If you’re hungry for more zombie comedy, Netflix has heard you and ordered season 3 of Santa Clarita Diet. The half-hour comedic gore-fest scored a third helping just a few months after the second season was made available, and met with a similar, mostly positive response from critics. But critical praise doesn’t necessarily mean an immediate renewal, even with a company like Netflix, so, despite a lack of ratings made available to the public, the relatively quick order of another 10 episodes of Shiela (Drew Barrymore) and Joel Hammond (Timothy Olyphant) navigating some dark, comedic waters suggests enough subscribers tuned in to warrant the decision.
The decision to move forward with another season is likely welcome news for fans, as the show has spent the last two seasons slowly revealing a wonderfully convoluted mythology to its version of zombies. It is one that connects Eastern European clams, an ancient order of knights, and one Southern California family in some unexpected ways. Moreover, the season 2 finale delivered more than a few surprises on its own, leaving things on a status quo-changing cliffhanger. Whether that meant a third season was likely going to happen or not is anyone’s guess, but series creator Victor Fresco and his writers’ room appear to have rolled the dice and come up winners.
The show’s expansion of its mythology and now its storyline affords Santa Clarita Diet season 3 a number of attractive possibilities. For one, the show has added to its cast by bringing on Zachary Knighton and Jee Young Han as Paul and Marsha, a couple connected to the zombie-making clams who’ve been shadowing Shiela and Joel. It has also made a go of turning Nathan Fillion’s Gary (well, his head, anyway) into a full-fledged member of the cast, too, just as Natalie Morales’ Anne becomes a follower of Shiela, reading her inability to die (and Gary’s disembodied, but still very talkative head) as a sign from God.
If nothing else, a third season means Santa Clarita Diet will have a chance to send its show as close to going off the rails as possible, without doing so. So far, the series has managed to dive headfirst into a number of outlandish plots without completely undermining the show itself. Much of that has to do with the way the series openly embraces its absurdity, often with circuitous, well-written dialogue, and how well the cast turns the preposterousness of their characters’ situations into a charming comedy about a family whose matriarch happens to be an undead people eater.
Who knows where Santa Clarita Diet is headed, but that unpredictability is part of its appeal. The promise of the show being headed in a new direction and that perhaps that direction will come with some answers to the origins of Shiela’s zombie-ism are certainly welcome. We’ll just have to wait until next year to find out what’s next for the Hammonds.
Santa Clarita Diet season 3 is expected on Netflix in 2019.
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