ByPeter Flynn, writer at
An advocate for understanding the phenomenological wonder of the moving image. Also Tremors is the best.
Peter Flynn

I can't begin to stress how important Buffy the Vampire Slayer was, not just to television, but to pop-culture in general. Although Joss Whedon is now best known for spearheading the cultural anomaly that is The Avengers, history will remember him for creating the genre subverting yet game changing Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Countless shows owe themselves to the legacy that Buffy left behind, with writers being inspired by a team each week fighting a weird threat to their regular world. Whedon's own show, [Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.](tag:722469) owes itself to it. Shows like Arrow take some inspiration, and something like Supernatural just straight up wouldn't exist if it weren't for Buffy. It seems almost everything owes itself a little bit to Joss Whedon's original masterpiece, but there's one show that's aping it in an entirely different way.


iZombie's unique comic style
iZombie's unique comic style

iZombie has that brilliant TV show permeability where you can practically see the writers brainstorming what might work with audiences. Sure, it's based on a comic series, but it wears its identity as a police procedural BUT WITH ZOMBIES on its sleeve. There is zero pretentiousness to the story of Liv Moore, who must eat the brains of the dead to decipher their pasts and consume their skills Peter Petrelli style to solve crimes. Yet, the series get sneered at for presenting itself as so intensely dumb. What many viewers don't realize is that iZombie is setting itself a challenge, and it may be one it seeks to overcome in Season 2.

The challenges Buffy set itself

Sarah Michelle Gellar as the icon!
Sarah Michelle Gellar as the icon!

Today, the title of Buffy the Vampire Slayer seems almost legendary, but imagine hearing it upon the show's first broadcast. It sounds silly right off the bat, and Season 1 certainly doesn't do anything to sway skeptics. There's an episode where a pack of students who think they're hyenas eat their principle. Another involves a demonic scripture getting scanned on to the internet. It then woos Willow through a chat room, before getting downloaded into a robot body, which of course Buffy has to fight. If the audience's idea of what's stupid was to determine a show's fate, then Buffy would never have made it to season 2.

iZombie seemingly has the same issues. I'll admit, it's really difficult not to be dismissive of that premise, but in doing so, we would deny the show the ability to grow, explore itself, and become something altogether more interesting. iZombie has not grown all that much beyond its initial murder of the week format, but it has introduced concepts of a zombie crime ring, which could of course lead into the building of an actual fictional world, rather than simply toying with the one we already live in.

My point is that if we give Rob Thomas and iZombie Season 2 the same trust people gave Buffy almost twenty years ago, then the show has the chance to grow into something different from what it was pitched as, and surprise us in a way we never expected. And it is from that kind of faith that truly memorable shows are formed.


Can iZombie Season 2 follow in Buffy's footsteps?


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