It’s very rarely that I watch a television series that makes me laugh out loud as much as What We Do in the Shadow does.
A fan of the movie of the same name, for some reason I never checked out the series mostly in fear of the historical terribleness of television series based on movies, but not only does this series maintain the tone and the feel of its big screen brother, it expands the mythology, introducing an entire new set of vampires to focus on in a completely new part of the world reassuring us that Vladislav, Viago, and Deacon haven’t been erased, but rather continue to exist.
I love this show. I love the actors and I love the new characters. This new cast isn’t a carbon copy of the original ensemble, but rather expands and goes in completely different directions.
In the television series, we have Nandor, Laszlo, Nadja, and Colin Robinson as the titular vampires.
Laszlo and Nadja are a married couple who are both weary of each other after centuries of matrimony and yet, madly in love when the mood hits them. Their interactions are somehow the most cynical and romantically violent I have ever seen.
Nandor is vampire over a thousand years old, extremely confident and commanding, yet so incredibly out of touch with the modern world. He strikes me as that spoiled rich kid going out into the world without the umbrella of mommy and daddy and, yet, so clueless that he has no idea how disconnected he is.
Colin Robinson is an expansion of the mythology. A regular looking guy, he is an energy vampire and drains people by being as boring and mundane as possible. Colin Robinson (always referred to as “Colin Robinson”) takes a particular glee in being a vampire as one would in a healthy garden or a model train set.
Finally, there is Guillermo, the familiar. Guillermo longs to be a vampire, but his master, Nandor, drags out his servitude and abuses him via neglect and dismissal. Where you would expect this character to remain a one-note joke, Guillermo has shown surprising growth and darkness on his own and it’s a fun evolution to watch.
As for the series itself, it continues and expands the idea of a crew of filmmakers following around the vampiric residents of the house. Sure, the mockumentary style made famous by The Office might not be as groundbreaking as it used to be, but What We Do in the Shadows manages to take full advantage of the concept by continually breaking the fourth wall (or, I guess in this case, the 3rd and a half wall) by putting the camera crew in danger or, every now and then, killing one of them off in horrible ways.
The show is always funny and fresh. Its cynical and dismissal nature of the vampire’s terrible deeds is a continental and hilarious understatement and the situations inside and outside of the house are always surprising and hilarious. For example, at one point near the end of the first season, the main vampires are put on trial by the vampiric council which not only features the vampires of the original movie, but also Paul Ruebens from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Danny Trejo from From Dusk Till Dawn, and Wesley Snipes from Blade. It was all so surprising and ridiculous that it was hysterical.
I have not seen a single bad episode of this series and I have completely caught up on it, looking forward to every new episode that comes out. This is a series that is hilariously amazing and subversive… degenerate and disgusting… perverse and offensive.
It is a series that is such a pleasure to take a bite out of.