Santa Clarita Diet (Netflix)
Premiered February 3
Netflix is premiering shows on a near-weekly basis these days, and there’s no one set genre that the network is known for. I think I saw one promo for this show, possibly during the Golden Globes, which indicated to me that it was a dark comedy, and I knew it had something to do with Drew Barrymore’s character being a cannibal or a vampire, or something like this. It turns out that I was close, since she’s apparently becoming a zombie, a transformation that isn’t explained by anything other than an incredible personality shift and her sudden desire to eat lots of raw meat, particularly that belonging to humans. We’ve seen a recent example of a fully functional zombie on the CW’s “iZombie,” and that’s a far more stylized, somehow credible take on the subject. This show doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be other than a casual comedy about a family living in between two cops, with the mother just happening to be a zombie. Barrymore is into the role, to be sure, but the real star of the show is Timothy Olyphant, so great on “Justified,” getting fully into the part of the indecisive husband who can’t choose a toaster and just wants to get some help for his clearly troubled wife. Nathan Fillion was a great guest star, but ending the episode with his fingers getting bitten off before she really went to town on him was more than a little off-putting. I’m willing to give this show another shot, but it’s going to have to find a better idea of what it wants to be.
How will it work as a series? This family couldn’t have picked a worse play to live considering the public nature of Sheila’s excessive vomiting incident and her decision to feed on flesh in the middle of her backyard during the day. I suspect that they’re going to do their best to cover it all up and that’s going to result in some entertainment, some awkwardness, and likely some people getting eaten.
How long will it last? It looks like the reviews have been pretty good so far, and we won’t know anything about how the ratings were for a long time, if ever, since Netflix doesn’t report and release that information like regular networks do. I think this is a new direction for them and something the network would like to try, so I imagine it will be gifted a second season.
Pilot grade: B-