WARNING: This review has some minor spoilers; however, I have tried to keep this as spoiler free as possible. Those who have not watched the episode yet have been warned. Also, just for heads up, reviews of future episodes will be spoiler-heavy.
I, Zombie was one of my most anticipated shows that debuted this midseason. The CW have been on a roll lately with some excellent shows – Arrow, The 100, The Flash and The Originals have all been great, so I was very interested in finding out what I, Zombie would be like. I haven’t actually seen Veronica Mars, which shares the same executive producer (Rob Thomas), but I have watched the 2014 film, and I can very much see the similarities between both. I, Zombie is sort of what Veronica Mars would be if Veronica Mars was a zombie, so you can expect similar tones here. I haven’t actually read the comic that I, Zombie’s based upon, so don’t expect comparisons here either. It’s certainly something that’s high on my to-read list, though, as Vertigo Comics is a publisher that’s known for their quality output.
Yes, it may feel like we’ve reached peak zombie hysteria, with The Walking Dead (and its upcoming spinoff), as well as the other more recent stuff like the Brad Pitt film World War Z and the SyFy show Z Nation, but for fans who are perhaps growing tired of the bloodlust, I, Zombie, is a different take on them altogether. In this case, Subject A is the lead character, Olivia “Liv” Moore (Rose McIver). She’s an intelligent character who’s not afraid to spurt one-liners left, right and centre, but one of the main differences between her and her family is that she’s a zombie. Waking up following her supposed death after attending a boat party, that happened to unleash the start of a zombie outbreak (for now, that zombie outbreak seems to be contained) Liv seems to be the sole survivor (even though she’s dead), and is keeping the secret from pretty much everybody. Now she works in the Morgue, able to feed on the brains of the recently deceased, and helps the police solve crimes. So at first it looks like it’s going to follow the format of most freshman series, and become a procedural, with the supernatural elements that come with zombies. It’ll be interesting to see how much heavier the show’s writers delve into that aspect going forward as Liv’s world is continued to be fleshed out. It’s too early to call with just the first episode as to what we can expect.
McIver is really good here as Liv. She’s a fun, charismatic lead who should be great to follow going forward, giving the zombie elements of Liv enough difference from the human Liv yet making us feel like they’re one and the same. Her character is going to be really interesting to follow and it’ll be fun to see how long they can keep the secret up, with the show being also comparable to ABC’s Forever in that regard, even if slightly different in tone. There, Henry Morgan is an immortal man trying to solve crimes whilst keeping his ability secret. Here, Liv is doing the same with her newfound zombie powers, and there’s a lot of room for stuff to come.
Yes, as with most pilots, there’s a lot of exposition, but it’s far from the weakest pilot that we’ve seen on the CW, and there’s loads of potential here to become a really good show. The various side characters at this point are interesting, with co-worker Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli) making a pretty fun addition, even if his complete and total acceptance of Liv as a zombie might be a bit of a stretch. The Detective Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin) also serves as the most interesting human character in this pilot and is handled pretty well. Most shows could drag out the detective not knowing about Liv’s abilities for the whole season but I, Zombie shifts the truth, allowing him to know some truth, but not the whole truth. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes. However, that said, not all the characters work as well as the three that I’ve already mentioned, with Liv’s family and ex-fiancé being quickly dull and forgettable. But then, you have to remember that this is only the first episode, and there’s plenty of room to explore from here.
So in short, don’t go in expecting The Walking Dead, with a grimdark, no-hope outlook on life. I, Zombie gives us a unique and entirely fresh take on zombies, with a great performance from Rose McIver. Yes, it’s not a perfect pilot, but it’s still pretty good and should be worth sticking with for sure, with there being loads of potential.
Did you watch I, Zombie? What did you think of the first episode? Are you planning to stick around for more? Let me know in the comments below.