The series begins with a standard real-estate couple living their lives with their daughter in a nice suburban home. But for some reason, Sheila Hammond (Barrymore) throws up a huge amount of vomit one day and out comes this mysterious red flesh (or organ, we don't know yet)-looking ball. After the incident, she feels different and—ironically—more alive. With a new hunger for life and raw flesh, Sheila transforms from a low-key professional/mother/wife to an ill-mouthed and impulsive woman.
With a need to figure out what’s wrong without telling the authorities and letting the government know, the Hammonds decide to go to their nerdy 16-year-old neighbor, Eric (Skylar Gisondo). He then tells the family that Sheila is a—you guessed it!—zombie who will be controlled by her impulses if her needs are not continuously met.
To satisfy her cravings, she and her husband Joel (Timothy Olyphant) decide to kill for human meat. But so that neither of them go crazy, the two agree to only murder those that deserve it. “The prototype would be a young, single Hitler,” says Joel. “We’d be heroes!” retorts Sheila eagerly.
And as complicated as that already sounds, Sheila and Joel must deal with living in between a cop and a deputy sheriff. Plus their daughter, Abby (Liv Hewson), starts to skip school.
If the general plot is not enough to get you Netflix and Chilling, Santa Clarita Diet wins on a few more aspects as well. The writing is witty, strong and always on point; the actors are veterans and know how to deliver the punchlines. There is a bit of blood, guts and gore—so fair warning to the squeamish—but it is usually delivered tastefully.
Olyphant is hilarious as his character tries to find a balance between normalcy and his wife’s new craving for human flesh. Plus, it’s noble for him to have stayed with his wife and risk his life for her illegal cravings. Boyfriend buys you chocolate and intimates once a month? Psh. Meanwhile, it is clear that Barrymore was having a blast on set with her character. It’s all energy, all the time. And she’s just never going to lose her comedic charm—period.
The first season of Santa Clarita Diet is already available for streaming on Netflix. Get started and get binging.