iZombie: Review: Series 1 Episode 1: Pilot

Izombie 1Liv Moore has it all… until she goes to a party and wakes up as a zombie…

I’m not the world’s greatest zombie fan – and with the exception of The Walking Dead and In the Flesh, they’ve tended not to get handled very well on television (the recent Z Nation coming irresistibly to mind). However, count me in for the CW’s new series, based on the Vertigo comic – it reminds me a lot of the late lamented Buffy in its wit, the unexpected attitudes of some of its leading characters, and its ability to become serious when it needs to. If Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright can maintain that combination through a whole season, then the CW will deservedly have another hit on its hands.

There are a lot of other elements that work in this episode – the use of comic book art that morphs into the real scene isn’t new by any means, but show producers don’t often hire the original artist from the comic book to create them. The one-liners from Liv’s boss, medical examiner Ravi, have so far stayed the right side of annoying, but I can see them being used to underpin a weaker script. The excuse given for Liv’s knowledge of the dead – that she’s a psychic – works well, even if the first case takes us into some cop show cliché territory (and it’s an idea that was riffed on in last week’s Rizzoli & Isles case as well, unfortunately – and that’s setting aside the fact that the idea of a brush with death might send someone working for the medical examiner’s office was the underpinning of another successful show, Body of Proof).

It’s not perfect by any means: the relationship with Liv’s former fiancé needs to be put on a stronger footing quickly, and at present, her mother is also a bit too cliché. However, these are the sorts of issues that the show has had time to tackle, and I look forward to seeing where this series goes…

Verdict: A fun and often witty take on the zombie genre. 7/10

Paul Simpson

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