iZombie (stylized as iZOMBiE) is an American 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 was officially picked up on May 8, 2014, for the 2014–15 season and premiered on March 17, 2015 with an order of 13 episodes. The series was renewed for a second season, which premiered October 6, 2015 and comprised 19 episodes. On March 11, 2016, The CW renewed the series for a third season.
Seattle medical resident Olivia "Liv" Moore is turned into a zombie while attending a boat party. To cope with her new appetite for brains, Liv takes a job at the King County morgue and shares her secret with her boss, Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti. In order for Liv to survive, Ravi encourages her to eat the brains of murder victims whose bodies are delivered to the morgue. Gradually, Ravi becomes Liv's friend and confidant, and as a scientist, he is intrigued with Liv's condition. Whenever she eats a victim's brain, Liv temporarily inherits some of their personality traits. She also experiences flashbacks which often give her clues about the murder. Those visions can be generally triggered by sights (events or objects) or sounds (repeated sentences). Liv uses this new ability to help the Seattle Police Department solve crimes, passing herself off as a psychic consultant, while Ravi works to develop a cure for Liv's affliction in hopes that one day she will resume her former life.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||March 17, 2015||June 9, 2015|
|2||19||October 6, 2015||April 12, 2016|
Cast and characters
- Rose McIver as Olivia "Liv" Moore:
- Liv is 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". She now 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. Without feeding, she becomes increasingly less intelligent. She experiences flashes of memories from the brains she eats, and temporarily takes on random quirks from her subjects—ranging from a fear of pigeons to a sudden appreciation for art to martial arts skills—and has demonstrated the ability to take a bullet to the chest with little damage. She graduated from the University of Washington. When Liv enters so-called "Full-on Zombie Mode" her eyes turn red and her strength is vastly increased. The change is triggered by intense stress (or hunger), and the zombie has very little control over the trigger. It has also been noticed that in Season 1, Episode 8 "Dead Air" Liv still retains memories of Jerome's brain through a triggered flashback of Blaine kidnapping him in a car. This raises the question of whether Liv retains memories of all the brains she's consumed, or their skills too.
- 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 claim that she is "psychic-ish" to account for her knowledge of victims. Eventually Liv tells him she is a zombie and that her "psychic skills" are actually a side effect from eating the brains of the victims. She does this to get Major out of jail.
- Rahul Kohli as Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti:
- A medical examiner and Liv's boss. 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.
- Robert Buckley as Major Lilywhite:
- Liv's ex-fiancé; she ended the relationship to prevent him from becoming "infected" by her condition. Like Liv, he is a University of Washington alumnus, and he worked as a social worker at the local teen center in season one. After temporarily being a zombie, he becomes a covert zombie hunter in season two, freezing his targets so they can be cured in future. Eventually returned to zombie form, after learning the cure was only temporary.
- David Anders as Blaine "DeBeers" McDonough:
- A drug dealer-turned-zombie whose experimental drug, Utopium, caused the zombie outbreak. His rich father considers him "a disappointment" after giving him money for failed businesses. He claimed to Liv that he resorts to grave-robbing to access brains, but in reality he has set up a new "drug ring" whose customers are other zombies and product is the brains of murdered local homeless teens. His base of operations in season one is a local butcher shop from which he runs a home delivery service of gourmet prepared brain meals for wealthy zombie customers. In season two, after being cured, he moves his brains business to a funeral home. In keeping with his drug-dealer approach, he has been shown attacking his former criminal associates and rivals, and creating new zombies to drive up demand. He eventually reverts back to a zombie state before injecting himself with another attempt at a cure; after which he becomes an amnesiac. The character has often been compared to Spike from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer mythos. Coincidentally, Anders consulted Spike's portrayer, James Marsters, prior to bleaching his hair for the role.
