'iZombie' leads The CW's collection of cool shows
I had a surprising realization last weekend about which TV network I'm watching and enjoying the most.
It's not HBO. Damon Lindelof's acclaimed end-times drama, "The Leftovers," leaves me cold, but I'm sure the TV Twitterverse will go ga-ga for Sunday's series finale.
It's not FX, though the third season of Noah Hawley's "Fargo" is shaping up to be another masterpiece, thanks in part to Ewan McGregor's hilarious double role as feuding brothers Ray and Emmit Stussy. There are three episodes left, airing at 9 p.m. Wednesdays.
No, the answer is The CW, the de facto fifth network that rose from the ashes of The WB and UPN (remember those?) in 2006. Locally, The CW's programming airs on WPWR-TV Channel 50.
That programming includes the bright, silly and fun CBS castoff "Supergirl," starring Melissa Benoist ("Whiplash") as the DC Comics hero in a show that is far more entertaining than the current film series starring her cousin, Superman. The show's second season (but first on the CW) just concluded with an epic showdown between Supergirl and an alien queen played by the desperate housewife herself, Teri Hatcher. (Methinks she didn't do her own stunts.) The CW's slate also includes DC superhero shows "The Flash," "Arrow" and "Legends of Tomorrow."
A more daring program: the recently concluded first season of "Riverdale," a soapy adaptation of Archie Comics (yes, really!) in which Archie (KJ Apa), Betty (Lili Reinhart), Veronica (Camila Mendes) and Jughead (Cole Sprouse) try to solve a murder. With its snowy, mountainous backdrop, "Riverdale" plays a bit like "The O.C." goes Pacific Northwest. Sprouse, who grew up in front of a camera alongside his twin brother Dylan in Disney Channel's "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody," steals the show as a dreamy, emo variation of the crown-wearing goofball you know from the comic books.
"Riverdale's" adult co-stars are fun, too: "Beverly Hills 90210" star Luke Perry, erstwhile "Twin Peaks" resident Mädchen Amick, '80s teen queen Molly Ringwald, '90s "Scream" dude Skeet Ulrich and former Naperville resident Marisol Nichols of "24." The entire first season of "Riverdale" is already available on Netflix.
But the network's star attraction is "iZombie," from "Veronica Mars" producers Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright. Currently near the end of its third season, "iZombie" is the closest thing we've had to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" since that landmark show left the air in 2003. Rose McIver stars as coroner's assistant Liv Moore, a zombie (in this show, zombies mostly function like normal people, apart from the brain-eating business) who also serves as partner to Seattle Det. Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin). Every week, Liv helps solve a murder by eating the brains of a victim, allowing her to see visions from the deceased person's past -- and take on their personality traits.
That last part makes "iZombie" an actor's showcase for McIver, who just this season has had to play her character as a raging gossip, a Zen yoga instructor, a "Jackass"-style daredevil and, funniest of all, a dominatrix.
There's also a snarky platonic male pal (Rahul Kohli), an impossibly gorgeous female friend (Aly Michalka) and two handsome bad boys who are also monsters (Robert Buckley and David Anders). If that doesn't sound "Buffy" enough for you, I don't know what to tell you!
"iZombie" airs at 8 p.m. Tuesdays. Catch up on the most recent episodes at CWTV.com, and stream the first two seasons on Netflix.
• Sean Stangland is a Daily Herald multiplatform editor. His favorite episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is "Once More With Feeling," because of course it is. You can follow him on Twitter at @SeanStanglandDH.