‘Eat your heart out.’
Santa Clarita Diet is an American comedy horror series created in 2017 by Victor Fresco for the streaming service Netflix. It stars Drew Barrymore, Timothy Olyphant, Liv Hewson and Skyler Gisondo.
The third season will be available online from March 29, 2019.
Married couple Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and Joel (Timothy Olyphant) are real estate agents in Santa Clarita, California. The couple’s lives take a dark turn after Sheila goes through a transformation – becoming a zombie who feeds on human flesh…
Season Two finds the Hammonds trying to adapt to Sheila’s now-advanced undead state — even though she’s desperately working to hold on to her suburban lifestyle and not be defined as just another monster.
Unfortunately — while the family has become markedly better at murder — the number of missing people in Santa Clarita is starting to pile up and it’s no longer going unnoticed.
Meanwhile, the Hammonds are chasing the source of the virus so they can stop it from spreading and save humanity — which seems important. Through it all, Sheila and Joel are grounded by their unconditional love for one another. Sure, being undead — or loving someone who is — isn’t always easy, but don’t all relationships have their challenges?
The series premiered on February 3, 2017, and consisted of ten episodes. The first season received generally positive reviews, with critics praising the cast and premise, but criticising the number of graphic scenes.
In Germany, posters depicting a human finger sliced up like a Currywurst, a popular German fast food dish, were removed after Netflix received complaints.
Season Two Reviews:
“Santa Clarita Diet has accomplished actors and great one-liners but its stakes are stuck at sea level. Even when it fleetingly considers the morality of murder, the series is prone to take the easiest path possible and then wrap it up in a gag about undesirable body parts (Sheila loves fingers but compares thumbs to “the ends of bread”).” Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic
“Season two took the series from light-hearted entertainment to full-blown addictive television. It fully embraced its humor; this isn’t a horror comedy but a comedy-drama that happens to have undead cannibals and mysterious Serbian ball-leg things. There’s gore and a lot of gross-out gags, but more than that there’s a ton of heart.” Meagan Navarro, Bloody Disgusting
“Santa Clarita Diet has no problem showing off just how sharp, smart, and adept at storytelling it is this season. This is a show that takes pride in how ridiculous it can be. Plus, having a purpose helps move the group and the episodes along in a structured yet silly way.” Lea Palmieri, Decider.com
” …proves that it has a sustainable vision and that this show is more than just some one-season fad. If anything the show is only getting better and it doesn’t suffer from the usual problems that can afflict Netflix shows, such as the season’s pacing. Admittedly, some of the show’s fight scenes play out a little awkwardly and look low budget, but it’s hardly a big deal. This isn’t Daredevil.” Daniel Kurland, Den of Geek!
“Santa Clarita Diet remains a consistently funny, weirdly amiable watch. For all that it deals with murder, cannibalism, and lashings of gore, there’s something nice about seeing a family sticking by each other through thick and thin, even when their matriarch is using a human heart as a stress ball. There’s nothing else quite like it out there at the moment, which is not something we get to say often.” Travis Johnston, Film Ink
“Season 2 edges closer to making you care about these people instead of trying (and often failing) to make you laugh at their mindfully delivered jokes. If Santa Clarita Diet is going to succeed with self-awareness, it needs to give Joel and Sheila as many honest, joke-breaking scenes as their daughter (Abby still feels like the only real character on the show), and it needs to amp up the insanity.” Ben Travers, IndieWire
“The actors are just having the best time: Barrymore bounces around with chipper menace, Hewson’s deadpan is the gift that keeps on giving, and Olyphant’s wide-eyed mania makes his every scene crackle with unpredictable energy. It’s as though Joel has been in a state of mild shock since the show’s pilot, and is coming out of it very, very slowly.” Norman Wilner, Now Toronto
“In all, the show adds up to a bunch of seemingly disparate parts that, like a zombie, absolutely should not work but somehow do. Not only does the series function as the weirdest and goriest comedy on television, it also maintains a level of consistency that’s unheard of in a series that takes as many big swings as Santa Clarita Diet does.” Kevin Yeoman, ScreenRant
“The characters stood out a lot more this season and were given much more room to grow. Through having the characters question the morality of the action and face reality truly showed a different side to them. Through this we were given the opportunity to see just how close the Hammond family truly is. The love between Joel and Shelia is unbelievable and is truly brought to life by the amazing chemistry between Drew and Timothy.” Patrycja Krysinska, Spoiler.tv
“The second season of Santa Clarita Diet, filmed after the 2016 election, takes pains to show that it’s not afraid to take sides. Liv becomes more and more serious about environmental activism, culminating in an explosive anti-fracking demonstration. Sheila confronts the up-to-the-minute dilemma of how to deal with a sexist boss when she’s not allowed to simply rip out his vocal cords. And the series takes a lighthearted but firm stand in favor of punching Nazis, and / or of tearing Nazis limb from limb and eating them.” Noah Berlatsky, The Verge
Season One Reviews:
“Death, as it appears in all its gory glory in Netflix’s sparkling new comedy Santa Clarita Diet, can also be a stomach-wrenching experience. But for those who can muscle through, the reward is one of the most joyous, hilariously dark comedies to come our way in many a season.” Robert Bianco, USA Today
“At a nuts-and-bolts level, Santa Clarita Diet isn’t entirely novel: In addition to those Ash vs. Evil Dead and Stan Against Evil parallels, the show is essentially a sitcom hybridization of iZombie and The Americans. The main attraction, and the thing that’ll pull viewers from one episode to the next is the show’s deranged energy.” Erik Adams, A.V. Club
“As you binge along, you’ll notice that things seem to gel nicely around episode 4-ish through 7-ish, as Santa Clarita Diet finds a balance and settles down. Even Barrymore’s struggling performance takes on a certain charm. But that momentum falters as the series searches for a suitable climax.” Hank Stuever, The Washington Post
” …vomit can be very funny; it’s just not funny here. Neither is 99% of what goes on in each episode, but there’s a potent sense of bemusement to everything, a fakeness bordering on overt coyness. Ultimately, Santa Clarita Diet stands most prominently as a sadly still-timely cautionary tale, a warning against those who might make a show that is much funnier to its creators than those who are actually watching the episodes.” Chris Cabin, Collider
Cast and characters:
- Timothy Olyphant as Joel Hammond, Sheila’s husband and Abby’s father
- Drew Barrymore as Sheila Hammond, Joel’s wife and Abby’s mother
- Liv Hewson as Abby Hammond, Sheila and Joel’s daughter
- Skyler Gisondo as Eric Bemis, the Hammond’s neighbor and Dan’s stepson
- Ricardo Chavira as Dan Palmer, a sheriff’s deputy and the Hammond’s neighbor
- Mary Elizabeth Ellis as Lisa Palmer, Dan’s wife
- Richard T. Jones as Rick, a police officer, the Hammond’s neighbor, and Joel’s friend
- Joy Osmanski as Alondra, Rick’s wife
- Natalie Morales as Anne Garcia, a sheriff’s deputy and co-worker of Dan
- Thomas Lennon as Novak, Abby’s school principal
- Grace Zabriskie as Mrs. Bakavic, Novak’s grandmother
- DeObia Oparei as Loki Hayes, a convicted felon
- Portia de Rossi as Cora Wolf, a scientist focused on the undead
Image credits: Netflix