iZombie: The CW’s Not So Cliche Zombie Creation

On Tuesday March 17th, CW aired a show that is the answer to the prayers of Veronica Mars fans everywhere. iZombie Rob Thomas’s latest TV project, which he is the creator and is an executive producer of, stars Rose McIver. The show centers around Liv, a former over-achieving aspiring surgeon, who wakes up a zombie after a zombie outbreak happens at a party she is at. Now, Liv finds herself working as an undead mortician, where she learns she absorbs the personality traits and memories of the people whose brains she eats. iZombie is far from the typical zombie shows that have been trending the past few years. Combining the format of a crime procedural with elements of the supernatural, a snarky female lead and clever dialogue, Rob Thomas has created an entertaining new show that is a strong follow-up to his previous TV creation, Veronica Mars.

The pilot episode does a great job of establishing the characters, and setting up the universe or realm of the show without going too in depth into the zombie origin story. The show briefly goes into the backstory on the zombie outbreak, which is caused by a new designer drug being used at raves. Even with the supernatural elements to this show, it is more character-driven than end of the world, apocalypse-centered. Each episode of iZombie, Liv uses her new-found Zombie powers to try to solve a crime, as she continues to unravel and rediscover her identity through eating brains from the morgue.  In the second episode, the show introduces a new character and potential villain in the series Blaine, who unlike Liv seems to be embracing his Zombie side, and is set on expanding the zombie population. Unlike largely popular zombie shows such as the Walking Dead, a refreshing twist on the zombie sub-genre, because iZombie is about reinventing yourself after death, not a world-wide apocalypse.

iZombie has some classic Rob Thomas flare that will feel familiar to Veronica Mars fans, both aesthetically and thematically. The elements of voiceover to experience the character’s inner thoughts, immediately made me recognize that this show was created from the same brain as Veronica Mars. Also, the use of flashbacks and the color color palette of the show are both Rob Thomas signatures from Veronica Mars. The main character in iZombie, Liv, has some similarities to CW’s favorite heroine, Veronica Mars. Like Veronica, Liv’s story begins with a traumatic event at a party, which alters her personality. Both become withdrawn from their families, friends and end their romantic relationships. They find solace in becoming unlikely heros in solving crime. While Rob Thomas is definitely drawing on some archs and themes he has used in the past,  iZombie has a more lighthearted and whimsical tone, than the edge and modern noir feel of Veronica Mars.

The CW network has been improving their quality programming during the past few years to have appeal beyond the tween and teen audiences. I think iZombie is the next great addition to their improved programming repertoire, because it is less teen-centric than most CW shows and will appeal to both a youth and adult audience.  In the fall, they introduced the Emmy award winning Jane the Virgin and The 100, which has an emerging cult following; both these shows were critically well received and instant hits with viewers. While it’s still a little early to tell, iZombie has been getting a lot of positive buzz and overall, I think it is a promising new show.

Veronica Mars fan or not, tune into the CW Tuesdays at 9 p.m. to catch the new episodes!

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