Last week I sat myself down and talked myself into watching the CW’s new comic adaptation, iZombie. Based (loosely) on the Vertigo comic book series by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred, the show’s received positive reviews and fan interest, but I have to admit – I was a very reluctant viewer.
The premise alone sounds cheesy. Liv – whose life is going super-duper-dandy (perfect fiancé, amazing job, super pretty, fantastic everything) – gets caught up in an isolated zombie attack. She awakens to find that she’s now a zombie, who can prevent turning into a complete monster as long as she snacks regularly on brains. Side-effect: by eating these brains, she connects with the person it belonged to – a literal you-are-what-you-eat. So, she uses this for good. She works in the morgue (free snacks) and helps solve crimes. Without much more information than that, it sounds like an awful version of Chew.
But, to my pleasant surprise, iZombie turned out to be so much more than that. I thoroughly enjoyed it. So, today – my experience watching the first 3 episodes.
Oh God, this really is super cheesy.
The first five minutes of iZombie embodies everything I feared the show would be. It’s cheesy, it’s embarrassing, it’s just…. No. But luckily, the whole Liv-becoming-the-unLiving thing is turned around pretty quick. There’s no dwelling on those six months where she tries to figure her life out. We jump straight in to where the good stuff is. We know she broke up with her fiancé to keep him safe, she sunk into a zombie-like depression, and she struggled to get herself on track. But that’s it. We find ourselves confronting Liv’s life when she realises she can use this undead thing to her advantage. She can actually help people.
Okay, I take it back – this is great.
Before I knew it, I was actually settled in and enjoying it. I was laughing – out loud – at the jokes. It’s essentially a police drama with a twist – and a fun one at that, even if it’s slightly silly. But iZombie knows it’s silly, and that’s what’s great! It’s comedy-drama with a heart – nothing groundbreaking, but one that you can sink into for 40 minutes, enjoy, and then carry on with your day. (Plus, the title sequence is really cool).
Rose McIver is fantastic as Liv. She completely owns the snarky, slightly-confused-by-the-whole-situation character Liv needs to be relatable. And every one of her accompanying cast members are as strong. There’s no annoying, whiny, idiotic characters – they all add depth. They’re not all likeable – oh no – I hate Blaine who is clearly up to something, but in that fantastic way that I love to hate him, rather than it making the show unbearable. The cast are so clearly in to what they’re doing, it makes it all the more fun to watch.
It’s also great to have a show that doesn’t skimp on the drama in favour of pushing other plot points through. iZombie successfully combines Liv’s personal struggles with the police drama, and both are thrown into the mixing pot with something that’s clearly so much bigger. But it’s not overwhelming – there’s just enough to be procedural but with an ever expanding intrigue. And it’s incredibly fast-paced. There’s no major dwelling points, no pausing for 10 minutes to have an argument about something. Even when Liv’s been upset, it’s been a passing voiceover – yet not passé. And so far, she’s always overcome her problems. She has an amazingly positive outlook for a zombie, and is able to transfer her energy into doing something productive.
My one complaint is that the show must be sponsored by Instagram. Seriously – how many times can you mention it in one episode?! Having said that, the show successfully uses social media in portraying the difficulties in growing up in the digital age.
I wanted to keep the events of the show as minimal as possible. I entered the show relatively blind, and came out with a positive view. I suggest you do the same. Shake off the worries, keep in mind the first five minutes are just the first five minutes, and embrace the life of the undead!