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'iZombie' review: It takes brains to solve her cases

The CW's

The CW's "iZombie" is the latest comic book-based series from the DC Universe. Credit: CW Television Network

THE SERIES "iZombie"

WHEN | WHERE Premieres Tuesday at 9 p.m. on CW/11

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Olivia "Liv" Moore (Rose McIver) is a high-energy med student with a glorious future, when . . . one fateful evening she decides to go on a party cruise. What could go wrong? Only a zombie attack -- that's what -- which turns Liv into a walker, too. Back home, family and friends just think she's in a funk, although she is unusually waxen. They don't know about her new culinary habit: She eats human brains (although seasons them first).

Liv gets a job at the local morgue, where the brain supply is plentiful. The benefit is that she absorbs the memories of the deceased, which helps her -- and new friend Det. Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin) -- solve their murders. Her other bestie at the morgue, Dr. Ravi Chakraborty (Rahul Kohli), helps, too.

The show is produced by Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero and based on the DC comic book of the same name.

MY SAY Anyone coming to this oddball show will want -- and possibly need -- a quick handle to figure out what's going on. So, in that spirit, my obvious and not-altogether-accurate attempts: It's "Veronica Mars," if "V" was undead.

Or, it's "Tru Calling," Fox's last-decade series about a morgue worker who could relive a corpse's last day. Or maybe it's just "The Walking Dead" meets "Murder, She Wrote" -- if Jessica Fletcher was 50 years younger and ate brains for breakfast.

Who knows! Who cares! This is still odd, and still likable -- especially the high-quirk tone so distinctive to Thomas and Ruggiero, and, most of all, McIver's Liv. A lost soul in the midst of an existential crisis -- which makes perfect sense under the circumstances -- Liv is more goth than zomb, more punk than spunk. She's also as appealing as anyone who eats human brains for a living could possibly be. Her supporting cast is good, too.

Besides Liv's menu choice, perhaps the ongoing problem here will be structure: After all, Liv has a significant advantage in case-solving, which could actually turn out to be a disadvantage for writers. If she already knows who the killer is, where's the mystery to solve? The show has some tricks to get around that, but they feel arbitrary, at least if Tuesday's launch is an indication.


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