'What We Do in the Shadows' series premiere recap

What We Do in the Shadows

In 2014, Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi broke onto the scene with his vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows. The film, almost instantly, became a cult-classic — and rightfully so, as it’s one of the funniest films of the past decade.

Praise to the horror-loving gods above, because Waititi and What We Do in the Shadows is now back as a new FX series.

It’s good, too. Like, really good. If you loved the What We Do in the Shadows movie, odds are you’re going to love the show, too (or, the pilot, at least).

With Waititi’s direction and overall supervision, What We Do in the Shadows introduces us to three new vampire idiots hiding out in modern-day Staten Island.

We open with Guillermo (Harvey Guillén, who could very easily become a big star after a role like this) — the human familiar to lead vampire Nandor (Kayvan Novak). Guillermo, like all familiars, has hopes to someday become a vampire himself (Nandor seemingly has no interest in making good in that promise, either, even though the pilot is set on their ten-year anniversary) but, for now, is stuck doing whatever meaningless chores he’s given.

What We Do in the Shadows
credit: YouTube

Nandor lives in a mansion alongside two other vampires — Nadjia (Natasia Demetriou) and Laszlo (Matt Berry), who are kind of an on-again-off-again couple — which is where they spend the nights arguing about stupid stuff in a very What We Do in the Shadows kind of way.

Again, this show really doesn’t seem to be all that plot heavy in the same way the movie wasn’t, but it captures that exact same tone which then makes it a blast to watch.

Actually, scratch that, there’s is technically four “vampires” who live in the house.

Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch, or Nate from The Office) is the other vampire who nobody really likes and lives down in the basement by himself. He’s not a vampire in the same sense at the rest, but rather an ‘energy vampire’ who sucks the souls out of people by boring them the death.

So, he’s basically just playing a character who talks about meaningless things until his victims fall asleep, and boy oh boy is it funny.

What We Do in the Shadows
credit: YouTube

The four of them have seemingly been roommates for hundreds and hundreds of years, which, again, is what makes this premise so entertaining to watch. When they aren’t arguing over who left a half-drained human in the basement, they can typically be found either asleep in their coffins or walking through the park while looking for new victims.

Guillermo is expected to help out finding those victims, too. Given that vampires often prefer the blood of virgins (throwback to Jermaine Clement’s hilarious sandwich line from the What We Do in the Shadows movie), he often frequents larping groups to find those he can persuade back to the vampire’s home for a night of role-playing.

That’s how Jenna (Lady Bird’s Beanie Feldstein) and Kyle (Chris Perfetti) both end up in the mansion as unknowing victims. They don’t really factor into the story a whole lot in this episode, but I’d guess they’ll be showing up again soon.

Nadjia is extra-busy at nights, too, given that she thinks she may have found her reincarnated lover — played by Jake McDorman — living in New York City. He doesn’t know that, of course, but the poor soul does start to catch on when Nadjia constantly follows him around everywhere.

Nandor is worried about other things, though. They’ve recently received a letter that the Baron (Doug Jones) — the most famous vampire in all the land — is coming to visit them. Nobody really knows why he’s visiting, mind you (Nandor believes it has something to do with a vampire revolution, Guillermo ponders the time might finally be here for him to become a vampire himself and Nadjia and Laszlo both assume he’s here to have sex with them.

What We Do in the Shadows
credit: YouTube

In the end, though, we don’t really know why he’s here. The vampires hold a big awakening ceremony for him, in which the Baron promptly arises, sucks the blood out of Laszlo’s nameless familiar and then returns to his coffin (the look on Guillermo’s face is priceless).

The rest of them then retreat to their coffins as we call it a wrap on this pilot.

We’re one episode in and I’m already in love with What We Do in the Shadows. They’ve managed to capture the exact same energy and style we saw in the movie (even with different characters) and transfer it to television. Give me more, more, more.

Tune in to FX tonight to catch the next episode of What We Do in the Shadows!

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Brandon Schreur

The fella over there with the hella good hair. Movies and TV are my jam, and the fact that I get to write about them on a regular basis is the bees knees.

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