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iZombie pilot review: “You are what you eat.”


Ambitious and bright Olivia Moore was living the dream. She was a doctor and had a fiance that echoed the heart-throbiness of Jake Ryan. It was all a charmed life, that is, until she decided to party. She attends a boat party to prove she’s not an “over-achieving pain in the ass” after her fiance begs the question ‘what could possibly go wrong’? Turns out, everything.

The CW’s newest show iZombie premiered Tuesday night, throwing in it’s own twist into a deep pool of zombie fatigue. But protagonist Liv (Rose McIver) is anything but the drooling, stumbling type. This zombie has the ability to take on the memories of the owners of the brains she consumes – and solve crimes.

The infamous boat party ends up being a breeding ground for zombies as many of the guests are taking a new, experimental drug. Liv manages to escape the madness with only a scratch, but it is a scratch that turns her into some sort of semi-zombie. She still remains herself to a certain extend.

She’s hair becomes a shocking white blonde and her skin translucent, and has about a much enthusiasm to not-live as the rest of the post-graduate world. Gone is the fiance, the life-saving job as a doctor and the long locks of brown hair. What Liz becomes is a coroner’s assistant with the same amount of spirit as the corpses she works on.

The entire cast that makes up Liv’s old “living life” is a bit…vanilla – like the ultimate yuppies. They’re a bit infuriating, and maybe not in the way they are meant to be. Instead of supportive, everyone comes off as a bit impatient, but mostly incredibly bland. They’re all completely oblivious to her new afterlife as a zombie as they attempt to stage an intervention thinking she has PTSD from the party.

Her boss Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli) is quick to catch on to Liv’s unique diet, but allows to keep her on in hopes of helping her get her life back. But it isn’t until she follows Detective Babinaux (Malcolm Goodwin) to solve the crime of a dead escort who’s brains she ate, that she finds a new direction in life. One where she can use her er… “gifts” in a productive way.

The series is based on the Vertigo comic of the same name, and there are plenty of bits that reference the (excellent) original source work. At times it is a bit painful or unnecessary (like in the beginning of every scene), but it can also be fun. The homage works really works best in the opening credits, which retell Liv’s backstory in comic form. Interestingly enough, the artwork for the credits was done by iZombie artist and Madman creator Michael Allred.

There has been plenty written that Liv could be the CW’s next Buffy or Veronica Mars. But if that’s going to be true, she has a lot left to prove. If she’s allowed to stick around for awhile and find her footing, there is definitely potential for this show to have a solid fan base much like the comic itself.

iZombie could be fun, but if not carefully tended to could become another weekly snooze. McIver brings enough sass to keep Liv alive, and hopefully she will get the chance to do so.  The rest of the cast (I’m looking at you, boring family) are ignored or developed properly, this could be another show to put in the grave.

If you missed Tuesday night’s premier, the episode is free to watch on The CW’s website here.