It turns out that the show didn't take much from the graphic novels, aside from a title and the concept of a zombie who eats brains and gains the memories from the brains' owner. There are far more differences, such as:
- The main character's name: Gwendolyn Price/Gwen Dylan in the comic, Olivia "Liv" Moore in the show
- Gwen works and lives at a graveyard, obtaining brains from the corpses. My concern had been that the formaldehyde used in preservation would make the brains inedible, but it's actually an organic cemetery that doesn't preserve bodies, which seems odd. Is that an actual thing? She paints the memories she gains. Liv works at the coroner's office and obtains brains there. When Liv eats a brain, she gains talents and personality traits as well as memories.
- The universe of the comics contains many supernatural creatures besides zombies, such as vampires, werecreatures, ghosts, mummies, etc. The TV show wisely focuses solely on zombies, though part of me would appreciate the chaos of multiple monsters.
- In the comics, Gwen is friends with a ghost named Ellie and a wereterrier named Scott. They were both wisely omitted from the show. Liv's friends from the show: Peyton, ex fiance Major, and coworkers Ravi and Clive are not featured in the comics, but for a reason.
- The reason is that Gwen doesn't retain many memories from being alive. Her family and friends believe she is dead, and she doesn't remember them anyways. Liv remembers everything from her former life, and none of her friends and family (Save her boss Ravi...this was written a while ago because now a lot more people know as of the completed second season) know that she died and became a zombie.
|You have to appreciate Gwen's Shaun of the Dead|
Gwen eats a brain later and discovers that the mysterious man murdered the brain's owner in some sort of ceremony. The man turns out to be a mummy named John Amon who teaches Gwen the nature of zombies. See, there's this whole oversoul and undersoul thing. Oversoul is the brain: "thoughts, memories, and personality." Undersoul is the heart: "appetites, emotions, and fears." Ghosts are bodiless oversouls. A bodiless undersoul is a poltergeist. Vampires have an oversoul, but drink blood because they lack an undersoul. The opposite, having the undersoul but seeking the memories of the oversoul is the zombie.
Meanwhile, a pair of hunters comes to town and starts to take out the local vampire population. One of them, Horatio, asks out Gwen. This is somewhat distressing to Scott, the wereterrier friend who has a crush on Gwen. I'm going to admit that I don't remember everything that happened and in which book. At some point, Gwen remembers her younger brother. Scott the wereterrier meets him and falls in love with him. The brother makes a pact with a comic book writer to be possessed with the spirit of his character, who is actually real and kind of homophobic, which messes up their relationship (That old cliche again!) Ellie the ghost makes friends with a Frankenstein monster and they end up falling in love. The mummy guy turns out to be kind of evil and a zombie. Also, his former friend has been working on a plan to summon a big bad entity that will destroy the world.
Out of the two, I definitely prefer the TV show. It's more streamlined and funny, though I would probably be super stoked if Rob Thomas brought on a wereterrier. The novels were not completely without their own charms. However, the lack of Ravi was unforgivable.