iZombie (TV Series 2015–2019)
|Genre||Comedy, Crime, Drama, Horror|
|Content Rating||TV-14 (TV-14)|
|Awards||7 wins & 19 nominations.|
|Company||Spondoolie Productions, Vertigo Productions, Warner Bros. Television|
iZombie (TV series)
iZombie (stylized as iZOMBiE) is an American supernatural procedural crime drama television series developed by Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright for The CW. It is a loose adaptation of the comic book series of the same name created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred, and published by DC Comics under their Vertigo imprint. The series premiered on March 17, 2015, and ran for five seasons, ending on August 1, 2019. It follows the adventures of a doctor-turned-zombie named Olivia "Liv" Moore (Rose McIver), a Seattle Police medical examiner who helps solve murders.
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 stupid 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 inherits 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.
Over the course of 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
- Rose McIver as Olivia "Liv" Moore: A former medical resident who became a zombie when she attended a boat party that was attacked by people who had just taken a new designer drug called "Utopium" while also consuming the Max Rager energy drink. She works as a coroner's assistant for the King County Medical Examiner's Office to have access to the human brains she must frequently consume to maintain her humanity and suppress her hunger. She experiences flashes of memories from the brains she eats, and temporarily takes on random quirks from her subjects and has demonstrated the ability to take a bullet to the chest with little damage. Through her visions, Liv uses her powers to bring justice to the victims and help Seattle Police find and apprehend murderers. In season four she assumes the alias "Renegade", eventually becoming a public figure as she seeks to aid other zombies by smuggling them in and out of the city.
- Malcolm Goodwin as Clive Babineaux: A Seattle PD detective, newly transferred from vice to homicide when the series starts, who gets Liv's help to solve crimes. Liv and Ravi initially claim that she is "psychic-ish" to account for her knowledge of victims, but he eventually learns the truth about her in the second season. With her help, Clive has solved many cases in an incredibly efficient and accurate fashion, hoping one day to be promoted to Captain. He is in a relationship with former federal agent-turned cop Dale Bozzio.
- Rahul Kohli as Ravi Chakrabarti: A medical examiner, Liv's friend, and Major's eventual roommate. He knows Liv's secret and assists her whenever he can to protect as well as study her, expressing an interest in finding a cure for her condition. He used to work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but was fired for his obsession with preparing for an attack with biological weapons. In season 4, he becomes a half zombie while experimenting on himself to develop a zombie vaccine.
- Robert Buckley as Major Lilywhite: Liv's ex-fiancé, with whom she ended the relationship to prevent him from becoming "infected" by her condition. He worked as a social worker at the local teen center, Helton Shelter, in the first season. In the second season he was blackmailed into working for Max Rager, and he works for Fillmore-Graves in the third and fourth seasons. In the fourth season finale, he becomes the commander of the organization after the death of his predecessor, Chase Graves.
- David Anders as Blaine "DeBeers" McDonough: A drug dealer-turned brain-dealing zombie who dealt a tainted version of the experimental drug, Utopium, which helped cause the zombie outbreak. Despite being a career criminal and often serving as an antagonist, he is offered a pardon in the fourth season finale and the chance to be a hero by smuggling and supplying brains after the government cuts off shipments. This leads to him becoming a celebrity in the fifth season, though he still resorts to criminal activity to ensure the brain supply, and to that end, his status. Eventually he is exposed as part of a plot by Stacey Boss, and after losing everything becomes more evil than ever in an attempt to regain his lifestyle. Show co-creator Diane Ruggiero-Wright stated prior to the series finale that there were once plans to redeem the character, who acted as the series’ wild card, but they ultimately fell through.
