Why iZombie is the zombie show you’ll love even if you don’t like zombies

Time for a possibly unpopular opinion: I don’t like zombies.

It feels like pop culture blasphemy to admit it, but it’s true: I don’t like zombies. On an intellectual level, I’m intrigued by zombies. I like the idea of movies and TV shows and comics and books that explore the origins of zombies or the result of a zombie apocalypse. As a sci-fi lover, it’s impossible for me not to be intrigued by the whole thing.

But, when it comes down to actually watching those movies and TV shows or reading those books and comics, I usually have zero interest. I still don’t like zombies. The truth is, zombies scare me. I’m a grown woman and I’m kind of scared of zombies. I’ve accepted it.

So, when I heard that the new show from one of my all-time favorite showrunners, Rob Thomas, creator of the amazing Veronica Mars, was about zombies, I was bummed. I was torn between my love for all things Rob and my irrational baby fears of undead monsters. Love won out in the end and I gave iZombie a chance. I can say with confidence that iZombie is the zombie show for people who don’t like zombies have been waiting for. Here’s why:

1. The heroine, Liv, is a zombie, but she isn’t a killer. Yes, she does need to eat brains to survive (#zombieproblems), but she doesn’t let that turn her into a killer. Instead Liv gets a job at the local morgue, where she can snack on brains that no one’s using anymore. Also, she mixes them with noodles, which brings down the gross factor by at least 10 points. It’s reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s vampire-with-a-soul, Angel, who was known to drink donated blood from the hospital. 

2. The show is more of a mystery show than a zombie show. Don’t let the fact that the main character is a zombie and the fact that the word “zombie” is in the title fool you: iZombie is more of a crime show or mystery than it is a zombie show in the classic sense. The twist that comes with Liv’s diet of choice is that she really is what she eats in a pretty literal way; she absorbs some of the characteristics and memories of the people whose brains she eats. This comes in handy when the dead guy or gal in question was the victim of murder and the crime hasn’t been solved yet. And, of course, this is from the same mind that brought us Veronica Mars, so there’s a season-long mystery to be solved too — Liv needs to get to the bottom of the accident that left her zombie-fied.

3. Liv is a really cool leading lady. Yes, Liv will remind you of Veronica and obviously, that’s a good thing. Sassy voiceover? Check. Witty comebacks? Check. Brilliant girl who isn’t afraid to show just how brilliant she is? Check. Liv is pale in that undead kind of way, but aside from that, she really isn’t defined by her zombie-ness at all.

4. You get a little of the zombie excitement without the full-on scary factor. Liv is, mostly, able to control her undead instincts. But, if she gets too hungry (read: goes too long with out a little brain food), or if she’s really threatened or provoked, her zombie side can take over, at least for a little bit. It gives Liv an edge and a little bit of super ability (on top of her amazing ability to read the thoughts and feelings of dead people, of course) without crossing the line into genuine horror.

iZombie airs Tuesday nights at 9/8 c on The CW and, even if you usually can’t stand the undead, you owe it to yourself to give this lively take on zombies a try.