Though its title (and indeed, its marketing campaign) brings to mind images of fads like the Atkins and South Beach diets, you may be wondering what Netflix's The Santa Clarita Diet is actually about. Surely, it can't be about an actual diet, right? Well, to put it quite briefly, The Santa Clarita is about zombies. Specifically, a suburbanite realtor zombie named Sheila, played by none other than Drew Barrymore — so yeah, turns out that the protein-rich "diet" referenced in the title is, in fact, people.
Other than the sudden and unexplained cravings for human flesh, though, Sheila's life seems pretty standard: She lives out in Santa Clarita (a far-flung desert suburb of Los Angeles) with her husband and fellow realtor Joel (Timothy Olyphant), as well as their teenaged daughter, Abby (Liv Hewson). Netflix describes Sheila and Joel's marriage as "vaguely discontented" — and, surprisingly, it sounds like the whole zombie thing brings them closer, rather than driving them apart.
As Barrymore explained to USA Today, "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. It’s not heavy, but it’s not lacking in a sort of sweetness, if you will. But it’s also got bite and backbone and balls."
The show is a comedy, after all, and showrunner Victor Fresco's past efforts include Better Off Ted and My Name is Earl, which should give you a pretty good sense of his personal brand of offbeat humor. It also happens to be a story of personal growth — funny how finding out you're undead can do that.
Barrymore cited said growth as one of her favorite parts of the show to USA Today, saying , "We do this sort of Cro-Magnon type of evolution with her over the course of the 10 episodes. 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."
Aside from Barrymore's USA Today interview, and Netflix's plot summary and promo images, there's not much out there about the new show yet. The series itself will not premiere until next month, on Feb. 4, 2017, so hopefully, we'll get some more glimpses of it before then. Still, seeing an undead, yet still funny, Drew Barrymore seems like reason enough to give the show a shot.