Earlier this year, 13 weeks to be exact, the first season of iZombie began airing on the CW; another DC/Vertigo adapted from the popular comic of the same name. However, unlike the other DC adaptations on the CW network, Batman & Flash.. Sorry, Arrow & Flash, this show is pretty far removed from the source material. In the interest of full discourse, I have only read about half of the comic series, but even then the changes are notable, aside from the premise: Zombie girl eats brains, gets vision of how person died and uses said vision information to solve murder, it’s a totally different story, the cast is different, hell, even the leading lady’s name is changed. Gone are the ghostly and were-terrier best friends and in is the witty British sidekick and ridiculously good-looking love interest. Despite the many, many changes we did get a fantastic TV show out of it.
Most shows take a little time to find their feet especially in a first season, but iZombie knew what it was and wanted to be from the word ‘go’ and no episode felt wasted or like it didn’t move some plot point along; all the characters came across fairly well-developed to begin with and just continued to grow as the season went on, the scripts were tight and funny but also surprisingly tough at some points but when the production come from the great Veronica Mars that too be expected. Rose McIver is outstanding as Liv, adapting seamlessly to every personality shift her next meal brings on and was clearly having fun with the role. She also succeeds in making Liv likable in her more moody “woe is me I’m a zombie” moments. Rahul Kohli as Ravi Chakrabarti brings A+ witty banter and much needed levity to some of the more serious Liv/Possible-zombie-apocalypse moments and is quite endearing as his romantic relationship develops later in the season. Robert Buckley as Major Lilywhite had a great character arc despite the character simply being the love that cannot be for the first few episodes. Malcolm Goodwin as Clive Babineaux probably had the least impact this season as his role was limited to ask Liv about brain visions then do cop stuff, but I’m hopeful with the events of the finale next year will give him his time to shine. David Anders as Blaine DeBeers was maybe my second favorite villain on TV this year (Reverse Flash was the first in case you are curious). Anders is always at his best when he’s a bad guy and Blaine is no different; charismatic and likable, but clearly a monster and not just because he’s a zombie. I’d also like to make special mention of the beautiful title art by Mike Allred and the awesome use of ‘Stop, I’m Already Dead’ by Deadboy and the Elephantmen alongside it makes for a super title card.
The show of course had its faults, the gamer brain episode relied on tired, fat nerd plays games and eats junk food jokes a little too heavily for my liking and the Major storyline, while good, telegraphed its ending pretty obviously. While I think the 13 episode count helped keep the story on track it also occasionally seemed to rush certain plot such as how quickly Babineaux buys into the M.E. being a psychic and the rapid progression of the Ravi romance plot. But honestly these are small things which barely impacted my enjoyment of the show.
Overall, this was a great first season of what could have been another disastrous comic adaptation or just a zombie fad cash in show. Hardcore fans of the series make take issue with the liberal use of the word adaptation here as it’s almost a totally different story, but I’d still recommend giving it a try because it’s a fun, charming, mostly upbeat show about a smart, witty zombie lady that solves crimes and how often can you say that when describing something!