If I had to describe this first episode in a word that word would definitely be ‘charming’. I don’t know much about iZombie only recently learning that it was a comic book and judging by the opening credits it’s a Vertigo book at that. When I first heard that the show was coming and that it was based on a comic what the title brought to mind was something closer to Clueless meets iCarly with the visual aesthetic of Zombie Tramp. Some satire of celebrity using a zombie who is super into fashion and a little shallow but ultimately loveable and has a YouTube series where she talks about fashion and graveyards as well as an Instagram where she posts pictures of her brain based food and Pinterest’s the brain based recipes. Maybe I’m weird or maybe it’s poorly named. The premise, instead, is a pretty straightforward ‘gifted detective’ story. You could probably slot it into the ‘psychic detective’ genre but really it’s the same as Monk or Psych or The Mentalist or Lie to Me or any of those kinds of shows. The zombie twist is nice though and makes it stand out on its own a little bit better. By eating the brains of those she exams medically at the morgue she works at she gets visions. She can also adopt personality traits and apparently language as she learns Romanian and becomes a kleptomaniac by eating this week’s brain and trying to keep her zombie status a secret also helps to create tension in the setting.
The little flashes of comic drawings to introduce the next scene and the great narration mechanic they use really helps add personality and quirk to what could be a pretty boring show. All those little bits help but what made everything really pop for me was the cast. They did a good job of assembling a cast that has excellent chemistry. Everybody puts in their A-game and they all work well together. Our three mains are each unique and work well as a group and as their various pairings. The only one we get to see alone is Liv, our titular zombie, and she is interesting enough to carry scenes by herself even though she works best playing off her M.E. boss or her detective partner. Her supporting cast, namely her family and her ex, do well enough with the brief time they’re given providing a bunch of interesting and conflicting personalities. Not that those personalities are well-rounded or 3 dimensional, because they aren’t, they’re prone to broad characterization but not in a way that pulls me out of the story. All in all, despite its flaws, it connects me to the cast and makes me want to see more of what will happen. Add in a reveal of an antagonist as potentially supernatural as Liv and you got something that could carry the show all the way to mid-season without a problem.
Watch iZombie on CW, Tuesday 9/8 C