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For the love of Mr. Ball Legs, whyyyyy? Well, maybe we do know why Netflix just cancelled Santa Clarita Diet before Season 4. It was The Season 3 Curse. The fantastic third season arrived March 29 and ended its 10 episodes on a pretty big cliffhanger for Timothy Olyphant's Joel Hammond. Apparently that's where the story will end ... although maybe not for Olyphant, based on his perfect cancellation reaction.
Netflix announced Friday, April 26 that it would not renew the charming, subversive Drew Barrymore zombie comedy for Season 4:
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. We're grateful to Victor, Drew, and Timothy, along with fellow executive producers Tracy Katsky, Aaron Kaplan, Chris Miller and Ember Truesdell and the terrific cast, including Liv Hewson and Skyler Gisondo, and crew for three hilarious seasons for Netflix members to discover for years to come.
Of all of 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 along side 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.
And here's Timothy Olyphant with perhaps the best statement of all:
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.
Bless him. Please, someone just film him as Joel doing scenes. Get Drew Barrymore and the rest of the cast to come back and just share it with fans like a family Facebook posting. Or stage scenes in the backyard like a play. Anything.
Before this point, Timothy Olyphant had acknowledged that Netflix was cancelling things left and right, so he wouldn't be surprised if they didn't get to return. He said he would consider himself lucky to have been able to do three seasons.
Santa Clarita Diet creator Victor Fresco pretty much saw this coming right after Season 3 premiered, since Netflix has been embracing more of a three-season model:
We're aware that the show gets more expensive every year; we're aware of what seems like templates of [Netflix's] studio stuff now. It looks like mostly three-season stuff.
It's obviously not the case for every Netflix show to just get three seasons, but Netflix is reportedly a very data-based streamer. According to Deadline, Netflix uses a "cost-plus" model with huge bonuses after each season, especially Season 3. That's when shows start to get too expensive to the streamer, so it cuts the cord.
Santa Clarita Diet is -- was? gah! -- owned and produced in-house at Netflix, THR pointed out. So it's not like Netflix cancelling the Marvel shows, or something owned by another studio.
The saddest part of this, to me, is knowing Victor Fresco imagined Santa Clarita Diet running for five seasons. He and his team did their jobs so well in telling this story, and it's a true shame that they didn't get the chance to finish on their terms. I feel like they earned that right. And since Netflix is raising prices again, I feel like this is the kind of thing that will only make fans bitter and potentially push them toward Disney+ later this year.
Santa Clarita Diet fans have taken to social media to express their anger at Netflix:
Some are still trying their best to get Netflix to change its mind:
Others are just upset at all they lost with the end of the show: