iZombie
Genre
Based on
Developed by
Starring
Narrated byRose McIver
Opening theme"Stop, I'm Already Dead"
by Deadboy & the Elephantmen
ComposerJosh Kramon
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes71 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
  • Rob Thomas
  • Diane Ruggiero-Wright
  • Dan Etheridge
  • Danielle Stokdyk
Production locationsVancouver, British Columbia
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time42 minutes
Production companies
Original release
NetworkThe CW
ReleaseMarch 17, 2015 (2015-03-17) –
August 1, 2019 (2019-08-01)

iZombie is an American supernatural procedural drama television series developed by Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright for the CW. It is an adaptation of the DC comic book series iZombie created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred. The series premiered on March 17, 2015, and ran for five seasons, ending on August 1, 2019. It follows the adventures of doctor-turned-zombie Olivia "Liv" Moore (Rose McIver), a Seattle Police medical examiner who helps solve murders after eating the victims' brains and temporarily absorbing their memories and personalities.

Premise and synopsis

Seattle medical resident Olivia "Liv" Moore is turned into a zombie while attending a boat party. She abandons her career and breaks up with her fiancé, much to the disappointment and puzzlement of her family. She discovers that if she does not periodically satisfy her new appetite for brains, she will turn into a stereotypically primitive and homicidal zombie. Instead of feeding by killing innocent people, Liv decides to take a job at the King County morgue and eat the brains of the corpses she autopsies. Her secret is guessed by her boss, Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti. Ravi soon becomes Liv's friend and confidant, and as a scientist, he is intrigued by her condition.

Whenever Liv eats a dead person's brain, she temporarily absorbs some of their personality traits and skills, and she experiences flashbacks of that person's life. In the case of murder victims, the flashbacks offer clues about the killer. Liv uses this new ability to help Police Detective Clive Babineaux solve crimes. Though she initially passes herself off as a psychic, Clive eventually learns the truth about her and zombies. Meanwhile, Ravi works to develop a cure for Liv's affliction, in the hope that one day she will be able to return to her former life.

Throughout the first few seasons, the number of zombies in Seattle gradually increases, while various factions try to cover up their existence, fight them, exploit them, or protect them. At the end of the third season, a zombie-run private military company infects thousands of people in Seattle with the zombie virus and imposes martial law on the city to create a safe haven for zombies. The final two seasons deal with the struggles and conflicts of living under these conditions; Liv becomes the leader of a human smuggling operation bringing people who want to become zombies into Seattle.

Cast and characters

Main article: List of iZombie characters

Episodes

Main article: List of iZombie episodes

iZombie was officially picked up on May 8, 2014,[5] and premiered on March 17, 2015.[6] On May 6, 2015, the CW renewed the series for a second season.[7] On November 23, 2015, the CW ordered six additional episodes for the second season, bringing the episode count to a total of 19 episodes.[8] iZombie was renewed for a third season on March 11, 2016.[9] iZombie was renewed for a fourth season on May 10, 2017,[10] which premiered on February 26, 2018.[11] iZombie was renewed for a fifth and final season in May 2018,[12][13] which premiered on May 2, 2019.[14]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedRankAverage viewers
(in millions inc. DVR)
First airedLast aired
113March 17, 2015 (2015-03-17)June 9, 2015 (2015-06-09)1542.51[15]
219October 6, 2015 (2015-10-06)April 12, 2016 (2016-04-12)1741.68[16]
313April 4, 2017 (2017-04-04)June 27, 2017 (2017-06-27)1601.37[17]
413February 26, 2018 (2018-02-26)May 28, 2018 (2018-05-28)1911.24[18]
513May 2, 2019 (2019-05-02)August 1, 2019 (2019-08-01)1401.01[19]

Production

Development

Rob Thomas was approached by Warner Brothers to develop the series while he was editing the film version of Veronica Mars. At first, he refused, but Warner Brothers was insistent, and he eventually took the job.[20] Prior to iZombie, Thomas was attempting to pitch his own zombie television series; when AMC picked up The Walking Dead, it was "so similar to what we were doing, it just killed that project", according to Thomas.[20]

The opening credits for the series are drawn by Michael Allred, the main artist and co-creator of the original comic book.[21] The series' theme tune is "Stop, I'm Already Dead" by Deadboy & the Elephantmen.[22]

On October 5, 2015, the CW ordered five additional scripts for the second season;[23] however, on November 23, 2015, the network ordered six additional episodes into production, bringing the season order to 19 episodes.[24]

Casting

Alexandra Krosney originally played the part of Peyton Charles.[25] After the series was ordered, she was replaced by Aly Michalka, and the role was changed from regular cast to recurring.[26] Michalka was later promoted to series regular for the series' third season.[27] Nora Dunn was initially attached to play Liv's mother; however, it was changed when it was realized that her character was going to play a smaller role than initially envisioned. She was replaced by Molly Hagan.[28] Rob Thomas has stated that this move was a financial decision.[28]

On May 22, 2016, it was announced that Aly Michalka had been promoted to series regular for the third season.[27] On July 21, 2017, it was announced that Robert Knepper had been promoted to series regular for the fourth season.[29][30] On September 27, 2018, it was announced that Bryce Hodgson had been promoted to series regular for the fifth and final season.[31]

David Anders stated following Knepper's departure that while he had suggested Rutger Hauer to play his character's father, he believed Knepper did well in the role.[32]

Allegations against Knepper

Late in 2017, in the wake of sexual assault allegations against Robert Knepper, the CW conducted an internal inquiry. Finding no evidence of misconduct transpiring on the set, it was announced he would be remaining on the series.[33] McIver and Kohli released statements following the decision, with McIver stating she supported and admired the bravery of women coming forward in general; Kohli said he did not feel comfortable giving his full thoughts at the time.[34]

Knepper personally announced his promotion in a video released at Comic-Con but did not partake in promotional interviews for his role following the allegations, nor did he attend the fourth-season wrap party.[35][36]

On January 12, 2018, it was announced that the studio had conducted a second investigation. CW president Mark Pedowitz stated, "Again, the investigation related to the set and his behavior on the set. They found no wrongdoing on the set."[37] Pedowitz elaborated that Knepper had signed on for a single season and that his exit from the series had already been planned.[38][39]

Reception

Critical response

The first season received generally positive reviews.[40] Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the series a 92% approval rating, with an average rating of 7.65/10, based on 52 reviews. The site's critical consensus states: "An amusing variation on the zombie trend, iZombie is refreshingly different, if perhaps too youth-oriented to resonate with adult audiences."[41] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 74 out of 100, based on reviews from 38 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[42]

Amy Ratcliffe of IGN rated the pilot episode 8.4/10, praising the series' "casual take on zombies" and Rose McIver's performance as Liv.[43] LaToya Ferguson of The Onion's The A.V. Club graded the series an A− and stated the series is better for diverging from its comic book origins. She praised the series for having the same quick-witted banter as Veronica Mars and observed it measures up well against Pushing Daisies, noting: "Television can only be better for having the voices of Thomas and Ruggiero-Wright back on a weekly basis".[44] Inkoo Kang of the Dallas Observer called the series, "dazzlingly, tirelessly witty" with an "acute attention to human relationships", and praised it as "the summer's most underrated series".[40]

The second season was also met with positive reviews. It holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 14 reviews with an average score of 8.39/10. The website's consensus states: "iZombie smoothly shifts gears in its second season, moving between comedy and dramatic procedural while skillfully satirizing modern society along the way."[45]

The third season received further praise with a score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 10 reviews with an average rating of 8.56/10. The website's consensus reads, "Broodier and brainier, iZombie's third season may be its best yet".[46]

The fourth season has been met with similar praise. It earned a score of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 12 reviews, with an average rating of 8.13/10. The website's consensus reads, "iZombie's fourth season boldly flips the board on the series narrative, injecting fresh blood into its amiable corpse and promising that it won't go stiff anytime soon".[47]

On Rotten Tomatoes season 5 has an approval rating of 71% based on reviews from 7 critics.[48]

The series finale was met with notable negative response, however. In March 2022, nearly three years after its airing, Paste reflected that both the finale and final season as a whole seemed to have suffered due to Rob Thomas' preoccupation with the concurrent revival of Veronica Mars, and stated "The finale of iZombie was one of the worst TV viewing experiences I have ever had. As the minutes unfolded I became filled with horror watching everything fall apart. The characters I had loved for five seasons turned into strangers. And when the credits finally rolled, I found myself questioning all the love I had put into it."[49] The same month, Rahul Kohli admitted dissatisfaction with the finale, saying that he felt that it "sucked" and was "super disappointing".[50]

