Four episodes were provided for review purposes prior to broadcast.
A spunky and sharp-witted antidote to grim, gory zombie shows like AMC’s The Walking Dead and Syfy’s Z Nation, The CW’s iZombie is a shockingly well-timed series, especially given its inescapably ill-fitting and already dated title. Arriving in the middle of an unappealing glut of undead-centric projects, the show exceeds any expectations one might have, quickly setting itself apart with a smart sense of humor and gratifying self-awareness. Maybe that shouldn’t come as a surprise though, given its creator: Rob Thomas, of Veronica Mars fame.
Much like that beloved series, iZombie centers on an unconventional detective whose quippy, plucky disposition is swiftly established via charming voice-over. Also like Veronica Mars, she has recently gone through a traumatic, transformative experience and finds herself dealing with an ex-flame and a geeky sidekick. In other words, Thomas hasn’t adjusted his target demographic one smidge – the same people who made Veronica Mars a cult phenomenon could very well do the same for this series, and based on the first four episodes, they’ll likely be more than happy to.
Introductions are handled with admirable briskness. Olivia ‘Liv’ Moore (Rose McIver) has it all – she’s a heroic doctor, saving lives left and right during the day, falling into the arms of dreamboat Major (Robert Buckley) by night. With a wedding on the horizon, her future is blindingly bright. When she attends a boat party that’s crashed by dozens of ravenous revenants, though, all of that changes in a heartbeat. Liv awakens in a body bag on a beach, her hair a shocking white, her skin unnaturally pale and her stomach grumbling for some gray matter. Depressed and resigned to a future as something monstrous, Liv switches career paths, getting a job at the morgue that will allow her to satiate her hunger in secrecy, and dumps the beau. After all, saying “till death do us part” seems kind of redundant at this point.
Soon, though, Liv learns that munching brains has given her an extraordinary power – the ability to see glimpses of other people’s lives and deaths, and to acquire some of their skills (here’s hoping for a Chuck-like “I know kung fu” moment in the near future). When a detective (Malcolm Goodwin) observes this ability, he takes her on as a case consultant, believing her to be psychic. Though reluctant at first, Liv eventually realizes that solving crimes might be the only way for her to feel like a hero, or even just human, again.