TV: What We Do in the Shadows (Seasons 1-3)

Just when you thought the mockumentary had outlasted its welcome, here comes F/X’s What We Do in the Shadows, hybridizing that erstwhile comedy genre with classic fantasy-horror tropes to delightful effect. Set in a dilapidated Staten Island mansion, the show chronicles the daily-life exploits of a trio of vampires: Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), and Laszlo (Matt Berry). The vampires are aided by Nandor’s starry-eyed, servile familiar Guillermo (Harvey Guillen), who has the unenviable job of luring virgins to their doom and burying bodies. They also share the mansion with a bland “energy vampire” named Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), who feeds not by drinking blood, but by boring the shit out of people.

Based loosely on the film starring Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi (which, somehow, I still haven’t seen), What We Do in the Shadows takes fairly familiar horror genre tropes and pokes relentless, inventive fun at them. The three central vampires hilariously mix pompous, long-lived monstrosity with a modern-day cluelessness, often contextualized by Guillermo’s eye-rolling interviews, which gradually begin to paint him as the true hero of the show. Demetriou and Novak deliver bonkers, tongue-twisting accents of unknown origin, while Berry’s erudite British baritone contrasts brilliantly with the immature sexual braggery of his character. While the horror world-building is conventional at first, it gets increasingly inventive as the show explores Colin’s more mundane, unfamiliar “energy vampirism” and introduces more creatures and elements to its secret underworld. The show gets fantastic comic mileage out of taking the piss from its self-important heroes, whose lives are, by and large, just as boring as ours. While the third season experiences moments of premise fatigue, overall What We Do in the Shadows is consistently amusing, surprising, and highly entertaining.

Scroll to Top