Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Santa Clarita Diet Season 1 Netflix Series Review

Santa Clarita Diet (2017-)
Season 1 - 10 episodes (2017)

Watch Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix
Created by: Victor Fresco
Starring:  Drew Barrymore, Timothy Olyphant, Nathan Fillion
Rated: TV-MA

Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant play married real estate agents Sheila and Joel Hammond whose lives take a dark turn when Sheila experiences a dramatic change. She dies and develops a taste for human flesh, all while maintaining her family and business relationships.

This is an odd show. On paper this seems hilarious. While it creates an absurd combination with family sit-com problems and zombies, it's not as funny as it should be. Barrymore is the laid back free spirit that craves human flesh. Olyphant is her cowering husband trying to balance the insanity of murdering people for food with trying to be a good husband.
While it can be gory, it maintains such a comedic bent that the gore is cartoonish, until you see Barrymore snacking on human body parts which quickly turns unsettling.
The show has engaging plots and plenty of side characters that are utilized to good effect, but they don't feel like real characters. They are there just as comedic props. The humor is often forced or relies on being crude. It's often fun, but not always funny.
Watch it.

This show doesn't stop at just zombies and a sit-com. As the season continues, more plot lines are introduced. The Hammonds often find themselves in between a sheriff and cop neighbor that don't like each other. This is while they have to hunt people to kill to feed Sheila. Joel is scrambling to find a Serbian cure, though Sheila may not want to be cured. Becoming a zombie freed her. It lessened her inhibitions, causing her to live the life she wants.
Sheila isn't the only zombie. While we get a sense of how becoming a zombie changes your mentality, we don't know how Sheila developed the disease.
During the season, their daughter tries to reconcile having a zombie mother and befriends a nerdy neighbor. A big issue is honesty, the daughter and he parents. How do you teach your kid morals when you murder people... and you're a zombie?
The first episode is over the top, feeling like a parody of both sit-coms and zombie shows. As the season progresses it refines it's style, though I'd prefer clever over crude. The directing and delivery could make this funnier.

While we don't know what happened to Sheila, Joel is trying to track down an answer based on a Serbian painting. The show keeps pushing the plot forward, adding another zombie and a contentious relationship with Joel and his neighbor. The backbone of the show is a family bonding while trying  overcome this strange disease Sheila has.
Joel and Sheila need human flesh to feed her, and their exploits to obtain it are anything but smooth despite their planning. They bumble through murders, vowing to do things together as a couple. A family that kills together, stays together. It's the absurdity of that kind of juxtaposition that gives this show it's charm. While Joel can be an annoying character, this season is carving an arc for him to become more assertive. This show could have said zombies and not gone much further, but it has a destination.

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