Why Santa Clarita Diet is the Best Zombie Series on TV

Santa Clarita Diet - Credit: Saeed Adyani / Netflix
Santa Clarita Diet - Credit: Saeed Adyani / Netflix /

With a multitude of zombie shows, why is Santa Clarita Diet the best of the dead who walk among us?

Let’s face it, The Walking Dead‘s premiere in the fall of 2010 opened up a new era for zombie fans. Up until that point, an entire TV series based around zombies wasn’t something that was in the mainstream for audiences. Today, that show is still going strong and has spawned a multitude of other zombie based shows, such as the Netflix original series Santa Clarita Diet.

As a horror fan whose hero is the late George Romero, I consume all things undead related. I love all the zombie killing shows but there are a few reasons why Santa Clarita Diet stands above the rest. Once TWD came along, most of the zombie-themed shows that came after mostly comedy based, with the spin-off of TWD being the main exception.

Both Z Nation and iZombie have a more comedic bent with the later also having a similar premise as Santa Clarita Diet, having zombies who still walk around and appear mostly human. When iZombie first premiered in 2015, I was excited to see this concept come to life on the small screen. Who hasn’t wanted to be a zombie who still walks around and lives their life mostly like they had when alive? It’s a form of immortality that is creepy and disturbing, if you really think about it.

That concept was taken to its best version with Santa Clarita Diet. Part of what makes Sheila so interesting as an undead character is that she was just a normal working Mom with a good job and family. She could literally be any one of us or our neighbor down the street who suddenly becomes a flesh-eating zombie. Her marriage to Joel is so authentic as well and so many of us can relate to it.

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For any of us who have ever been married or in a long-term relationship, Joel and Sheila are spot-on for how most of us are. They have one of the healthiest marriages on-screen, and yet one of them is no longer alive! Joel is very supportive as a husband and he always has Sheila’s back, no matter what. I think we all should marry someone who will help us take care of bodies and blood should we become a zombie. That’s true love right there and I think I’ll put it in my vows should I get married again.

They also have excellent on-screen chemistry. Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant both shine in this series. I have a friend who was never a fan of Olyphant but this show changed his mind. As a couple, they are sarcastic and authentic as their characters and you completely buy into every situation they deal with.

Like all good shows, they have a running “B plot” that usually features their snarky teen daughter Abby and her best friend Eric. Some of the best moments come from these two and you can’t help but love them as well. They are both intelligent characters who truly are engaging on-screen and active in the story. I love how this series doesn’t dumb the teen characters down or make them seem incapable of doing hard tasks. They are some of the most interesting teen characters I’ve ever seen.

The show also slips in some great lessons on things like consent, standing up for your beliefs and mirrors what a healthy couple should be like in real life, minus the killing and eating of human flesh. They also kill and eat Nazi’s which is something everyone should approve of. If you have to eat human flesh, may as well make it humans who make the world worse by existing.

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That’s another difference between Santa Clarita Diet and iZombie. In iZombie, Olivia eats brains from cadavers and gets visions from them ( which is really cool) but Sheila consumes all parts of the human flesh to feed her hunger. Sheila generally kills them, eats what she wants and then stores the rest. There is also that weird ball spider thing in Santa Clarita Diet. I have never seen anything like that in the zombie genre before and it both fascinates me and grosses me a bit.

We still aren’t totally aware of what exactly this thing is and does but the show does give us some legends of the creature with the latest season diving in a bit more to that. What we do know is that consuming it from the clams is what turned Sheila and others.

I think each season is getting better and better. We all wish there were more episodes to each season, but personally, I feel the shorter format of a half hour show works well in Santa Clarita Diet and is better than if they had tried to make it an hour-long series.

Santa Clarita Diet season 3 landed on Netflix last week and you should watch all the episodes if you haven’t already. Do your zombie-loving self a favor and watch this series, it’s truly the best zombie show around.

What do you think? Is Santa Clarita Diet the best zombie series on TV?

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