Drew Barrymore at the "Whip It" roller derby presentation at Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto International Film Festival, 2009. She plays Sheila Hammond in the Netflix original Santa Clarita Diet. JOSH JENSEN/FLICKR VIA CC BY SA 2.0
Drew Barrymore at the “Whip It” roller derby presentation at Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto International Film Festival, 2009. She plays Sheila Hammond in the Netflix original “Santa Clarita Diet.” JOSH JENSEN/FLICKR VIA CC BY SA 2.0

“Santa Clarita Diet” is a family show with all the stops, from quirky lifestyles and humor to a lighthearted soundtrack. But Netflix has thrown in something extra – zombies.

The series, which was released on Feb. 3, stars Drew Barrymore as Sheila Hammond, who for reasons unexplained, becomes a member of the undead. Similarly to “Dexter,” the popular Showtime crime series, she kills people who she thinks deserve it and eats them all with the help of her dedicated husband Joel, played by Timothy Olyphant, witty daughter Abby, played by Liv Hewson, and lovable nerd next door Eric, played by Skyler Gisondo. Eating her victims helps calm her constant cannibalistic impulses as the group looks for a cure. 

This Dexter-with-a-twist show breaks television boundaries within the first episode by breaking the zombie norm. Audience members are used to seeing animals and supernatural creatures attack and eat people, like “walkers” from AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” but in this show, a normal and human-looking Sheila rips people apart.

The first episode gives audiences a glimpse of characters being eaten alive, setting the tone for the season. Viewers must sit back and be ready to get uncomfortable and not take this show too seriously. If you do, you could miss out on the humor and the chance to appreciate this unconventional family that condones murder and outright cannibalism.


The seemingly dark storyline is constantly interrupted with humorous everyday banter, gossip and the latest listings for Sheila and Joel’s real estate business. However, the Hammond’s suburban Santa Clarita life becomes more complicated as they try to maintain their big family secret. Neighbors are watching, cops are calling, people are dying and they cope with their constant struggle in new and funny ways.

Zombie-ism may come with its impulses, but it’s not all bad. Sheila only sleeps two hours a night, but being a member of the undead gives her a newfound energy and keeps her alert and excited. Her libido skyrockets, so her husband is constantly getting a mouthful of flesh himself. Her inhibitions have gone completely astray, but she learns to control herself in an effort to be a better role model for her daughter.

“I know we have to kill somebody today, but we have to be parents everyday,” Sheila says in the show.

This is a binge-worthy 10-episode season that you won’t regret watching. With roughly half an hour per episode, it keeps you smiling and sometimes questioning your idea of entertainment.


Drew Barrymore is also one of the executive producers of the show and works alongside the creator, Victor Fresco, known for Better Off Ted, and director Ruben Fleischer, known for “Zombieland.”

Over the past decade, zombies have dominated thriller entertainment showing up in movies and shows like “I Am Legend,” “World War Z,” “Warm Bodies” and “The Walking Dead.” But if you’re sick of post-apocalyptic pandemics, this undying comedy is for you.


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