Santa Clarita Diet (Recommended for the Undead)

If Netflix keeps recommending Santa Clarita Diet to you and you're feeling hesitant to watch yet another show or movie about zombies - I recommend you give it a shot. Halfway through binging this first season I wasn't sure I liked it and then a few days later I binged the second half and am fully committed to waiting for the second season. I highlighted my primary concerns with my own response just in case you have similar preconceived notions.

Again with the zombies? Can we have one friggin' year where a show or a film about zombies doesn't get released?!

This zombie premise is slightly different than others we have seen and the way the characters manage this drastic change is surprisingly relaxed instead of stricken with horror. Santa Clarita Diet mixes the classic zombie elements of flesh-eating, gore, and folklore with a suburban family who just wants to be "normal". The combination of comedy, violence, standard "sitcom" structure, and some pretty flat-out gross moments works well together.

I wasn’t sure I was still sold on Drew Barrymore (eek, judgement imminent).

After the romantic comedies of the earlier 2000s I lost interest, maybe it’s less Drew Barrymore and more that I’ve grown tired of romantic comedies. The descriptions that come to mind when I think of Barrymore are “adorable" and “sweet” but Santa Clarita Diet adds a gruesome and gritty side to her as Sheila Hammond. Barrymore navigates the aggressive violent nature of an undead monster with the “typical” suburban mom in a humorous - and sometimes queasy - manner.

Ah yes, the troubled teenager, a staple of sitcoms.

Abby Hammond (Liv Hewson) is troubled - as most of us were during those middle school and high school years but the role she plays is somewhat parental. She's aggravated that she isn't being included in important family discussions, she's not necessarily being lied to but she is being excluded from seriously important matters. She skips school, steals numerous things, and harasses a friend's ex with the help of her friend and next-door neighbor, Eric (Skyler Gisondo). But in all fairness, this seems like a relatively "normal" way to act out especially considering the circumstances.

Now, I know I didn't mention Timothy Olyphant yet - constant crush of many (though we confuse him with Josh Duhamel far too frequently) but his role as supportive husband is great to see, even when the content is criminal in nature. Joel Hammond loves his better half in both marriage and business (they are realtors together) and though she's changing into someone he doesn’t know and wants to find a way to help her - he's totally supportive. They trust each other - for the most part - and he's got the added stoner-who-lives-near-cops-paranoia that adds some giggles.

Plus: Mary Elizabeth Ellis as flirtatious neighbor Lisa Palmer, Thomas Lennon as obnoxious yet necessary Principal Novak, Natalie Morales as a potential love interest (not telling), and appearances by Patton Oswalt (who seems to make cameos in everything) and Portia de Rossi (playing a character similar to Veronica Palmer if you enjoyed Better Off Ted).