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How I fell in love with a dead girl

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

I'm sure you've noticed that the team here at 30 Polyfeller Plaza has been covering television quite a bit more than we have in the past. Mostly, that's editor Susana Polo's fault. But I like to lend a helping hand where I'm able, so I've taken on the weekly assignment of watching The Flash like it's my job. And so now it's my job.

However, as a cord cutter myself I've been out of the TV game for a few years now. I've actually had to move heaven and earth to plop down with Barry Allen and company every Tuesday because what my antenna does pick up is, more often than not, pre-empted by family time. Or my bi-weekly Arma games. Or both.

So when I do watch a bit of TV, it's by appointment only and highly seasonal. Let's just say I'm really looking forward to this January on PBS.

Gotta say though, I may have picked up a new favorite show. And no, it's not The Flash. These last few weeks, as I've cuddled up with my laptop savoring all the warm, syrupy post-Flash feels I've stumbled into the cold, clammy embrace of the show that comes on right after.

Yes, I've fallen hard for a dead girl.

For the uninitiated, iZombie is the story of Olivia Moore who, one ill-fated night, is bitten by a rabid drug dealer and transformed into the walking dead. She wakes up in a body bag, scaring the hell out of the paramedics on the scene. From there, her life quickly takes a turn for the worse.

Pun intended.

Her hair turns white, her skin ashen and her eyes develop a red tinge. Her mood begins to change. She breaks up with her fiancé, even changes her career. What was once a bright-eyed medical student, a woman seemingly on the path to becoming a star doctor at the local hospital, instead makes a dive for the county morgue.

Thankfully, her new job as a medical examiner keeps her just centimeters away from her new love — hot, delicious brains.

That's right: Whenever she can get away with it Liv Moore (get it?) cracks open the skulls of all the dead people she deals with on a daily basis and, right there in the office microwave, cooks up some hot delicious cerebellum penne.

I mean, it's not always pasta. Sometimes she does hot curried frontal lobe over rice or a pulled pork kinda thing on dark rye. Sometimes with mutton, sliced real thin...

There's a catch, though: Whenever she finishes off a brain she gains not only that person's memories, but also their moods and mannerisms. Every episode involves some theatrical acrobatics, which actor Rose McIver (Masters of Sex, Once Upon A Time) really seems to enjoy.

It's really fun to see how McIver adapts to each new role she's given each week. And who knew Tinker Bell could really act? Just last night she ate the brain of a frat boy and bro'd out for the entire episode. It was a blast.

I mean, it's not always pasta. Sometimes she does hot curried frontal lobe over rice or a pulled pork kinda thing on dark rye. Sometimes with mutton, sliced real thin...

Inside each episode is a nougaty police procedural. Thanks to her visions, Moore has been drafted by police homicide detective Clive Babineaux, played by Malcolm Goodwin (American Gangster, House Of Cards, Breakout Kings). But it's the jousting between McIver and her co-worker, fellow medical examiner Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti (played by Rahul Kohli), that keeps me coming back.

Since the first episode Chakrabarti has been in on her secret. He's fascinated by her condition, and serves not only as a foil to Moore's sometimes serious personal dramas, but also as a comedic release valve when called upon. Their relationship serves as a bookend to each episode, and helps push the ongoing story — a search for the source and solution to the mysterious, spreading zombie illness — forward from week to week.

Penned by Rob Thomas, the creator of Veronica Mars, is it any wonder that this show's cast clicks?

Interesting how, week after week, it seems like CW is — ahem — killing it Tuesday nights. That's why for the duration of this season you'll find me in front of the tube for The Flash and iZombie back-to-back. And when I've got the spare time I'll be catching up on both of their first seasons, now on Netflix. But after Barry slows down and Cisco stops vibrating? That's "me time." That's when I'll sit back and enjoy my new little zombie friend.

The Flash, and his myriad multiverses, can wait.