Somehow I totally missed the existence of What We Do in the Shadows until a friend recently recommended it to me. I really need to start paying more attention.
If you’ve been as out of the loop as I have, What We Do in the Shadows is a sitcom about vampires and their human familiars. It’s done in a faux documentary style, along the lines of The Office. It’s also produced by Taika Waititi, who (among other things) directed Thor: Ragnarok and is the voice of Korg (the guy made of rocks). They had me at vampires, but Waititi being involved didn’t hurt. I’m only going to be talking about the pilot episode here (I’m sure I’ll be posting more in the future), and I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers.
First off, let’s take a moment to be grateful for an all-too-rare vampire comedy. The world could use more of them.
The main group includes a familiar (Guillermo), blood-drinking vampires, and a “psychic” vampire, who drains people (and the other vampires) of energy. They’re all fantastic (Matt Berry plays one of the vampires– rejoice!) The vampires arrived in the New World two centuries ago, with plans to conquer the continent. Instead they end up settled in Staten Island. This wouldn’t be a problem except that a high-ranking vampire is on his way to pay a visit and see their progress. Meanwhile Guillermo’s tenth year anniversary as his master’s familiar is coming up, and he knows he’s about to get something special for all his years of hard work and loyal service (and does he ever…).
I was excited to see the vampires exhibiting “traditional” traits, including turning into bats, climbing walls, and sleeping in coffins. Don’t get me wrong– I definitely appreciate innovations in the mythology, but sometimes it’s just nice to stick with the classics.
I also have to say that I am in complete awe of the makeup department for the job they did with Baron Afanas– I hope they won an award for it. Words won’t do it justice, so please watch the episode and see for yourself. Doug Jones, who plays the Baron also did a great job. Side note: Jones played a “Gentleman” on the brilliant Buffy episode “Hush,” which did win an award. You should definitely watch that too, even if you have zero interest in watching the rest of Buffy. And Jones will be playing Count Orlok in the upcoming remake of Nosferatu. These are good times for vampires.
Overall, this was a great introduction to the show. It kept me laughing, impressed me with its production values, and made me fall for the characters. I hope it’s around for a long time.
Have you watched What We Do in the Shadows? Let me know what you think of it in the comments…
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Aspasía S. Bissas