Netflix has made some questionable programming calls in the past. But if you ask fans, the streaming service’s unexpected decision to cancel Santa Clarita Diet is by far the most puzzling. The suburban zombie comedy, which stars Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant, dropped its 10-episode third season on March 29 — meaning that those episodes are, in fact, the series’ final episodes. And in honor of Sheila Hammond, suffice it to say that this bites.
It’s not every day that a series comes along that so successfully marries dark humor, heart, irreverence and a weirdly relatable love story, but Santa Clarita Diet fit the bill. In announcing the cancellation, Netflix said in a statement, “The world had never known a ‘zom-com’ until Santa Clarita Diet, and we’re indebted to creator Victor Fresco for bringing this idea to Netflix. To their endless credit, the incredible Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant were totally game, with an uncanny knack for comedy that brought Sheila and Joel Hammond to vibrant life, even though one of them was undead.”
As shocking as Netflix’s decision was, the reaction from fans to this news was decidedly unsurprising — not only are subscribers having trouble wrapping their head around the cancellation, but they’re also downright pissed.
@netflix why was #SantaClaritaDiet cancelled? It was fresh, funny, and weird. I wish you guys would explain to paying subs why it was shelved. @DrewBarrymore and Timothy Olyphant were fun to watch. You guys should reconsider.
— Donald Aguirre (@Daguirre84) April 27, 2019
— Sydnee (@Sydneebxx) April 27, 2019
— lara (@LuxuryLara) April 27, 2019
Why would you cancel #SantaClaritaDiet?
•Incredible main characters
•An original concept
•Jokes that are actually funny
•A strong fanbase
•Room to extend the story further pic.twitter.com/M1oNzcn5ux
— Sammy Jo (@SammyJoJo16) April 27, 2019
— mr. ball legs left the chat (@franzrolon13) April 27, 2019
— Eva (@EvaInWatercolor) April 27, 2019
— Adrian Torres (@YoAdrianTorres) April 27, 2019
@netflix raise your prices, then cancel your best original show? Guess whats getting cancelled now? A whole bunch of Netflix subscriptions, that’s what. It’s a shame, ive been with you since the start, but you done messed up on this one. #SantaClaritaDiet
— Dana Browning (@aBeard2F3AR) April 27, 2019
On Saturday, Fresco and executive producer Tracy Katsky took to the show’s Facebook page to address the untimely ending. “Like our audience, we were all-in on Sheila and Joel. Their relationship, in the face of incredible adversity, was inspiring to write and to watch. Mostly, they were funny, which in a comedy is important. Working with Drew and Tim, along with the immensely talented Liv [Hewson] and Skyler [Gisondo], was a joy and a once in a lifetime experience,” the note read. “Netflix took a chance on this odd show and for that we will always be grateful. They were supportive, ever positive, and appreciative of our work. Until about noon [yesterday]. Still, they were just one phone call away from being a perfect studio. Not bad.” The pair also pointed out that if it was up to the fans, Santa Clarita Diet would continue “for another 10,000 years.”
Barrymore and Olyphant also both released statements after news broke that the show was getting axed. “Of all the characters I’ve ever been, Sheila Hammond is one of my favorites. She and Joel were an amazing couple, who had shared goals. And I am lucky to have worked alongside Tim Olyphant. It was an honor to get to do something so delightful. Sheila lives forever in me. And I am grateful to Victor Fresco, who created a world so unique,” said Barrymore. As for Olyphant, he channeled a bit of Joel’s plucky determination in his response, joking, “I loved working on this show. I’m going to continue coming in and doing scenes. If they don’t want to film it, that’s up to them.”
We’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that, although Netflix doesn’t release ratings or stats, the third season of Santa Clarita Diet scored an oh-so-hard-to-get 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. So, what gives?