Warning. This article consists entirely of spoilers for Santa Clarita Diet. Peruse at your own peril… Next month, Netflix will bring us Santa Clarita Diet, starring Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant (Justified) as a pair of real estate agents living and working in the titular town. Sounds innocuous enough, right? Well, thanks to some newly-released photos and plot points, Netflix has revealed that Santa Clarita Diet has a major twist… one that you'll never see coming.
I mean, the fact that Barrymore is starring in a TV show is definitely exciting all by itself, but the show's vague plot synopsis wasn't exactly doing anything to set the world on fire:
Joel and Sheila are husband and wife realtors leading vaguely discontented lives in the L.A. suburb of Santa Clarita with their teenaged daughter Abby, until Sheila goes through a dramatic change sending their lives down a road of death and destruction…but in a good way.
A pair of photogenic leads with an insufferable teenage child experiencing a bout of suburban ennui? Check, check, and check. Sounds like your fairly typical show so far. But, apparently, the "dramatic change" that sends Joel and Sheila "down a road of death and destruction" isn't any of the typical things you might assume it would be from your experience with similar-sounding shows. The couple doesn't get embroiled with the mob, they don't witness a murder, they don't catch each other cheating or lose a child or realize they're actually lifelike androids. No, the "change" in question is a little more literal — and a little more horrifying — than that.
It turns out that, in the course of the show's pilot, Sheila dies… and is resurrected with an insatiable appetite for human flesh. That's right, Santa Clarita Diet is actually about Drew Barrymore being a zombie, and her titular "diet" is people. No, I'm not making this up.
"While [Joel and Sheila] tend to their open houses and teenage daughter, the couple must sate Sheila’s unbridled id and undead hunger, first with raw meat and, eventually, the human kind," reports USA Today, who broke the news about the killer twist in an interview with Barrymore. "We do this sort of Cro-Magnon type of evolution with her over the course of the 10 episodes," the actress told the publication. "No gimmicks, no prosthetics, just an awakening. I just really enjoyed just shedding a snakeskin with her, so it became a really fun obstacle that I wasn't even planning for but seemed so conducive and fun and healthy for my own life."
But literal cannibalism isn't the only thing viewers will have to look forward to when they tune into Santa Clarita Diet next month. Barrymore also revealed that geek-favorite actor Nathan Fillion (Castle, Firefly) guest stars on the show as a rival real estate agent, and that — despite its very bloody appearances — "there’s a real optimism to the show."
"I don't want to watch a show about a couple fighting and falling apart, I can't handle it right now," Barrymore said. "It's not lacking in a sort of sweetness, if you will. But it's also got bite and backbone and balls. I think it's a very perfect recipe for 2017." At the very least, it certainly sounds like Santa Clarita Diet will have no trouble setting itself apart from the other undead offerings on TV, from iZombie to Z Nation and, of course, The Walking Dead.
One could argue that Netflix should have closely guarded this secret, letting their audiences by shocked by the twist when they watch the first episode for themselves. But there's no denying that revealing the truth about the show early will help drum up publicity and get even more people to check it out when it premieres. So if you've ever wanted to watch Drew Barrymore eat someone's brains… now's your chance. All 13 episodes of Santa Clarita Diet Season 1 will be available for streaming on Netflix on Feb. 3.