Only the most gifted of prophets could have foreseen actor Timothy Olyphant following up his stoic westerly journey on Justified with the completely farcical zombie folly of Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet. But it happened, and it’s been amazing to watch Olyphant’s pot-friendly Joel Hammond navigating marital foibles opposite Drew Barrymore. With Season 3 having wrapped up in March in some big and interesting ways, the anticipation for Season 4 news is rapidly clamming. Er, climbing.
Nothing official has been announced for Santa Clarita Diet as far as Season 4 is concerned, but that doesn’t mean Timothy Olyphant isn’t thinking about what’ll happen. Speaking to how many high-profile series have gotten the axe at Netflix in recent months, Olyphant said this:
Every time I turn around they’re cancelling a show over there. . . . I’ve loved that job. And if we don’t do anymore, I would consider myself lucky to have done the [three seasons that] we did. I’m really proud of the work on that show. And I think the world of [creator] Victor Fresco.
TV cancellations are always big news, even for largely unseen cable shows, but Netflix inspires more speculation than usual for its many original series, since the streaming giant’s viewership stats aren’t public knowledge. The company will make vague announcements about its numbers with it concerns breakout hits, but those reveals are few and far between.
The average viewership for a show like Santa Clarita Diet, on the other hand, is a complete mystery through and through. For one, it’s a show that seemingly exists only among its hardcore fans – myself included – and it gets roughly zero happenstance attention in the zeitgeist. Netflix’s zombified approach to promoting its series doesn’t help on that front. So it’s barely possible to put a wager on how many even know what the show is, much less to guess the number of Netflix subscribers who’ve watched all 30 episodes.
Two, it’s a horror-tinged comedy. Even with Drew Barrymore, Timothy Olyphant and a host of other supremely talented actors, Santa Clarita Diet was already facing a relatively difficult battle just by mixing brutal gore with punny jokes. TV hasn’t exactly been overtly kind to the sub-genre, and three seasons seems to be the far end of where networks like to end their horror-comedy series, as it went for Ash vs. Evil Dead and Stan Against Evil.
As Timothy Olyphant put it to TVLine, though, everyone is lucky to have gotten three full seasons of Santa Clarita Diet in the first place, all things considered. So it stands to reason that enough people have been watching the show to keep Netflix’s renewal readiness going thus far. Personally, I think the writing and performances have gotten better with each season, and even though that doesn’t equate better ratings, hopefully Netflix’s powers that be can find more than enough reasons to announce a Season 4 renewal.
Olyphant and the entire cast should be proud of the completely relatable absurdities that the Hammond family (and Eric) have faced down in these first three seasons under the guidance of creator Victor Fresco. Known for crafting some of the most unique comedy on television, Fresco is also known for developing several classic “Cancelled Too Soon” series. Thankfully, Santa Clarita Diet has already lasted for more seasons and episodes than his other fan-favorites such as Better Off Ted and Andy Richter Controls the Universe.
Here’s hoping a decision gets made sooner rather than later, or fans will start sending Netflix homemade versions of Gary’s rotting-in-suspension head. In the meantime, the rest of Netflix’s 2019 offerings will be sure to keep streamers busy.
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