By Chaz McDonald
Netflix has released its new zombie-comedy series, Santa Clarita Diet, starring Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant. The show is a welcome addition to the zombie genre. The show breathes life into a rather stagnant genre. This is an off beat, dark comedy that gives a much-needed diversity to the zombie fan base. Set in a format as your standard sitcom, Santa Clarita Diet, breaks all expectations and zombie stereotypes that people have come to know.
Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant play husband and wife real estate agents whose lives are turned upside down when Sheila (Barrymore) becomes violently ill and becomes a zombie. Being the good husband that he is, Joel (Olyphant) tries to help his wife and adjust to the new and very unusual lifestyle. Soon their lives are even more chaotic when they realize that Sheila needs to feed and that only human flesh will satisfy her hunger. To ease their conscience, they become the Dexter of zombies, only aiming to kill people doing illegal activities. If that wasn’t enough, they have to deal with their teenage daughter, Abby (played by Liv Hewson), and how this new lifestyle will affect her.
Barrymore and Olyphant have great chemistry and are believable as a long married wife and husband. Barrymore thrives in comedy roles that allow her goofball personality to shine, and Santa Clarita Diet perfectly encapsulates her ability to play the quirky, smart and funny female lead who is also still believable and someone you can relate to. With subject matter as potentially as dark as this show is, her charm balances it out and makes some of the more questionable acts really funny. Timothy Olyphant shines with his comedic timing and plays the “everyday straight man in an awkward position” really well. He was the perfect balance to the passion driven character that Barrymore plays. Hewson, who plays their teenage daughter, is great as well because she isn’t on either end of the annoying teenager on TV scale. Instead she reacts convincingly like you would believe a teenager would in an unusual situation like she finds herself in.
Netflix has done it again. With two strong leads in Barrymore and Olyphant, there’s enough strong acting and pop culture overlap to pique any interest. Mix in a zombie element and enough gross out humor to drop your jaw, and the result is an enjoyable first season to a promising new comedy. While others find it squeamish, the gore is comical and unrealistic, poking fun at the zombie genre in a satirical way. Ten episodes was just enough to get everyone hooked on the new series and being able to binge the show makes you want season 2 now.