Warning: This contains spoilers for Season 1. Never seen Santa Clarita Diet? Read our spoiler-free review here.
Season 2 of Santa Clarita Diet kicks off in full swing, as we pick up where Season 1 left off: with Joel (Timothy Olyphant) committed to a mental hospital and Shelia (Drew Barrymore) chained in the basement.
Season 1 saw the world of this happily-married couple turned upside down, when Shelia awoke one morning to find herself vomiting profusely, which subsequently resulted in the mother-of-one finding herself formally “undead”, aka. copiously strong, impervious to pain and only able to feed off human flesh. Season 2 sees the couple attempt to track down the source of Shelia’s transformation, going to extreme measures (like maiming Nazis) to put an end to this evil curse. During this, their teenage daughter, Abi (Liv Hewson), finds herself in a frowned-upon situation regarding her newfound rage, as well as newly formed feelings towards her best friend and co-conspirator, Eric (Skyler Gisondo). The supporting cast – Natalie Morales, Richard T. Jones and fan favourite Nathan Fillion et al. – also return with rigor and hilarity, particularly It’s Always Funny in Philadelphia’s Mary Elizabeth Ellis.
The first season of Victor “Better Off Ted” Fresco’s horror-comedy was met with middling reviews, after many viewers found the subject matter off-putting. However, it’s safe to say this new season could not be farther from its predecessor as it obtains nothing but wit, charm and originality – with Olyphant and Barrymore held predominantly responsible. The two actors radiate nothing but funny and believable chemistry, as they bounce off each other during each given opportunity. “I’m going to act like old Shelia, who’s demure and chipper and never had an orgasm while eating a man’s liver. I’ve not told you that before, have I?” “No, you have,” says Joel. “I just never know what to say.” On top of this morbid and unorthodox circumstance lies what might be the healthiest relationship you’ve seen on television in years.
As well as a witty and charismatic cast – supported by its younger actors Hewson and Gisondo, not to mention the return of the beloved shop assistant – credit must be given to Santa Clarita’s writers, whose quick and original dialogue is oddly uplifting. A memorable scene sees Shelia spontaneously attack and dismember a loner in the kitchen, after he offers his Siberian vomit for money (naturally), which continues to be a compound for non-stop laughs, including “this place [kitchen] looks like the inside of a shark” and “there’s an eyelid on the lampshade”.
Santa Clarita Diet is a show that many may judge by its cover: at first, you can’t decide if it’s overtly imprudent or inherently inventive, but you soon find yourself not caring. Once you give it the benefit of the doubt, you find yourself enjoying every ridiculous, macabre moment that’s offered up on a platter – making you worry that it’s your cup of tea. And while it’s not for the weak-stomached, viewers should find comfort in its sweet central relationship, charismatic actors and moreish one-liners.
Santa Clarita Diet Season 1 and 2 is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.