Show brings comic series back from dead

The new show iZombie is an unusual mix of genres, including all the best elements of crime, horror, comedy and drama that make the show incredibly enjoyable to watch. iZombie was created by Rob Thomas and Diana Ruggiero-Wright, and is an adaptation of the iZombie comic series by Chris Roberson.

From the premise and advertisements, I wasn’t too keen on watching the show, but when I heard it was co-created by Rob Thomas, who also created one of my favorite shows of all time, Veronica Mars, I decided to give it a try. I’m very thankful I did, because the show, which airs on the CW on Tuesdays at 9 p.m., is equal parts charming, hilarious and heartwarming.

The first episode starts off with a scene of Liv Moore, a talented medical resident, single-handedly saving a patient’s life. Afterwards, she is invited to a party by her coworker, and though at first she declines on the basis that she’s meeting up with her fiancé and that she’s not much of a party person, she eventually decides to go. Before the party, Liv Moore was an accomplished young woman with a job she loved, a fiance she adored, amazing friends and family, and a life she was happy with. After the party, she loses all of that and more when she becomes a zombie.

Five months after she wakes up as a zombie, Liv has become distant from those she loves. She broke off her engagement with her fiancé due to the fear that she’ll turn him into a zombie too, and her best friend, roommate and mother are worried about her.

She also quits her job at the hospital and starts working at the morgue, with her boss Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti. She uses her new job to acquire what she truly craves—human brains. Eating brains doesn’t just satisfy her new urges, however; they also give her flashes of memories from the person whose brain she ate, which helps her solve who killed them. An interesting twist is that Liv also temporarily gains the person’s personality traits, making her act out in ways she wouldn’t otherwise. Because of her new skill, she can help the Seattle Police Department with murder cases, though she pretends her knowledge comes from her being a psychic.

In addition to the plot being enjoyable, the cast is extremely talented. As I was watching, I noticed a lot of familiar faces. Rose McIver, who I knew from Petals on the Wind, Once Upon a Time, and The Lovely Bones, plays Liv. Robert Buckley, who I knew from One Tree Hill, plays Major, Liv’s ex fiancé. David Anders, who was also on Once Upon a Time as well as The Vampire Diaries, plays Blaine, the zombie who scratched and infected Liv and so far seems to be the main antagonist.

Alyson Michalka, whom most will know from Phil of the Future and Easy A, plays Liv’s best friend and roommate. The ones that stood out to me, though, were Malcolm Goodwin and Rahul Kohli. Goodwin plays Clive, a Seatle PD detective who is skeptical of Liv at first but ultimately needs her help. Kohli plays Ravi, who is the only one who knows Liv’s secret and helps her as much as he can.

Most of the characters are likable and well written, especially Liv, Clive, and Ravi. Liv is a great lead character, strong and kind and funny but also flawed. Her struggles with being a zombie and leaving her old life behind are well depicted, as well as her newfound happiness and purpose when she realizes she can use her gift to help people and bring justice.

Clive seems cold and unfriendly at first, but soon became one of my favorites. Ravi is endearing, loyal, and hilarious, and I hope we find out more about both of them as individuals in coming episodes. I do wish there were more main female characters, since as of right now Liv is the only one. Peyton, Liv’s best friend, is recurring, and the rest of the cast is all male. The weakest character so far is Liv’s ex-fiance, Major, who is sweet but not too interesting. However, Blaine is a great antagonist and though we know he is manipulative, conniving and a murderer, he’s still a mystery.

The dynamics between the characters are also well set up. Liv and Clive going from distrust and slight antagonism to working together as partners was great to watch, and I am excited to see them become closer friends. Liv and Ravi’s friendship is also really adorable, especially because he is the one person who knows her secret and whom she can trust.

It is unclear whom they are setting up as a love interest for Liv, as it is unlikely that they would revisit Liv and Major as a permanent relationship. I hope it’s Ravi, because I’d love to see their friendship turn into something more. The brief bits that we have gotten of Liv and Peyton’s friendship is also great and so is the family dynamic between Liv, her mom and her brother, though that doesn’t seem to be a focus and could certainly be elaborated upon.

The plot for the rest of the season, which will consist of 13 episodes, is set up well, with the characters solving a different crime every episode, similar to Veronica Mars. Yet, there is the larger mystery of Liv’s zombie condition, finding a cure, and Blaine’s sinister operation of selling brains to zombies that he has presumably turned. The atmosphere of the show is light and entertaining, and though it’s clearly aimed at teenagers, a lot of different audiences could enjoy it. I had never been particularly interested in zombie shows before, but iZombie is a refreshing take on the genre and a show worth giving a chance.

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