Below is a spoiler-free review of ‘Santa Clarita Diet’ Season One.
If you’ve seen this season you can delve into the spoiler section after the review.
We sat through severed limbs & a touch of cannibalism to bring you this Santa Clarita Diet review. Starring Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant as an ordinary real estate duo until Barrymore comes down with a case of the undead.
What I love about Santa Clarita Diet is the larger than life humour. As I mentioned in the season premiere I just fell head over heels for Timothy Olyphant’s over the top performance as a whiny guy, wanting to stay out of trouble. I can relate! But of course with a wife that eats people, staying out of trouble isn’t so easy. And Joel was ready and eager to prove to Sheila that he could tango with the best of them.
If you strip away the gore and the zombies it’s really a story about a family working through their problems together. They do have the advantage in that the parents are already a real estate duo. And that choice of occupation could be no accident by the writers. The series leans in hard.
As squeamish Joel’s, my partner and I were put-off by the gore but we persevered. It came without warning and we would both look away until it was over (which doesn’t work so well in practise). But it was always for a laugh. Even if it was gross-out one. I can see the practical effects team had great fun designing the bloody body parts. And Drew Barrymore just got right up in there. Maybe a little too much fun…
There’s also the cute and awkward relationship between the daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) and the geeky neighbour Eric (Skyler Gisondo). It’s more earnest than creepy. Eric genuinely wants to help out. As luck would have it, he’s into the paranormal. Convenient! As convenient as having two cops for neighbours. Oh wait, they have that too.
The series is well paced like any other sitcom but takes its time where required. It does push the whole “trying to cure the zombie” storyline to the side for a number of episodes to deal with family stuff, or another corpse they have to dispose of. But that’s what this is, a heartfelt sitcom with a cannibal. Boy, did it feel weird writing that sentence. It’s about them coping with this new life situation rather than curing the illness. More about that in the spoiler section.
Verdict: Santa Clarita Diet was a lot of fun. Insane, gory, & cheeky fun. But fun all the same. Bring on Season Two.
Where to watch: Netflix
That finale huh? Way to drop a cliffhanger. Sheila is chained up in their basement becoming feral, while also losing toes, and her eyeball has a knack for falling out of its socket.
The ending felt abrupt, but no more so than their other episode cliffhangers that kept us coming back for more. I expected the Netflix counter to pop up and the next episode to play, but nope. “Is that really it?” I cried. I flicked through the episodes making sure we hadn’t missed anything, but yep, only ten episodes.
Portia de Rossi shows up out of nowhere as the doctor that promises to cure Sheila, recalling her eccentric performance as a supervisor on Better Off Ted. Then she packs her bags and leaves, before the job is even done.
This isn’t any ordinary sitcom, but finishing so pre-emptively leaves me to worry about season two. Santa Clarita Diet is so good because of the unwitting characters, not the whole ancient mythology. It’s a feel-good show about zombies!