Thursday, April 2, 2015

6 Reasons Why You Need to Be Watching the CW's 'iZombie'

The Main Title Sequence and Title Cards

This is honestly a rather small reason but still unique. iZombie is not the first TV show based on a comic book but it is one of the first to incorporate the comic book artist's work into the show itself. Mike Allred, the artist of theiZombie book, has designed both the awesome title sequence and the title card that signal act breaks. It givesiZombie a nice visual aesthetic to build upon while creating his own look. 


Rose McIver as Liv

Rose McIver may not be unknown, but she's far from immediately recognizable to audiences. She has played Tinkerbell in Once Upon A Time, Vivian Scully in Masters of Sex but perhaps most importantly she was a yellow Power Ranger. Regardless iZombie is a fantastic starring vehicle for her. Not only is Liv a great character in herself, it's quite complicated being an undead American. When Liv eats brains she takes on traits of the previous owner. In the pilot we see her develop kleptomania and learn to speak fluent Russia, much to Liv's chagrin and our amusement. McIver takes the weird and kooky of the show and grounds it in her performance, while still being plenty humorous as just regular Liv. 

Rahul Kohli as Ravi (and the Rest of the Supporting Cast)

The majority of the pilot revolves around Liv adjusting to undead life, so there isn't much of a showcase for the supporting cast. They're all solid and Malcolm Goodwin as Liv's police officer partner, Clive, has one of the best lines, calling Liv and himself "Cagney and Pasty".
Yet even with relatively little screen time Rahul Kohli as Ravi is the true standout. Ravi is Liv's co-worker and the only one who knows her true identity as a zombie. A secret he is more than happy to keep because Ravi like many, is a big zombie fan.  He brings a lot of needed self-aware humor to the proceedings. In one episode Ravi and Liv have already established a playful banter that will undoubtedly make their interactions a joy to watch.

A New Twist on Zombies

As I stated in the intro, I have zombie fatigue. Zombie were pretty low on the monster totem pole before this popularity explosion and they still are but iZombie is different from many other zombie shows. Liv explains that if she doesn't sustain herself on a steady diet of brains she got turn into a mindless moaning killing machine. Yet as long as the brain keep coming she stays mostly herself expect for the pasty complexion and the whole still being dead thing. In fact zombies in the universe seem akin to something the vampires from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Liv acting as David Boreanaz's Angel. A pretty excellent rock to build your own monster mythology church.  

In fact, your enjoyment of Buffy is a pretty good barometer for how you'll feel about iZombie. Besides a similar hairstyle, Liv shares a lot with Buffy Summers. She has a biting sense humor, super-strength powers, a complicated love life and overall strong altruism. Of course there is another strong TV heroine that Liv has more than a bit in common.

From the Brains Behind Veronica Mars...

I've buried the lead here because the creative team of Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero. Rob Thomas is the creator of the show Veronica Mars and Diane Ruggiero helped him pen the kickstarter-funded movie of the same name and star. iZombie shares a lot with Veronica Mars and that is hardly a bad thing. Even though Veronica Marsfinished airing close to ten years ago and there are a fair number of diehard fans, there is still nothing quite like it on TV now. Nothing has shared that same type of voice, the sense of humor and the sense of consequence. 

Even though they share a similar concept and voice, iZombie is not a carbon copy of Veronica Mars. The fact is that while both shows were detective dramas, they are character dramas first. The best moment of the pilot is Liv in a heart-breaking scene explaining why she can't have the same life she had before. She has to give up all her previous life, dreams and isolate herself from her love one. She can't be with the man she loves for fear of transmitting her undead disease. It's this human element and emotion that Veronica Mars employed so well that makes iZombie similarly successful. 

Finally a Female Superhero on the CW

The CW has had much success with superhero shows recently but none of them have been female led. While Liv might not wear any spandex, her ability to chase down running cars and survive speeding bullets qualifies her. Even Liv can't technically breathe this is a breath of fresh air. Rob Thomas has proven in the past he can create a strong heroine and in one episode it's clear he hasn't lost his touch.

iZombie airs Tuesdays at 9:00pm on The CW.

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