- 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 works as an assistant district attorney for the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. Peyton learns of Liv's secret at the end of season 1, prompting her to leave. Peyton returns in season 2, in charge of the task force against Utopium. Peyton also carries an on and off again relationship with Ravi. Since season 2 episode 3, Peyton has reconciled with Liv. While making a case against crime lord Stacey Boss, she grew close to Blaine and slept with him before learning that he turned Liv into a zombie. (recurring 1–2, main 3)
- Molly Hagan as Eva Moore: Liv's mother, who often attempts to encourage Liv to get over what Eva thinks is "PTSD" from the boat party. Eva works as a hospital administrator. (season 1; guest appearance in season 2)
- Nick Purcha as Evan Moore: Liv's brother. (season 1; guest appearance in season 2)
- Aleks Paunovic as Julien Dupont (also called the Candyman), a zombie thug who works for Blaine. He's later killed by Major. (season 1)
- Bradley James as Lowell Tracy, a musician and fellow zombie who is romantically interested in Liv. He's later killed by Blaine. (season 1)
- Hiro Kanagawa as Lieutenant Suzuki, Babineaux's senior officer who is secretly a zombie in Blaine's employ. When kids' abductions get too much attention, he starts to worry about being discovered. (season 1)
- Steven Weber as Vaughn Du Clark, the scheming and power-crazed CEO of Max Rager, an energy drink company that is under investigation. He dies during the season 2 finale after being overtaken by the countless zombies that were made as a result of some young Max Rager employees inadvertently mixing Utopium with the Max Rager energy drink. Rita is one of the zombies that attacks him.
- Leanne Lapp as Rita, Vaughn's equally manipulative and scheming daughter and personal assistant who is tasked with spying on Liv while posing as her roommate 'Gilda'. She becomes a zombie towards the end of season two, after being attacked by the zombie her father has been researching on in the secret basement of the Max Rager building. She along with a horde of zombies overtake her father near the end of the season 2 finale.
- Jessica Harmon as Dale Bozzio, an FBI agent begins a relationship with Clive after being assigned to the 'Chaos Killer' case.
- Eddie Jemison as Stacey Boss, Seattle's most ruthless and dangerous crime lord, who controls the majority of the city's organised crime.
- Greg Finley as Drake Holloway, one of Blaine's dealers who is turned into a zombie and befriends Liv. It is revealed that he is an undercover Seattle police officer who infiltrated Mr. Boss' organization. (season 2)
- Robert Knepper as Angus McDonough, Blaine's estranged father whom he turned into a zombie.
- Andre Tricoteux as Chief, a mute zombie in Blaine's employ. (season 2)
- Bryce Hodgson as Donald 'Don E.' Eberhard, an associate of Blaine's who voluntarily becomes a zombie and takes over Blaine's business once he becomes an amnesiac. Hodgson also portrayed the character's late twin brother in the first season.
Thomas was approached by Warner Brothers to develop the show 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.
Alexandra Krosney originally played the part of Peyton Charles. After the show was ordered to series, 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 show's third season. Nora Dunn was initially attached to play Liv's mother; this 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. Thomas has stated that this move was a financial decision.
On October 5, 2015, The CW ordered five additional scripts for the second season, and on November 23, 2015, the network ordered six additional episodes into production, bringing the season order to 19 episodes.
On May 22, 2016, it was announced that Aly Michalka was promoted to series regular for season three.
|Season||Timeslot (ET)||Episodes||Premiered||Ended||TV season||Rank||Viewers|
|1||Tuesday 9:00 pm||13||March 17, 2015||2.29||June 9, 2015||1.45||2014–15||154|
|2||19||October 6, 2015||1.53||April 12, 2016||1.22||2015–16||174|
The first season received positive reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the series a 92% approval rating, with an average rating of 7.7/10 based on 49 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 30 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Amy Ratcliffe of IGN rated the pilot episode 8.4/10, praising the show's "casual take on zombies" and Rose McIver's performance as Liv. LaToya Ferguson of The Onion's The A.V. Club graded the series a A- and stated the show is better for diverging from its comic book origins. She praised the show for having 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 show, "dazzlingly, tirelessly witty" with an "acute attention to human relationships", and praised it as "the summer's most underrated series".
The second season has been met with positive reviews. It holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 12 reviews with an average score of 8.3 out of 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."
Awards and nominations
|2015||SXSW Film Festival||Episodic||Diane Ruggiero and Rob Thomas||Nominated|
|mtvU Fandom Awards||Best New Fandom of the Year||iZombie||Won|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV: Breakout Show||iZombie||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|