The original 2014 film What We Do in the Shadows is one of the best and most memorable comedies of recent years. Written and directed by both Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, the horror/comedy mockumentary made waves with its hilarious comedy and witty characters.
It has now been turned into a spin-off series with Waititi and Clement still involved in writing the series and directing the occasional episode. This series follows a new cast of characters who get up to a frenzy of vampire hi-jinx in Staten Island.
The biggest concern going into this series is whether the show will still feel the same as the film, since it’s not starring Waititi and Clement, and they’re not as heavily involved in the directing. But, the tone and style of comedy they set up in their film carries through here and this series is an absolute blast. It takes a couple of episodes to adjust to all of the changes. The first three episodes are all about rebuilding this world and getting you familiar with the new cast of vampires. They may be sporadic in terms of the strike-rate of the comedy, but it’s still very funny from the get-go and only gets better from there.
As the season progresses it only gets better and better. By the fourth episode you know the characters, you’re familiar with their personalities, and it’s a mountain of fun every minute. The plot within each episode is simple, fun, and very easily engages you for a solid 20 minutes. The season-long storylines could be handled slightly better, one in particular disappears for half the season and shows up later on after forgetting about it. Every piece of story is engaging and it all makes way for some fantastic mockumentary style comedy.
What holds everything together is the comedy. The Taika Waititi style of witty comedy delivered through the dialogue is as present as ever here. Every episode is hilarious, delivering a number of laughable moments that continue to hit time and time again. The dynamic between the main cast of characters and how their personalities clash brings opportunity after opportunity for hilarious moments. The comedic timing is all on point and the series really does capitalise on the humour, never missing an opportunity to get a laugh out of you.
The writing from Waititi and Clement is the glue that holds this whole thing together. These comedic geniuses know how to hit it out of the park when it comes to creating ridiculous comedy. The absurdity is what gave the film its charm and it’s what gives this series its charm too.
The mockumentary style is what gives the series this unique sense of character. The whole idea of vampires awkwardly navigating, surviving in, and conquering the world as a documentary is comedic gold. This series could not be presented in any other way and still remain effective.
The series puts new characters and actors in the spotlight. Kayvan Novak (Nandor), Matt Berry (Laszlo), and Natasa Demetriou (Nadja) are the new lead vampires in this story and the three of them are magnificent. They commit 110% to the part and deliver every piece of comedy and every line of dialogue so fluidly and with such a realistic undertone that you almost believe the mockumentary as real.
Aside from the regular vampires, the series introduces Mark Proksch‘s Colin Robinson, an “energy vampire” who uses his powers of knitted cardigans and talking to drain life out of his victims. Colin is like a character straight out of The Office has been thrown into this series. Playing Nandor’s familiar, Guillermo, is Harvey Guillén who has his own fair share of comedic moments as he documents his experience living in a house of vampires. Everyone in here plays their part and no-one goes half-assed on the absurd comedy or dialogue.
In the end, if you are a fan of the original 2014 film or a fan of ridiculous mockumentaries in general, What We Do in the Shadows is absolutely a must watch. It’s one of the best new shows on the scene in 2019 thanks to Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s comedic inputs. There is one specific episode you should be looking out for as it is absolutely incredible. The fact that they pulled off so many cameos and gave a bit of a clearer picture of this world is incredible and worth the journey alone.