iZombie: The Complete First Season DVD Review: An Enjoyable Take on the Zombie Narrative

The CW series iZombie is loosely based on the DC/Vertigo comic of the same name by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred. It follows Olivia “Liv” Moore, a young, beautiful, and brilliant medical resident who is engaged to the love of her life, Major, and whose successful life is all mapped out. One night she accepts an invitation to go to a party with her fellow residents where other party-goers take a new drug called “Utopium,” which turns them into ravenous flesh-eating zombies. Liv awakes the morning after the attack in a body bag on the shore and finds that she has become a zombie herself after being scratched by one of the other zombies on the boat.

Unlike zombies in many other kinds of zombie narratives, Liv’s body does not start rotting away. Instead, her hair and eyes change color and she loses her taste for food. Not wanting to tell anyone about her new status as a zombie, Liv breaks off her engagement with Major, quits her residency, and takes a job at the King County Morgue in order to feed her craving for brains without harming other people. Liv ends up sharing her secret with her new boss, Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti, who is fascinated by the fact that she is a zombie and supports her eating habits.

However, Liv quickly discovers that when she eats the brains of the bodies in the morgue she inherits the memories and personality traits of the deceased. She also begins to have visions of the last moments of the deceased’s life whose brain she has ingested. In wanting to help solve the murders, Liv and Ravi convince local detective Clive Babineaux that Liv has psychic powers in order to detract him from the real reason Liv has knowledge about each murder victim.

The season begins with Liv’s origin story and moves through a series of murders that she helps solve. These murders tie into the actions of a few villains that become integral parts of the over-arching storyline for Season One. The first is Blaine, who is the “brain dealer” to all of the zombies in Seattle. He is a shrewd businessman who will do whatever he has to in order to keep up with the demand of his clients. The other villain is energy-drink mogul Max Rager, whose product is having deadly side effects.

Since iZombie is on the CW, the gore is staged a bit differently than the violence of a show like The Walking Dead. But the careful staging still allows the viewer to know exactly what awful fate is befalling a character and still splashes plenty of blood and guts across the screen.

iZombie is a fun show that took a few episodes for me to fully embrace it. At times, iZombie reminded me of the short-lived ABC series Pushing Daisies. However, once I got past the similarities and was able to invest in the characters, I really enjoyed the show. I also really enjoyed the different take on the zombie narrative and the departure from the shambling corpses that most zombie movies and shows feature.

The complete first season of iZombie is 13 episodes that come on 3 discs, runs 549 minutes, and features deleted scenes as well as the 2014 iZombie Comic-Con panel. Season One of iZombie is available now from Warner Brothers Entertainment.

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Darcy Staniforth

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