There’s no denying just how much the mockumentary genre has shaped and defined comedy. From the antics of The Office to suburban adventures in Modern Family, the everyday (well, the everynight, in this case) is thrust into the spotlight where it’s celebrated. This exploration and subversion of the familiar has peaked in the comedic exploits of a bunch of vampires trying to invade the banality of Staten Island.
What We Do in the Shadows follows Nandor the Relentless (Kayvan Novak) and his vampiric housemates, Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), Laszlo (Matt Berry) and Colin Robinson, as they go about being vampires in modern-day Staten Island. The first episode is delightful in its opening scenes where Nandor calls a meeting to discuss finding half-drunk humans in the cell, in the same deadpan way you’d discuss half-drunk bottles of milk.
It’s not just the traditional bloodsuckers that ensure hilarity on-screen. Watching energy vampire Colin Robinson (Mark Prokcsh) literally drain the life out of his victims is nothing short of amusing. The sight gag of seeing Colin’s red eyes as he’s feeding on his hapless office-worker victims doesn’t get old. Neither does watching Nador delight in finding “creepy paper” (crepe paper) and stocking up on glitter to look like someone on Twilight.
It’s a testament to just how great the writing is that a picture of Antonio Banderas from Interview With The Vampire hits you a bit in the feels.
But while hanging out with a group of vampires is a huge part of what makes this series so much fun, it’s the humanness it brings that’s its charm. Seeing the undead of What We do in The Shadows in a familiar setting seems to make them more relatable, more human. But it’s the soft-spoken, bespectacled familiar, Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) who’s one of the highlights. He faithfully serves his master Nandor – keeping his chambers dark, finding victims, and disposing of bodies – all in the hopes that he’ll be turned into a vampire one day. It’s a testament to just how great the writing is that a picture of Antonio Banderas from Interview With The Vampire hits you a bit in the feels.
This successful series adaption from the movie of the same name is wonderful, which isn’t surprising since Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi (both from the original 2014 movie) are behind it. It’s cringe-y in a way that only a mockumentary can successfully pull off. The slapstick humour (Nandor getting his cape wedged in a door, and getting stuck in his coffin) are balanced perfectly by the witty writing and expertly delivered deadpan lines. Halloween might be over, but that’s no excuse to not binge this series. Immediately.