Rob Thomas wraps five great years of iZombie

Review by C.J. Bunce

After its first episode back in 2015, we called it “your next favorite TV series.”  This week iZombie saw its last episode.

Rob Thomas hasn’t directed the blockbuster movies or gained the same fame, but he’s filled in the gaps on television for genre fans where Joss Whedon left off.  Along with giving us Veronica Mars (and refusing to let the world of Neptune, California, fade into TV history), Thomas brought Liv Moore and the post-apocalyptic zombie world of iZombie to life, a bigger and better heroine than the one found in the original Chris Roberson and Michael Allred comics.  That was thanks to New Zealand actor Rose McIver, whose versatility and charm took her from roles in Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and Legend of the Seeker to create one of our newest favorite superheroes.  And with Thursday night’s fifth season and series finale episode it’s all over now, yet still leaving plenty of opportunity for future episodes, series, a film, or novels, just as Thomas has provided for his sleuth Veronica Mars.

Can the middle–the place of reason our heroes are striving to fight for–survive the extremism from both sides of the ongoing struggle?  In the finale, “All’s Well that Ends Well,” Thomas brings everything full circle, wrapping up every last plot thread for Liv, Major, Clive, Ravi, Peyton, Dale, Blaine, and Don E.  But he throws an eleventh hour wrench into the plot–the cure for zombies won’t help the kids with Fröhlich’s syndrome.  Are they doomed either way?  As always, Thomas leaves plenty of room for fun–the actors and characters, the banter, and that chemistry, that made iZombie so good for five seasons.  Along with McIver, Malcolm Goodwin, Robert Buckley, Rahul Kohli, David Anders, Aly Michalka, Bryce Hodgson, and Jessica Harmon formed probably the best ensemble cast on network genre TV.

A perfect series finale is a reminder of how iZombie matched the success of Grimm in so many ways, and filled the void left by that show so well.  iZombie also improved with each of its five seasons, and exponentially improved in its final season–as Grimm did–once the end of production was in sight, complete with the year’s best hour of TV, the noir send-up episode “Night and the Zombie City.”  Series like these prove that when ratings aren’t the only driving force and creators have freedom to take characters in new directions, audiences are in store for a real treat.

Fans of Rob Thomas who appreciated his affinity for tapping actors from his Veronica Mars days throughout the series run, like Enrico Colantoni, Jason Dohring, Francis Capra, Ryan Hansen, and iZombie regulars Daran Norris and Ken Marino, will appreciate a finale appearance by Chris Lowell, who played Veronica Mars’ boyfriend Piz on that series.  And success for the series doesn’t belong to Thomas alone, as the show was co-run by executive producer Diane Ruggiero-Wright, also known for co-helming Veronica Mars and the Bobby Cannavale-led attempt at resurrecting Thomas’s earlier great but short-lived series, Cupid, starring Jeremy Piven.

iZombie premiered St. Patrick’s Day 2015 among a year of hits like Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Mr. Robot, 12 Monkeys, Fargo, Agent Carter, and Wayward Pines, and went on to outperform them all.  It didn’t get the fan base of The Walking Dead, but it provided a welcome alternative for viewers that preferred their zombies with a big dose of humor.  We enjoyed some our favorite cosplay from the series.  Although it’s less likely we’ll see those spin-offs Veronica Mars would find, iZombie was sure fun while it lasted.

If you missed the series, don’t forget it for your future binge watching.  End-to-end, iZombie is 71 episodes worthy of your time.  Stream past seasons and take a look back at the source graphic novel that started it all here at Amazon.  Seasons 1-4 are also available now on Netflix.


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