mode”—something that I can safely assume will be expanded upon next season. What you do get with Liv & company are doses of dark humor, coupled with some fun and clever writing. I didn’t expect a modern television classic when I jumped on board, but I was pleasantly surprised in some of the intricacies the show provided in its storytelling. Plus, my 13 year old and I have something to talk about—how cool is that? If you haven’t yet, iZombie is worth a watch; maybe I’ll be seeing some of you on the bandwagon for season 2.