Veronica Mars is a way of life for many fans. The idea that another show could nail the recipe for a modern noir drama with quippy dialogue, an expansive world of engrossing mysteries and a kick-butt, smart female lead seems preposterous. At least it did until Veronica Mars' creator Rob Thomas brought iZombie to The CW.
The zombie part of the title can be off-putting if you are not a genre fan or are simply sick of the walking dead lurching all over pop culture. However, the zombies on iZombie are far more fascinating than your average "grr, argh"-style mindless killing machines. They are fully conscious characters for starters. Our lead Liv Moore (irony!) was well on her way to becoming an amazing doctor and the wife of sexy social worker Major before she was scratched at a party and woke up in a body bag craving brains. Yes, she eats brains, but if she didn't, iZombie wouldn't have a hook for its procedural storytelling.
After the attack, Liv begins working in a morgue and with the help of her boss/friend Ravi, eating the brains of the victims who end up on their table. Every time Liv consumes the brains of a victim she takes on aspects of their personalities and sees visions that help her solve their murders. In turn, Liv gets a reason to keep living her undead life now that she can use her situation to help others.
If you love Veronica Mars, genre storytelling, cool female characters or procedurals with a twist, iZombie needs to be on your watch list. Need more reasons? I've got some.
Rose McIver (Once Upon a Time) breathes so much life into Liv. The character is struggling to stay in touch with her humanity and make the most of her life, even though she is a zombie. Watching Liv adjust to her new normal is a roller-coaster ride of emotions. Sometimes she's silly, other times she's bitter or depressed. Further complicating her already complicated life are the different personas she takes on each time she feeds. Liv is seriously complex, strong and she offers up Veronica Mars-esque voiceovers in each episode to give viewers a glimpse inside her thought process.
Liv is surrounded by an amazing support group. Ravi is the only (living) person who knows Liv is a zombie, and he is completely unfazed by it. His goofy, witty charms make his interactions with Liv a constant highlight. Meanwhile, Liv's partner in solving crimes is Clive, a rookie cop who thinks Liv is a psychic. There is a good chance you might ship Clive/Liv, unless you're team Major. Liv's gorgeous ex is not just there for angst, he has his own motivations and is constantly contributing to the show's overarching plot in surprising ways.
Then there's Liv's family: her best friend Peyton, her mom Eva and little brother Evan. Since none of them know what happened to Liv, watching them interact with her is painful and sweet all at once. They also provide just the right amount of tension as we wait for them to figure out what Liv is hiding.
David Anders is so good as the villainous zombie Blaine it hurts. Blaine is everything Liv is not: morally bankrupt and all id. He loves being a zombie and basks in the perks of being undead. He also happens to be the guy who turned Liv. If you ship it, no one will judge you.
Maybe you just want a good case of the week show to watch. iZombie is a great one. An overarching mythology and story are at play, but each week the case is self-contained. One week, Liv is trying to track down the killer of a sociopath and the next, she is battling maternal instincts to find out what happened to a woman who died before giving birth. The cases are interesting all on their own, and they're made even better by Liv's personal connection to them.
Like Buffy and Veronica Mars before it, iZombie has a big heart. Genre shows like The Walking Dead and American Horror Story are more about sprawling landscapes, gore and plot than they are about characters. iZombie is bringing back all of the elements that made Buffy so addictive: a strong central character, a terrific ensemble, humor and real danger. Whether you are a zombie fan or not, iZombie has something that will hook you if you are willing to give it a chance.
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