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Despite the setbacks DC’s currently having with getting their big screen projects onto, well, the big screen, they’re absolutely on fire when it comes to television. A number of DC properties have been given the go ahead in the past few months, with The Flash, Gotham and Constantine all at various stages of development at numerous networks. Now they’ve been joined by iZombie, a Vertigo series by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred that’s just been given a pilot order at the CW.
With so many comic book television and film deals popping up in feeds seemingly all day every day, it might be easy to let this recent iZombie news slip by unnoticed. That’s not good. Before the next big announcement comes, let’s take a moment to recognize just how cool of an announcement this is, and why iZombie might just be the comic-to-TV adaptation we’ve been waiting for.
It has a fresh take on the monster genre. With shows like The Walking Dead and Sleepy Hollow dominating the ratings and online convos on a weekly basis, it’s obvious that modern entertainment consumers love their monsters. Unlike every other horror-based TV show, though, iZombie takes a new stance on classic monsters like werewolves, ghosts and zombies that unites all three of them together in a previously unexplored way. The unique mythology involves the over- and undersoul, the explanation of which forms the backbone of the series’ mythology and is explained in iZombie #4 via one of Mike Allred’s trademark impressive storytelling sequences.
It has a unique look. If the show even borrows a fraction of Mike and Laura Allred’s gorgeous designs and palette, then the show will not look like any other show on television. Gwen’s manic pixie dead girl look could become a cosplay staple and give a lot of people a new number one crush, and Ellie – a girl ghost haunting the present directly from the ’60s – could very well become a cult fashion icon with her mod style. The comic’s also set in Eugene, Oregon, a city that’s a bit different from television’s usual New York and Los Angeles stomping grounds.
It has great producers attached. If you wanted to hire someone to executive produce a crime procedural with a strong female lead, could you really do any better than Veronica Mars‘ Rob Thomas? On top of being the creator and show runner for a show that could have easily been used to pitch iZombie (Veronica Mars meets Scooby-Doo and/or The X-Files?), Thomas creates shows that resonate with audiences for years, even if they meet an early demise like the intensely beloved Party Down.
It has a gay character unlike any we’ve seen on television before. Television has become a much more diverse place in the past few years, but there’s still a lot more work that can be done. iZombie not only features a gay character in its main cast, it actually tells the story of that character coming out of the closet and starting to date for the first time. That’s a story that has not been told on television enough; Willow’s entire coming out process was kept off-screen during Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s fourth season. With Scott, a.k.a. Spot the were-terrier, the iZombie television show can dive right into stories that are so far under-explored on television, and seeing that story and struggle validated on television can really help a lot of people out.
It has a lot of life left in it. Most comics have decades of source material to pull from when they get the go-ahead, with all of the continuity that goes along with a long run. iZombie ended its run at Vertigo way too soon. The 28 issues that form its entire current existence could easily be the first 22 episode season of the show, meaning that the rest of the series could expand upon and continue the delicious mysteries, fascinating mythology, and touching character work that Roberson and Allred started on the printed page. With so little source material to pull from, this show can easily adapt a lot from the comics – something that Arrow fans have greatly enjoyed while S.H.I.E.L.D. fans are still begging for – while still being able to forge its own way.