iZombie: on surviving your inner zombie

Turns out mid-season TV is a lot about women learning how to survive after traumatic events.

If you don’t know the premise of iZombie, I’ll catch you up really fast: Olive Moore is a type-A medical student that has the perfect life: she’s good at her job, she is engaged to a wonderful man and she has the perfect family and friends.  Everything seems to be going well, until she is invited to a party where there is a small yet terrifying zombie outbreak. She wakes up the next day, scratched and in a body bag, to find out she is still alive. Except she isn’t. She is undead. She is a zombie.

Of course, this takes a bit of a toll on her. She leaves her job and in order to satisfy her brain cravings decides to start working at a morgue instead. When she is at home, she watches TV and zombie movies (for zombie research) mindlessly while eating food she cannot taste unless it’s really covered in hot sauce and of course, she breaks up her engagement in order not to infect her poor, unknowing boyfriend, which leads her family to believe she has PTSD.

But things change for Olive once her secret is discovered by her boss and now ally Ravi, who unwillingly signs her up as a psychic crime-solving partner of a detective named Clive, once he discovers eating brain gives her the memories and traits of those poor, deceased brain-owners.  This sets her out on her first adventure, solving the murder of a prostitute and stopping the murder of two other girls.


The show manages to be charming, not grotesque and having it narrated by Liv herself gives us a night insight into her mind. The characters around her are interesting (though some of them feel a bit like archetypes, we’ll see how they develop) and it is, above all, rather funny.

However, there is a second layer to it that I enjoyed even more. When I first approached iZombie, I thought of it as what it is on the surface: a good-fun supernatural Veronica Mars for this generation. And technically, that’s exactly what it is. But, much like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, it is also a tale of moving forward right after the worst has happened to you.  That is what truly makes iZombie a show worth continuing watching: as we get to know Liv, we get to root for her not to change who she has become, but to improve. When Ravi asks her if she thought she’d be “undead” forever–  after starting to look for a cure for her– she admits that she did. But opening her mind to the possibility of getting better sets her on a journey of self-discovery on how to live with her new condition. And although her first decision doesn’t turn out the way she wanted it to (she drives to her ex-fiance’s house, only to find him playing zombie-killing video games with another girl, of all things), she decides to take it step by step and starts setting herself more easily achievable goals.

iZombie is, in essence, a tale of learning how to live when you feel the person you thought you were has died, and that is what I am hoping the show continues to explore, while maintaining its lovable charm. 

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