After my initial first bite of Santa Clarita Diet, I was immediately hopeful for a season of more of the same, and I was so relieved that it did not disappoint. Sometimes, with horror television shows, or even just TV shows in general, the plot or characters go off in a direction that you do not expect – not always in a good way.
Santa Clarita Diet puts out a strong performance through all 10 Netflix episodes, and it surprisingly becomes more endearing and sinister as it progresses. Sheila and Joel, and their daughter Abby, stumble their way through their new reality of Sheila’s condition much to their delight and chagrin (and ours).
First off, Drew Barrymore delivers a strong performance in her lead role as the housewife turned zombie from the moment she enters the screen. While there are some special effects that reinforce the idea that Sheila is of the undead, she does not look grey or green or have crazy red eyes – she still aesthetically looks the same.
It is the hilarity of her dealing with the emotional and mental side effects of her condition really sell the transformation rather than a physical change. Barrymore also loves the f-word in this show, once she turns, which is a change from Sheila’s previously dull life and is a stark contrast to her suburban housewife appearance. Equal parts vicious and loving, Sheila is a lovely character that viewers will attach to and be sympathetic to her plight.
Speaking of characters, the supporting actors, namely Sheila’s husband Joel (played by Timothy Olyphant), their daughter Abby (played by Liv Hewson), and Abby’s friend and neighbor to the family Eric (Skyler Gisondo) all equal Drew Barrymore’s performance. They each bring comedy, as well as deep, heartfelt moments to Santa Clarita Diet especially as the situation with Sheila’s condition worsens.
Although sometimes they do things that are unexpected, it is refreshing for the characters to be flawed and not react perfectly to an unorthodox situation. Instead of knowing exactly what to do, the characters each deal with Sheila’s zombification in perfectly human ways, just making it up as they go along, day by day.
The overall story of Santa Clarita Diet is relatively easy to follow, but there are so many situations that the family have to get super creative. Sometimes this can result in awkward or almost cringey instances, but other times there are great comedic moments such as when Sheila and Joel try to bribe a hospital mortuary worker into handing over a body and, instead of asking why they need the body, the nurse accuses them of being necrophiliacs.
There are enough twists and turns to keep it interesting in this well-written show. Santa Clarita Diet is insanely creative show and definitely worth your time, both as a horror fan or anyone looking for a new TV program to binge-watch. While sitcoms might not be everyone’s bag, the mix between sinister themes and dark humor can elicit loud chuckles and a general good time.
Catch Santa Clarita Diet in its entirety on Netflix now