When you think of shows by The CW, popular ones like “Jane the Virgin,” “Supernatural,” “Riverdale” or “Gossip Girl,” among other classics, probably come to mind first. However, The CW and TV in general’s most underrated series, “iZombie,” is coming to an end this summer. Here’s why you should binge it before it’s over for good.
“iZombie” is loosely based on a DC comic of the same name and follows the life of former medical resident Olivia “Liv” Moore (Rose McIver) turned zombie after an unfortunate boating party incident. She leaves her job and her fiancé and takes on a new job at the county morgue, where she uses the brains of corpses to ethically satisfy her new type of appetite.
Liv soon discovers that feasting on the brains in the morgue gives her the ability to see memories and flashbacks from each brain. While on different brains, she inherits the traits and personality of the person it once belonged to. As many of the bodies sent to the county morgue are murder victims, Liv sees them as an opportunity to make her new condition useful. She assists the county detectives in solving cases all while passing her abilities off as being a psychic.
When I first saw “iZombie” on Netflix I thought to myself, “another zombie show? Pass.” thinking it would include staples like cheesy zombie makeup and the characters wailing “Braaaaaains” for the duration of the episodes. One day, boredom finally got the best of me. I decided to check it out and was happily proven wrong.
Because of the murder mystery element, the show opens itself up near endless plot possibilities. That’s also considering the twist that Liv inherits the personality of each victim, making for some wacky characterizations of a completely new person every episode.
For the romance lovers out there, “iZombie” also includes various subplots involving complicated human-zombie relationships among solving crimes. Often dubbed a “zom-dram-rom-com,” the writers sure have their hands full fitting aspects of so many different genres into one series. Usually, so many genres in a single show would seem messy, but “iZombie” surprisingly pulls it off.
From tortured artist to hardcore frat boy to dominatrix, McIver’s immense talent shows when she gets to play a more ridiculous character every time a new case needs to be solved. While Liv has her own distinct personality, it’s interesting to watch an actress get to quite literally put herself in another character’s drastically different shoes every now and then.
It’s fairly common for once great shows to start to dip in quality as the series progress, but “iZombie” isn’t one of them. Even as the scenarios became a little more complicated and far-fetched as time went on, they never seemed to be grasping at straws for content.
It became even more apparent as each season came to a close when the dots from earlier episodes started connecting. “iZombie,” as a whole, is one of the more cohesive long-running shows on right now. It’s obvious that the writers made an effort to stray from the overplayed zombie tropes and created something that has an compelling story instead of squeezing all the life from it without any regard to the story itself.
“iZombie’s” other characters such as Ravi (Rahul Kohli), Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) and Peyton (Aly Michalka) all compliment McIver’s Liv seamlessly, but exist as fully rounded characters on their own. Although it’s impossible to know how we, as individuals, would react to our friend telling us they’re a zombie, the characters have seemingly raw reactions and feelings that most supporting characters don’t get the luxury of having sometimes.
As more characters become aware of “zombieism” in the city and start to understand it, they evolve in relation to Liv and on their own. The character development is astounding. Even the characters who do despicable things throughout the series are so well written that it’s hard to hate them.
The “blink and you miss them” details of the show are small but make a big difference. The subtle puns in character names and pop-art scene transitions gives “iZombie” little spurts of comedic relief without explicitly telling a joke. With a series so focused on solving crimes and other serious topics, it can be refreshing to chuckle a bit at a tiny detail like a pun that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.
On top of the quirky smaller details, the show as a whole is just so funny. The characters are all quick and witty, especially the main group of them. Liv and Clive’s dynamic while solving cases is hilarious as she tries to pass off her zombieism as being a psychic to skeptical humans. Watching murder mysteries can get depressing after a while, but there are humorous moments unexpectedly sprinkled in that make it enjoyable.
Especially in earlier seasons when the plot points are still relatively tame, they never seem overly heavy for too long. There’s an appropriate amount of comedic relief that keeps things relatively lighthearted (you know — considering all the crime).
“iZombie” isn’t all police drama and comedy. Many plots throughout the series have been social commentary on current societal issues, the most recent season tackling the issue of fake news and divisive politics. The commentary is important but not so overpowering that it feels like you’re being bummed out by real-life news.
The nuance of the social commentary is another one of the “blink and you miss them” details. While some issues are more obvious, some subtly raise relevant moral questions about humanity and politics specifically relating to health and ideals. Although zombieism is a more intense example than real human afflictions, a lot of the same ethics apply and come under question.
“iZombie’s” ability to blend aspects of different genres with some important relevant issues makes it one of the best of its kind. I’m excited to see where the writers go in the next few episodes before the finale, and I have no doubt they’ll give the series the iconic ending it deserves.