Santa Clarita Diet
As usual, I am a little late to the craze behind Santa Clarita Diet, the comedy on Netflix recently canceled after three seasons. You may wonder if it is even worth checking out at this point, but I’m here to tell you: it is. So, while the chances of the show being renewed elsewhere are basically zero (and more on that later), you can still enjoy the Hammonds and their adventures as they lasted. Let’s talk about the positives, shall we?
First, the characters.
In Santa Clarita, we have a group of characters that you’re bound to find funny, charming and sometimes even a little annoying. The three work, despite how that may sound. First, we have the Hammonds, the basis of the entire show. There is Sheila (Drew Barrymore), our lovely undead protagonist and her devoted husband, Joel (Timothy Olyphant). They are realtors in Santa Clarita, California where they live with their teenage daughter, Abby.
Abby becomes good friends with their neighbor’s son, Eric following Sheila’s untimely death then undeath. He is a techy nerd who has a huge crush on Abby and is almost always being embarrassed by his overzealous and somewhat ridiculous mother, Lisa.
Teenage Angst and Chemistry
Furthermore, the “will they won’t they” back and forth between Abby and Eric is enough to keep you coming back and wondering. Thrown into a world neither of them is ready for (while Eric might tell you otherwise), they bumble through insane experiences and the uncertainty of teenage romance together. I’m not saying they’re meant for each other… but they’re meant for each other. (You’ll have to watch and find out if there are wedding bells in their future.)
Barrymore and Olyphant have undeniable chemistry, shown from the pilot to the very last episode. You can’t help but root for them and their plans. Their comedic timing and ability to bounce off each other is perfect, and this isn’t their first brush with the comedy horror genre (they are both part of the Scream franchise, after all). By far, they are the most enjoyable part of the show. There are many couples out there on television where the concept is forced; you won’t find that here.
Finally, characters like Ramona from the store, Ron, Anne, and Gary (you’ll see) fill out the show’s antics. Sure, there are stereotypes for each character. Yet the show manages to break them and keep you laughing all the while.
Sure, this show is technically about zombies, but they’re not zombies like you imagine. The undead walk and talk like everyday people! As Sheila would say, they just have to, y’know, eat people. (Mostly bad ones, though it takes some trial and error to get there.) The show manages to keep it fresh. With only ten episodes a season, there isn’t much time for filler.
Whether Joel is researching knights, Abby and Eric are breaking the law, or Sheila is helping with Meals on Wheels, there is never a dull moment on the show. Just when you think its all over? They figure out a solution and are fine for another day! Fans of the horror and zombie genres might find this show a little ridiculous in comparison to shows like The Walking Dead or Black Summer, but that is just what makes it different and worth your watch. Its truly like nothing else out there.
One More Positive
As someone detail oriented, I have come to appreciate the wardrobe department and how they dress each character on the show. I looked forward to seeing what outfit Sheila each day would have, how Joel always complimented hers, and how Abby’s style makes me wish I was that kind of uncool cool in my high school days.
What Could Use Improvement (or Why it Might Not be for You)
While a comedy, the show has a lot of gore. Sheila’s kills get quite messy and the profanity can sometimes be a little extreme. Furthermore, the show can be a little over the top from time to time and sometimes the humor does miss. Are these glaring errors? No, and it’s also not the kind of show that you should be taking too seriously. It’s meant to be fun and take you on the adventures the characters come across.
Besides, as comedic as it may be, there are several points through the show where every character addresses the drastic nature of their lives. I think that is something which is missing in today’s comedy genre on TV. There is so much focus on trying to get the most laughs out of people, they lose focus on what made comedies of the late 90s and early 2000s so funny. They kept it real and people still had real problems.
Let’s be frank. Santa Clarita’s canceled and it’s not coming back. I know that sucks to hear, but at least it got three seasons and you were able to appreciate each character. Netflix has not released any specific reasoning for its cancellation, but we can make two educated guesses. Netflix’s financial set up is first.
Netflix shows become increasingly expensive past the third season (and you do have two huge names in Barrymore and Olyphant). The show has done well, but not well enough that the company believes it is worth the cost.
Second, Netflix also believes in creating original content that the everyday TV fan can discover at any time. It has never been about putting out weekly content like network television.
So, what does this mean for you? Is checking out a canceled show worth your time? Of course, it is. If you’re a fan of horror, zombies, and some hilarity, this show is definitely for you. It’s a light watch and you can catch an episode or two a day, as they’re only about thirty minutes each. So, if you’re like me and sometimes need a break from the heavy drama of network television, sink your teeth into Santa Clarita Diet. You won’t be disappointed.
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