Santa Clarita Diet might not have been the Netflix original series with the most viewers, but the viewers that did tune in were dedicated to it.
They’d been following the story of the Hammonds, a seemingly normal suburban family who were hit with a virus that turned the mom into a cannibal, since the show first premiered, so they were hugely disappointed earlier this year when the powers that be in charge of the streaming service decided to cancel the underrated, darkly comic gem after three seasons. So, here are 10 Dark Comedy Shows To Watch If You Miss Santa Clarita Diet.
10 Six Feet Under
Alan Ball already tackled suburban life in a hilarious and satirical way in his Oscar-winning screenplay for the classic movie American Beauty. He brought the same sharp comic tone to his HBO series Six Feet Under, except he ratcheted up the darkness, the surrealness, and the melancholy. It’s the story of a family who have to keep their funeral home business afloat after the patriarch dies unexpectedly. So, naturally, it deals quite heavily with the theme of death, just like Santa Clarita Diet, and it deals with that theme in a very darkly comic way, just like Santa Clarita Diet.
9 Better Call Saul
Breaking Bad was always famous for its dark sense of humor, but it was primarily a drama series. This spin-off is more overtly comedic, with that same grim comic tone, because it focuses on the former life of flagship series’ funniest character: Walter White’s lawyer, Saul Goodman, back when he was known by his birth name, Jimmy McGill.
The series is a great example of how to do a prequel right because it’s not just a string of Easter eggs and callbacks. There are Easter eggs and callbacks, but the show stands out on its own as the story of how the wayward Jimmy McGill devolved into the crooked Saul Goodman.
8 American Dad!
American Dad! didn’t start off as a particularly dark show. In season 1, it was just a pale imitation of its sister show Family Guy with a political bent. However, after Seth MacFarlane left the show solely in the hands of his co-creators Mike Barker and Matt Weitzman, it devolved into something much weirder, darker, and more unique.
As soon as they figured out their alien character, Roger, could leave the house in disguise and fool people with his disguises, it busted the whole show wide open. Now, it’s one of the most shocking, outrageous, and hilarious shows on the air. It’s a family sitcom, but the family element is played down in favor of an increasingly screwed-up ensemble of characters who all happen to be related and live together.
Bill Hader’s HBO series Barry, which he co-created as well as starring in, might have a gimmicky premise, but the writers have found interesting ways to explore it. It’s the story of a hitman who decides he wants to give up the assassination game when he discovers the world of improv comedy.
At first, this may sound like an absurd idea – and it is – but it’s absurd in the best way, and the show has actually found pretty insightful parallels between the life of a hitman and the life of an improv comic. It currently has two seasons, with a third on the way.
6 Pushing Daisies
Pushing Daisies is one of those shows that TV devotees feel were canceled too soon and should be rebooted by Netflix or some other modern-day savior of lost TV shows.
The series was created by Bryan Fuller, who has since brought the show’s pitch-black sensibility to NBC’s breathtakingly dark Hannibal series, and it stars Lee Pace – now best known as the MCU’s Ronan the Accuser – as a baker who discovers he has the ability to bring back the dead with his magical touch and uses that ability to solve murder cases. The series had just two seasons, but during that time, it procured 17 Emmy nominations and seven wins.
If what you enjoyed about Santa Clarita Diet was the suburban average joes being pushed into situations where they had to commit gruesome crimes, this small-screen adaptation of the Coen brothers’ Oscar-winning black comedy of the same name has that in spades. It’s an anthology series, with each season focusing on a new set of characters in a new story, all connected by the same fictional universe.
Santa Clarita Diet starred A-list stars like Timothy Olyphant and Drew Barrymore, which helped to draw some viewers in, so rest assured that Fargo also has a ton of A-list stars, including Ewan McGregor, Kirsten Dunst, Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, and in the upcoming fourth season, Chris Rock.
4 Vice Principals
HBO’s Vice Principals only ran for two seasons, but that was the plan from the beginning. The creators planned it out to be a two-season show, and it wraps its story up in a nice, neat bow in that time.
The series stars Danny McBride and Walton Goggins as two competing vice principals who eventually find themselves reluctantly working together to bring down their newly appointed principal. The show’s sense of humor is even more pitch-black than Santa Clarita Diet, with a season 1 finale twist that will leave your jaw dropped and your finger itching for the button to instantly play season 2.
3 After Life
Ricky Gervais’ Netflix dark comedy series After Life is a lot more heartfelt and grounded in real human emotion than Santa Clarita Diet, but it has a similar sense of humor. The British comedian plays a grieving widower suffering from suicidal thoughts who makes touching connections with all the people around him.
There are genuine moments of drama that will hit you right in the feels, but there are also moments of grim hilarity as the lead character has decided to do and say whatever he wants in the wake of his wife’s passing. From charity workers to children, he’s refreshingly blunt with everybody in true Gervaisian fashion.
2 Dead to Me
For all the strides that have been made in the representation of women in the media, female-fronted TV series are still unfortunately few and far between. That’s what makes Netflix’s latest dark comedy series, Dead to Me, such a breath of fresh air.
It stars the terrific duo of Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini in a deliciously dark setup: Applegate’s husband has been killed in a hit and run, then she meets Cardellini at a grief counseling group, unaware that she’s the driver who killed her husband. The show has only been out for a few weeks, but it’s proven to be so popular that Netflix has already renewed it for a second season.
1 It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
FX’s (now FXX’s) It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is the first name in dark comedy on television right now. It’s about five incredibly dysfunctional friends, each harboring dark secrets and terrible habits, who run a bar in South Philly and get into all manner of wacky situations.
The show has tackled every social issue in the book, from abortion to gun control to animal rights to the #MeToo movement. But despite its satirical content, it’s not really a satirical show, since the focus is squarely on character. The characters are terrible people, but the comedy works because they’re always the butt of the joke.