Cast members Rose McIver, Robert Buckley, David Anders, Rahul Kohli, Malcolm Goodwin and creators Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright sat in on the panel Monday.
The network also hosted an “Undead” premiere party, along with Buzzfeed, Saturday night in downtown Austin, with zombies tending the bar, pouring “Brain Appétit”-themed drinks.
“I was so into zombies before. I was never really on the vampire train,” Ruggiero-Wright told Variety of the show’s fan-favorite theme at SXSW. “I was just on the zombie train myself, so let’s hope that they’re the new vampire for us and that we have the longevity of ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and the popularity of ‘Twilight.'”
The exec producer, who’s teaming up again with “Veronica Mars” partner Rob Thomas, added that the show is very different from their former cult favorite hit, despite comparisons. With a laugh, she pointed out that the “zombie procedural” is a new format for television.
“This sounds ridiculous to say, but zombies couldn’t be hotter right now,” she said. “It is so prevalent in pop culture right now that putting a fun spin on it is very timely, and why not take advantage of that?”
The show, which stars McIver as the lead Liv, a type-A twentysomething-turned-brain-eating zombie, has an older tone than most shows on the CW, said Ruggiero-Wright.
“Some of the references might be a little bit older because the two people who created it aren’t the youngest people in the world, and we also can’t make the jokes that we made on ‘Veronica Mars’ 10 years later,” she said laughing. “And the characters are a bit older — [Liv] was previously engaged, she’s a doctor. It’s definitely a bit older for the network.”
As for the fans the show may attract, Ruggiero-Wright said she and Thomas weren’t targeting any specific audience, even though the show seemingly has a built-in fanbase, being based on the DC Comics story and coming off the huge popularity of AMC’s zombie hit “The Walking Dead.”
“We just try to write the best show possible. I’m hoping we’ll have those fans who enjoy that supernatural element to their television,” she said. “We’re conscious that it’s the CW audience, and we want to give them what they want, but I don’t think we’re looking for anyone in particular. We’re not really writing toward the 7-year-old, but if they happen to stumble upon it, feel free to watch!”