Ratings

Viewership and ratings per season of iZombie
Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes First aired Last aired TV season Viewership
rank
Avg. viewers
(millions)
18–49
rank
Avg. 18–49
rating
Date Viewers
(millions)
Date Viewers
(millions)
1 Tuesday 9:00 pm 13 March 17, 2015 2.29[51] June 9, 2015 1.45[52] 2014–15 154 2.51 TBD 1.0[53]
2 19 October 6, 2015 1.53[54] April 12, 2016 1.22[55] 2015–16 174 1.68 TBD 0.7[56]
3 13 April 4, 2017 0.95[57] June 27, 2017 0.86[58] 2016–17 160 1.37[59] TBD 0.6[60]
4 Monday 9:00 pm 13 February 26, 2018 0.99[61] May 28, 2018 0.74[62] 2017–18 191 1.24 TBD 0.5[63]
5 Thursday 8:00 pm 13 May 2, 2019 0.73[64] August 1, 2019 0.75[65] 2018–19 TBD TBD TBD TBD
iZombie : U.S. viewers per episode (millions)
Graphs are unavailable due to technical issues. There is more info on Phabricator and on MediaWiki.org.
SeasonEpisode number
12345678910111213141516171819
12.291.991.811.771.851.801.691.621.701.501.561.801.45
21.531.221.291.471.431.401.171.551.371.171.431.431.251.451.211.251.071.361.22
30.950.870.750.970.930.970.860.980.920.710.780.770.86
40.990.770.760.730.720.800.810.680.680.780.720.640.74
50.730.580.570.690.670.670.700.600.620.570.710.610.75
Audience measurement performed by Nielsen Media Research[66]

Accolades

The fourth season received the ReFrame Stamp, which is awarded by the gender equity coalition ReFrame as a "mark of distinction" for film and television projects that are proven to have gender-balanced hiring, with stamps being awarded to projects that hire female-identifying people, especially those of color, in four out of eight critical areas of their production.[67]

Award Year[a] Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Leo Awards 2016 Best Cinematography in a Dramatic Series Michael Wale (for "Zombie Bro") Nominated [68]
[69]
Best Make-Up in a Dramatic Series Amber Trudeau, Malin Sjostrom, Cory Roberts and Rebekah Bak (for "Method Head") Won
MTV Fandom Awards 2015 Best New Fandom of the Year iZombie Won [70]
Teen Choice Awards 2015 Choice TV: Breakout Show iZombie Nominated [71]
2016 Choice TV Show: Sci-Fi/Fantasy iZombie Nominated [72]
2017 Choice TV Show: Actress/Comedy Rose McIver Nominated [73]
2018 Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress Rose McIver Nominated [74]
Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show iZombie Nominated
2019 Choice Summer TV Actress Rose McIver Nominated [75]

Home media

The first three seasons of the show have been released on DVD and Blu-ray by Warner Home Entertainment and the Warner Archive Collection respectively. The fourth season did not receive a release due to rights issues, according to Warner Archive. The fourth season cannot be purchased on digital stores, but is available for streaming on Netflix. The fifth season was not released either, supposedly due to the fourth season not being released. However, unlike the fourth season, the fifth season is available for purchase on digital stores.

Complete season DVD/Blu-ray release dates Additional info
Region 1 DVD/Region A Blu-Ray Region 2 DVD Region 4 DVD
1 September 29, 2015 (DVD)[76]
July 12, 2016 (Blu-Ray)[77]
September 22, 2016[78] March 16, 2016 [79] Each season release contains additional features, which include deleted scenes and Comic-Con panels.
2 July 12, 2016 (DVD & Blu-Ray)[80] May 29, 2017[81] March 29, 2017 [82]
3 October 3, 2017 (DVD & Blu-Ray)[83] April 4, 2018[84]
4 Warner Archive claims that the fourth season "has clearance issues which preclude a Blu-ray release".[85]
5

Notes

  1. ^ Indicates the year of ceremony

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