The CW has ordered additional episodes of both iZombie and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,according to the Hollywood Reporter. The sophomore drama iZombie, from Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars), received an order for six additional episodes, which takes Season 2 to 19 episodes, three short of a full season. Meanwhile, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The CW's only freshman series this fall, will receive five more, taking its first season to 18 total episodes. But before you celebrate the news of the additional episodes, you should also consider what it means that neither series received the traditional "back nine" order.
Traditionally, when a series receives additional episodes but doesn't receive a full season order, it could mean the network is just trying to fill its schedule and that the series didn't get a full vote of confidence from the network. Will that be the case here? It's fairly easy to see why despite Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's low ratings (0.4 and 1.04 million Live+7 viewers) the network decided to extend the show's run, and it's not necessarily because the show has been positively received by critics, but because the network has nothing else to pair with its Golden Globe-winning series Jane the Virgin. So the answer here was simple: extend the Rachel Bloom-led comedy's freshman season for as long as possible.
The explanation for iZombie is a little more complicated. The critically beloved series, which stars Rose McIver as a zombie who works in a morgue and uses the visions she receives from the brains she eats to help solve murder cases, has actually performed fairly well for The CW thanks in part to its lead-in The Flash. The series is averaging a 0.9 rating in the 18-to-49 demographic and 2.06 million viewers in Live+7 ratings. So why wasn't it picked up for a full season? It likely has little to do with whether or not The CW is pleased with iZombie's performance (and I have to think that they are), and everything to do with the fact the network had too many genre shows waiting in the wings and it was making scheduling the network's midseason dramas a nightmare. What could be happening here is The CW is targeting Tuesdays to launch Julie Plec's outbreak drama Containment, the lone remaining unscheduled new show, once iZombie finishes its season.
The fact that The CW only has room for 10 hours of original programming a week has never really been a problem until this season, and on the one hand, it's a good problem to have. But on the other, it sucks for iZombie in that in a way, it's not getting the full season it deserves because the schedule is too crowded. The network can't afford to give it a full season because it needs to launch its other dramas, but it can't cancel it, either, because it's performing well and it's well liked (and because the network probably doesn't want to piss off the show's fans, many of whom are still angry from when the network, then in its first season of operation, canceled iZombie's spiritual predecessor,Veronica Mars, also created by Thomas).
But iZombie's short order could have more immediate problems than whether or not it will be back next season. Earlier this fall, Rob Thomas told the Hollywood Reporterthat the arc he was crafting for Season 2 was built to span a full 22 episodes and now the writers will likely have to rework the story to fit the shortened episode order. Three episodes doesn't feel like a lot until you don't have it. So while it's okay to celebrate the fact we'll be getting to spend six more hours with David Anders' Blaine, remember that we're still getting short changed.
On Monday, following the announcement that the network ordered additional episodes, the network also announced premiere dates for Season 3 of The 100 as well as the Arrow and Flash spin-off DC's Legends of Tomorrow, and in order to get them on the schedule, The CW had to bench Reign and move The Vampire Diaries and The Originals to Fridays.