Reviewed by Amanda Lyles
CONTAINS SPOILERS IN SYNOPSIS
curtesy of Netflix
Green lawns, spotless streets, and a typical family living in suburban California.
Right away we are introduced to a modern picture of what this suburban family is really like however, the episode does not leave us guessing about anything. The Hammonds, Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and Joel (Timothy Olyphant) a team of realtors who also have a daughter, Abby (Liv Hewson) are friendly and clever people. They also have neighbors who are involved within their community for instance, the classic nosey neighbor, Dan who works for the L.A. sheriff’s department. He suspects everything and anything to have potential problems. Victor Fresco, the show’s creator is known for taking ordinary situations and adding irrational humor to mock an unusual situation that would most likely be taken seriously in all actuality. The acting in my opinion is on cue. Timothy Olyphant is and Drew Barrymore are fantastic in portraying their characters. The show’s premise is a unique portrayal of the undead or if you must call them zombies. In many ways this series is relatable, in other ways not so much. The typical reaction of one family to one member’s change in behavior as well as, this show’s underlying unpredictability with their community’s interaction is there. As the series begins we notice that Sheila is ill. This leads to her throwing up and leaving evidence of a red ball figure.
Courtesy of Bustle
Sheila begins to emotionally transform from a woman who was once uptight, to a woman who has no impulse control due to her illness. Sheila encourages her neighbors to have affairs and she even buys a Land Rover. Vesco also adds slight emotion which gives the show balance and meaning. It constantly has its humorous moments however, at times the overall premise emanates which does make viewers sympathize for Sheila and her family. Sheila’s diet begins to change as she once only craved raw meat but, now only human beings. After Sheila realizes that she can no longer feel her heart beat she tells Abby and Joel who also cannot hear one. This Netflix original becomes increasingly witty in humor as they try to understand Sheila’s threatening condition. When the family understands that Sheila’s condition is complexed and they need answers fast this clever humor arises, “How could this happen, we are realtors!”. –Joel Hammond
“I’m so glad that these aren’t one of those diseases that dries your skin out” –Sheila Hammond
As the show continues, the Hammond family tries to find solutions for Sheila’s zombie-like condition which makes this show perfect for unpredictability. The story does have a foundation and isn’t just completely random with characters and their encounters with one another. The family works together and soon realizes that it isn’t as easy as they had hoped. Since Sheila’s condition has caused her to lose almost all impulse control, this leads Sheila and Joel down a dangerous, life changing path. Although, Joel often questions his ability to commit such cruel acts for his wife to stay sane and ultimately survive. Joel and Sheila try to kill those who are out casted out (rapists, murders, drug dealers and human traffickers) of society to justify their reasons for keeping Sheila alive. I think the writing certainly brings up existentialistic questions about humanity. However, I wish it could have more of an impact. The writing could have more substance and mystery which would contribute more of an impact onto its viewers.
“It’s like my life is spiraling toward disaster and there’s no way out. I can’t even talk about it with the person I love the most because, she’ll blame herself and that’s not what I want.” –Joel Hammond
Image from The Sun
Joel tries to obtain more answers, we see that Sheila is beginning to have more symptoms. For instance, one of her toes falls off in which case, she tries to glue it back on. The writing does have times where it surprises or brings up more questions for the viewers. However, it could be more impactful if it didn’t answer all the questions right away. In other words, it could find solutions later and have more significance. At the end of the first season, Joel bumps into someone who happens to know about his wife’s symptoms. He knows an ex CDC scientist Cora Wolf who is experimenting in fringe biology (Portia de Rossi) and gives Joel the scientist’s number. The scientist and Joel come into contact and meet at the Hammond’s house. The ending of the series leaves us with a cliff hanger. Joel is arrested for trying to get one of the ingredients for Sheila. Sheila is moving to the next phase of becoming a zombie in which she has become more aggressive and has asked Abby to tie her up in the basement. Lastly, the ex CDC scientist leaves because of Joel’s arrest. These cliff hangers could be used throughout the show rather than at the end of each episode to excited its viewers more. Although, I think they left off with a good cliff hanger.