This review is based on all 3 seasons of Santa Clarita Diet, some spoilers might be involved.
Santa Clarita Diet, aka the show that could… have been great, if Netflix allowed it. But let’s start from the beginning.
This is one of the few shows I’ve actually started to watch soon after it was dropped on Netflix. I thought the first season was decent enough, but I knew this had a lot a space to improve. Some jokes didn’t land for me, but I liked the unconventional story, so I would have rated season one probably around 3.5*.
Then the season two came around, and I’ve found myself laughing more, bonding with the characters more and that was when I thought the show had finally embraced itself fully – the weird, quirky “our mum is a zombie, but still has a functioning brain, so she’s not going to hurt us, but we might need to kill people (but only bad people, like Nazis) for her to eat” sense of humour and story started to pay off. After the second season’s finished, I was really looking forward to the third one. Back then, my overall rating of this show would’ve been strong 4*.
Year had passed and finally we’ve gotten the third season, that yet again raised a bar for this funny show, where their biggest advantage wasn’t necessarily the quirky sense of humour, but the family chemistry between Drew Barrymore, Timothy Olyphant & Liv Hewson where they were absolutely believable as a typical suburban family trying to cope with… let’s just say an interesting time of their life. I was genuinely excited to see what else will happen to them all, so you can imagine my disappointment, when it was announced not even a month after the third season aired, that the show is cancelled.
This is where I need to express my disappointment with Netflix and where I will rant a bit. I no longer feel confident with Netflix’s choices, respectively, I’m not sure whether they might’ve forgotten what actually separates them from a traditional TV station(s). Obviously, I am not an executive producer and I have never been one, but purely from a common sense point of view, wouldn’t you maybe want the creators of the show know “hey, so we got the numbers, it looks like the third season will be your last one, so you might want to wrap it up” or something along those lines? You should utilise the fact you can actually wrap up shows properly, with creators being at least notified ahead of time, so they can do something semi-meaningful with the story, rather than season 3 ending on a cliffhanger or two, and having pissed off fans all around the world. Because they have every right to be pissed off, when they invest their time (and money, after all they pay subscription to Netflix) just for Netflix to pull the plug without telling the creators.
I honestly feel like Netflix needs to understand that it’s great what they are doing – giving money and freedom to people to just do whatever they want and take risks, plenty of times to people who were not as known, or people who couldn’t do certain things on “national” TV stations – that’s brilliant and I applaud them for that. But now they’ve reached a point where they have SO MUCH of their own content, they need to reevaluate what works and what doesn’t, so far, so good. Not everything they make will be popular enough to warrant 5/6 seasons and I honestly get it, at the end of the day, they are business where they need to make money, not loose them. But, and this really big but, like Kim Kardashian + Nicki Minaj combined big, they should be smart about communicating with their creators better in terms of shows and be honest with them, regarding how their show is doing and how likely is for that show to be renewed or not.
Let me put it another way – if Santa Clarita Diet had finished with a third season, BUT the creators knew it prior to that, they would write it with a conclusive, satisfying ending, would people be mad that the show is ending too soon? Yes, because you can’t please everybody. But would the number of pissed off people be way less, than it is now? 100%. And again, I can guarantee you this purely using common sense – you can always defend a show having (only) three seasons with conclusive ending, as you can make an argument “well at least they knew when to wrap it up” or “they’ve ended on a high note, props for that”. But this wasn’t the case for Santa Clarita Diet, as not only it ended on (at least) two cliffhangers, but also the show was getting better every season!
I really hope Netflix will change its approach to their show creators and shows them more courtesy moving on, as most of the things they do I really like. It’s just a shame they didn’t handle this very well.
Now, given everything I’ve written so far, would I recommend a show that doesn’t really have proper ending? That was taken away from us too soon, so even if you like it, you won’t be satisfied with the ending? I’d say yes, as Santa Clarita Diet is definitely worth it. Each season gets better, funnier and the main actors are doing their best and have an incredible chemistry in between them, that you actually believe they are family (with Skyler Gisondo being great addition as the boyfriend character, that could’ve been annoying, but wasn’t).
I will miss this show, and I’m still secretly hoping that somebody somewhere will buy the rights from Netflix and give us one or two more seasons to finish the story properly, as I know they’ve definitely had more to say. I will recommend this with a big disclaimer, that same as Drew’s character in the show, its life was cut short and too soon, so brace yourself for that.
That’s all for this one? Did you see it? What did you think about it? Let me know!
Until next time,