Plot: Liv Moore (Rose McIver) seems to have her life under control, as she works as a medical resident and is engaged to her sweetheart, Major (Robert Buckley). But when she attends a party that is swarmed by zombies, she is attacked and left with some harsh wounds, not to mention a changed life. Now she can still think and talk like always, but her skin is pale and her hair has turned white. As she doesn’t understand her new condition, she is horrified that she might transmit it to Major or someone else she loves, so she panics. She breaks off her engagement and quits her residency, then takes a job in the medical examiner’s office. This proves to be a wise move, as if she doesn’t eat brains from time to time, the zombie side of her will rage out of control. In a strange twist, she can also consume the memories of the deceased when she feeds, so this allows her to gain insight into how they were killed. Has Liv found a way to use her zombie powers for the greater good?
Entertainment Value: Based on a comic book, iZombie proves that both zombies and detective shows still had some fresh twists available. The premise is quite cool, as an ambitious young woman is turned into a zombie, but can retain some of her human qualities if she feeds now and then. She can also use the brains to see beyond the grave and she helps the police with the murder cases, under the guise that she is a psychic, not a zombie crime master. The show has a brisk dialogue style, which works well and Rob Thomas was an executive producer, that’s no surprise. As is this is a CW show, it aims at a younger audience than most shows of this kind, but most anyone who appreciates the genre could enjoy this, I think. The show operates on the usual “case of the week” style approach, so you can watch at a slower pace or binge, but never feel like you might forget some crucial elements. There isn’t a lot of depth to the narrative or numerous ongoing threads, but there are some arcs that build over the full season. Overall though, each episode is self contained once the premise is revealed.
The cast seems to be a good fit for the material, with Rose McIver in the lead and she carries the show well. She has a great look for the part and is able to balance the kind, generous side with the monstrous zombie side. McIver brings capable screen presence and a lot of charisma, which ensures she plays off her costars well. The other main cast members include Robert Buckley, David Anders, Rahul Kholi, and Malcolm Goodwin, all of whom are solid here. Some stand out more than others, depending on their specific presence in an episode and level of screen time. I do wish more time was taken to show the dynamics between some of the supporting players, but this is the Liv show, so I get the reason behind that. The production values are quite good too, with a cool visual presence and fun zombie elements. The horror is very limited and no blood & guts, but I appreciate the attempt to make some fresh zombie content. I had fun with this first season, as it has sharp dialogue and some interesting takes on the zombie genre, which is rare these days. If you’re a fan of CW style drama/humor and/or detective shows, iZombie is worth a look. I’m interested to see where the second season goes, based on the conclusion of this first set of episodes.