How iZombie Shuffles Down the Line of Adaptation

iZombie is a CW television series by Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright that is a loose adaptation of the comic book series of the same name by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred.

The show qualifies as an adaptation with only a small overlap of the comics. It uses the concept of a zombie woman who must eat brains to remain partially-alive, and by eating those brains she obtains some of the dead person’s memories and feels a need to wrap up the unfinished business (in the show, Liv Moore mostly helps solve crimes). There are then smaller references to the comic in the show, such as Ravi playing a were-terrier in a online role-playing game, and Liv’s ex becoming a sort of monster hunter.

Besides these connections, the show diverges a great deal from the comics. You could even say the show was more inspired by rather than adapted from the original comics. Carol Borden makes a great point in that this is for the best, since the exact happenings in the comic would but extremely difficult to play out in a live-action TV show.

Much of the television show differs from the comics. One way the show keeps up its connection with its comic roots is incorporating graphic elements. The opening scene is entirely in the style of comics (along with being incredibly catchy).

The start of nearly every new scene has a title of sorts (usually punny) and converts a comic-style image that morphs into the first frames of the scene.

The show overall does an extremely good job at keeping its audience captivated. There are multiple “villains” at a time, dynamic characters that go against stereotypes and evolve over the course of the show, and plot twists and complications that don’t immediately resolve themselves after an episode or two (while the show does have an episodic new-case-every-episode vibe, there are plot lines that span through these adventures). I would say more, but I think you will just have to go give iZombie a watch, or a read, to really get invested.


I would like to know what you think: Where is the line between adaptation and inspiration? Is sticking as close to the original source (with minor alterations) really better than creating something new with Easteregg-like connections with parent material?


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