Olivia is a spunky physician who gets scratched by a zombie and becomes an undead mortician who solves murders by munching the brains of the victims, absorbing their memories and personalities. Mmmm, klepto prostitute. Basically, Liv is who she eats…at least until she poops. If this sounds like a comic book, it was, and a very good one, created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred. Now it’s a very good TV series from Rob Thomas, a clever riff on the detective genre not dissimilar to his Veronica Mars. Strong heroine with identity crisis. Witty narration and popreferencing banter. Knotty, naughty mysteries. It’s as if iZombie swallowed Veronica and took on her much-missed spirit.
With her shock-white hair and milky pallor, Liv is TV’s most visually striking protagonist, and Rose McIver gives her a warm, lively internal life. Rahul Kohli brings energy as the egghead boss/sidekick, while David Anders threatens to steal the show as Liv’s zombie-maker and lust-loathe antagonist; his complex bite recalls Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The writing has fun exploring and expanding zombie conventions and testing the parameters of Liv’s predicament, though it might have an Alias problem: Can it find continued purpose for the characters that populate her home life—an ex-fiancé, a best friend, a brother—all oblivious to her zombiedom? For now, the diverse elements work together to nourish an allegory for rehumanization in dehumanizing times. While something of a Lady Frankenstein built from our best female-hero pop, iZombie nonetheless injects fresh life into the increasingly staid genre of supernatural TV. B+