REVIEW: iZombie: The Complete First Season
Chris Roberson and Michael Allred created a charming little series for Vertigo called iZombie and it got snatched up by the CW for a television. Unfortunately, the 28-issue comic was long gone by the time the show arrived this past winter. For 13 episodes, we were treated to a slightly off-kilter series that proved to be very enchanting in its own right and viewers embraced it well enough for a full season renewal. While the second season debuts tonight, Warner Home Video has released iZombie: The Complete First Season on DVD. Interestingly, unlike other releases from DC Entertainment, this one does not have a Blu-ray companion.
What makes the series fun is the approach taken by series developers Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright, a pair who know a thing or two about offbeat projects. After all, they gave us the wonderful Veronica Mars. Now they have taken another female-centric show and made it a fascinating world to visit weekly.
The comic, which justly earned an Eisner nomination, was about a woman named Gwen who just happened to be a unique zombie, required to eat a deceased person’s brains once a month to stay alive or revert to traditional zombie mode. The series was populated with all sorts of supernatural figures and themes.
Thomas and Ruggiero-Wright took the broadest strokes and revamped it for their purposes. Here, the show features a woman named, ahem, Liv Moore (Rose McIver) who was a med student until she was bitten during your typical zombie apocalypse. To access a regular supply of grey matter, she now works in the King County morgue, receiving visions from her meals. Being a television series, she meets up with a detective and they become odd couple partners.
Roberson and Allred brought one type of quirky humor to their project while the TV producers brought as fresh but altogether entirely different vibe to the series. They also layered in some meta arc material to keep things interesting. After all, something started the zombie uprising plus it all has something do with a drug called Utopium.
Characters are slowly introduced so we first get to know Liv and her concerns before worrying about everyone else’s issues. The performances are fun and the characters engaging making us eager to see what happens this year. McIver stretches every episode as she takes on the persona and quirks of her latest meal, shifting how she interacts with her colleagues. And in the background is David Anders as Blaine DeBeers, the series’ antagonist. It’s nice to see his creepily charming self on a regular show again.
The episodes are spread across three discs, looking and sounding just fine. There are a smattering of DVD extras along with the ubiquitous “DC Comics Night at Comic-Con 2014” (29:31).