A Frankenstein’s monster pilot
We’ll start by warning the purists who loved Vertigo’s Eisner graphic novel not to expect a terribly faithful adaptation of the source material in the iZombie pilot. But don’t start screaming in anger just yet.
As adapted by Veronica Mars writers Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero- Wright, the show does transplant the comic’s basic premise of a young woman who is unceremoniously turned into a zombie and needs to eat the brains of the recently deceased to maintain as much of her humanity as she can. And aesthetically the show features stylised sequential art chapter headings for each act.
But from there the series quickly goes its own way playing up the comedy and metaphorical millennial angst of its heroine Liv Moore’s fall from overachieving grace to undead ennui. It’s all executed in a tonal mélange that plays like Veronica Mars was Frankensteined with Pushing Daisies, then grafted with generous portions of Warm Bodies and Buffy for good measure.
But while they’re derivative, Thomas and Ruggiero- Wright at least mine their own solid work – iZombie’s mystery investigations and heroine voiceover are lifted straight from Veronica Mars. In fact former Marshmallows – aka the Mars fandom – should embrace this show as the second coming of their beloved cancelled classic… just with more goth make- up and brain munching.
It also helps that the writing team haven’t forgotten how to crank out entertaining characters, snappy dialogue and engaging mysteries. Plus, there’s a lot to like about a genre drama that doesn’t take itself so damn seriously – it’s not trying to compete with The Walking Dead. As Rose McIver’s Liv begins to see that there’s hope for a life well lived – even if it’s zombified – the show’s potential is unleashed. Rooting for Liv coming into her undead own feels like a shambling walk worth taking. Tara Bennett
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UK: TBC US: Airs on The CW from 17 March