A Franken­stein’s mon­ster pi­lot

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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

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