by Ross Taylor
The entertainment machine that is Netflix continues to churn out impressive original content at a rapid rate, and their latest effort is a horror-comedy: Santa Clarita Diet. Netflix have been pretty much spot on with their original content in the past, so anticipation and expectations were high.
Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and Joel (Timothy Olyphant) play married real-estate agents living with their daughter Abby (Liv Hewson). When Sheila has an incident at work, the neighbour’s son Eric (Skyler Gisondo) informs them that she’s technically dead. Sheila now craves human flesh, and the rest of the family need to get her fed, whilst hiding the information from their two law enforcement neighbours.
On paper, it sounds like the show should be pretty funny. It takes a couple of often worn-out premises and fuses them together for something refreshing. But the execution is what lets the show down, with the first episode being almost unbearable to watch.
Creator Victor Fresco never strikes a decent balance between Suburban-life satire and gore, with the former falling flat more often than not, and the latter being too hyperbolic in places. The show is great when the balance is met, but that happens rarely throughout the series.
Barrymore never really convinces in the lead role, and Olyphant has to take a few episodes to really settle in to the comedic role he’s clearly not used to. Hewson and Gisondo are great, and they steal the show when they’re on screen (not the most difficult feat however).
Santa Clarita Diet only really hits its stride for the middle part of the series, with the first few episodes failing to hit the comedic notes it needs, and the latter part setting up a pretty flat-lining cliffhanger.
Season 2 is obviously on the way, but I don’t think I’ll be taking much notice.