Abigail Raney writes for Bleeding Cool:
There’s a sense that the new series from Rob Thomas is “Veronica Mars as a zombie” – and Thomas isn’t necessarily discouraging the comparison. “Tonally, we live in that world,” he says of himself and executive producer Diane Ruggiero-Wright. And the similarities are plentiful. Young, disenfranchised, female protagonist, narrating her story in voice over. Snappy dialogue, weekly mysteries, even a set piece at a party with drug use. But according to Ruggiero-Wright, iZombie is less noir than Veronica Mars, and iZombie’s Liv is less snarky than Veronica – and less misanthropic, Thomas adds.
For those unfamiliar with the iZombie premise (loosely based on the comic of the same name), it’s the story of Olivia “Liv” Moore, who has an unfortunate run in with zombies at a party and finds herself trying to navigate her new, undead life. She takes a job at a morgue to keep herself in brains, and soon discovers that ingesting a brain briefly gives her access to the memories (and perhaps some of the more extreme tendencies) of the brain’s previous owner – an ability which just happens to come in handy when a police office comes to the morgue looking for clues in a presumed suicide case.
Thomas and Ruggiero-Wright recounted how the CW came to them with the original comic in hand and the idea of creating “the next great female role”. The show keeps the basic premise of the comic, but has made a fair amount of changes in the details – new names and occupations for some characters, for one. And unlike the comic, zombies will be the sole supernatural element to the television show. That means no vampires, no were-terriers, and as of yet no mention of the concept of oversouls and undersouls that underpins the mythology of the comic. Some of these changes were geared towards making the format work better for TV, allowing for a mystery-of-the-week set up combined with season-long arcs related to Liv’s zombie “condition”.
While the entire pilot was originally supposed to screen at Comic Con, only a portion was shown, due to last minute recasting that necessitated reshoots before the pilot could be finished. But from what was screened, the show does seem to have promise – especially for fans of Veronica Mars who might have enjoyed her return to the big screen earlier this year but wished for something a bit more surprising or new. As series star Rose McIver puts it, the show isn’t so much about Liv being dead – or undead, as it were – it’s about her having lost the life she once had, and working to find meaning and purpose in the new un-life she’s been given. The loss part of that equation is very much Veronica Mars – but where Veronica continually unravelled threads that led her back to the darker side of things, Liv seems perhaps poised to follow her trail of bread crumbs – or brain stems – towards a greater purpose, and, given her ability to channel the dead and her inability to die, maybe even a turn as a crime-solving zombie super hero.