- Aly Michalka as Peyton Charles: Liv's best friend and roommate, who expresses concern about Liv's declining interest in life after the boat party. She also works as an assistant district attorney for the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, before becoming the Mayor's Chief of Staff at the end of the third season. Following the Mayor's death, she becomes the acting Mayor with the goal of improving relations between Seattle's zombies and humans. Alexandra Krosney played the part of Peyton Charles in the original unaired pilot. (season 3–5; recurring seasons 1–2)
- Robert Knepper as Angus McDonough: Blaine's estranged and abusive father whom he turned into a zombie, and who tried to force Blaine to work for him prior to becoming one of Major's Chaos Killer victims. When the character returns as a regular in the fourth season, he becomes a religious cult leader known as "Brother Love", preaching pro-zombie/anti-human sentiment. Angus is ultimately executed by the United States military after trying to escape the city while leading a mass breakout of his followers. Though he attempted to mend his relationship with his son, it deteriorates immediately prior to his death upon discovering Blaine manipulated and used his cult for his own ends. (season 4; recurring seasons 2–3)
- Bryce Hodgson as Donald "Don E." Eberhard: An associate of Blaine who becomes his henchman, and later business partner. Hodgson also played the character's twin brother Scott E., a mental patient who believes in zombies, in two episodes of the first season and a flashback in the final season. (season 5; recurring seasons 2–4)
iZombie was officially picked up on May 8, 2014, and premiered on March 17, 2015. On May 6, 2015, The CW renewed the series for a second season. On November 23, 2015, The CW ordered six additional episodes for the second season, bringing the episode count to a total of 19 episodes. iZombie was renewed for a third season on March 11, 2016. iZombie was renewed for a fourth season on May 10, 2017, which premiered on February 26, 2018. iZombie was renewed for a fifth and final season on May 2018, which premiered on May 2, 2019.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||Rank||Average viewers|
(in millions inc. DVR)
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||March 17, 2015||June 9, 2015||154||2.51|
|2||19||October 6, 2015||April 12, 2016||174||1.68|
|3||13||April 4, 2017||June 27, 2017||160||1.37|
|4||13||February 26, 2018||May 28, 2018||191||1.24|
|5||13||May 2, 2019||August 1, 2019||140||1.01|
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. 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.
The opening credits for the series are drawn by Michael Allred, the main artist and co-creator of the original comic book. The series' theme tune is "Stop, I'm Already Dead" by Deadboy & the Elephantmen.
On October 5, 2015, The CW ordered five additional scripts for the second season; however, on November 23, 2015, the network ordered six additional episodes into production, bringing the season order to 19 episodes.
Alexandra Krosney originally played the part of Peyton Charles. After the series was ordered, she was replaced by Aly Michalka, and the role was changed from regular cast to recurring. Michalka was later promoted to series regular for the series' third season. 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. Rob Thomas has stated that this move was a financial decision.
On May 22, 2016, it was announced that Aly Michalka had been promoted to series regular for the third season. On July 21, 2017, it was announced that Robert Knepper had been promoted to series regular for the fourth season. On September 27, 2018, it was announced that Bryce Hodgson had been promoted to series regular for the fifth and final season.
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.
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. Rose McIver and Rahul Kohli released statements following the decision, with Kohli stating he supported and admired the bravery of women coming forward but was unable to give his full thoughts at the time.
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 Season Four wrap party.
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." Pedowitz elaborated that Knepper had signed on for a single season and that his exit from the series had already been planned.
The first season received generally positive reviews. 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." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 74 out of 100, based on reviews from 38 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
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. 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". 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".
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."
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".
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".
On Rotten Tomatoes season 5 has an approval rating of 71% based on reviews from 7 critics.
|Season||Timeslot (ET)||Episodes||First aired||Last aired||TV season||Viewership|
|1||Tuesday 9:00 pm||13||March 17, 2015||2.29||June 9, 2015||1.45||2014–15||154||2.51||TBD||1.0|
|2||19||October 6, 2015||1.53||April 12, 2016||1.22||2015–16||174||1.68||TBD||0.7|
|3||13||April 4, 2017||0.95||June 27, 2017||0.86||2016–17||160||1.37||TBD||0.6|
|4||Monday 9:00 pm||13||February 26, 2018||0.99||May 28, 2018||0.74||2017–18||191||1.24||TBD||0.5|
|5||Thursday 8:00 pm||13||May 2, 2019||0.73||August 1, 2019||0.75||2018–19||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
Awards and nominations
|2015||MTV Fandom Awards||Best New Fandom of the Year||iZombie||Won|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV: Breakout Show||iZombie||Nominated|
|SXSW Film Festival||Episodic||Diane Ruggiero and Rob Thomas||Nominated|
|2016||Leo Awards||Best Cinematography in a Dramatic Series||Michael Wale for "Zombie Bro"||Nominated|
|Best Make-Up in a Dramatic Series||Amber Trudeau, Malin Sjostrom, Cory Roberts and Rebekah Bak for "Method Head"||Won|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV Show: Sci-Fi/Fantasy||iZombie||Nominated|
|2017||Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV Show: Actress/Comedy||Rose McIver||Nominated|
|2018||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress||Rose McIver||Nominated|
|Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show||iZombie||Nominated|
|2019||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Summer TV Actress||Rose McIver||Nominated|
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)|
July 12, 2016 (Blu-Ray)
|September 22, 2016||March 16, 2016||Each season release contains additional features, which include deleted scenes and Comic-Con panels.|
|2||July 12, 2016 (DVD & Blu-Ray)||May 29, 2017||March 29, 2017|
|3||October 3, 2017 (DVD & Blu-Ray)||N/A||April 4, 2018|
|4||N/A||N/A||N/A||Warner Archive claims that the fourth season "has clearance issues which preclude a Blu-ray release".|