Although I enjoyed Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s flatsharing-vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows (2014), like a lot of shaggy semi-improvised comedies it left me a little underwhelmed… so I was surprised to see it go on to spawn two separate (superior?) TV sitcom spin-offs!
The first was Wellington Paranormal, which debuted back in 2016, starring Karen O’Leary and Mike Minogue as sceptical/oblivious police officers encountering/combatting various paranormal phenomena around the eponymous capital-city (which also served as the setting for WWDITS, hence their initial appearance in that film)… while the second, also titled What We Do in the Shadows, is basically a reboot of the movie set in America, but featuring a largely British cast (specifically Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, and Kayvan Novak). Although all three productions share a similar sense of humour, thanks to the direct involvement of creators Clement and Waititi, I think the reason I prefer the TV-shows is that they have much tighter plots thanks to the stricter episode length, with WP’s more focussed monster-of-the-week format, and WWDITS-TV’s ongoing story arc involving the blood-suckers’ anachronistic attempts to conquer Staten Island for vampire-kind. I also appreciate the fact that they both have more prominent female leads, with O’Leary and Demetriou easily holding their own among their respective castmates. To be fair, Jackie van Beek (who also directed a couple episodes of both shows) did have some great moments in the original movie as a human “familiar”, but casting a woman in a supporting role as a subservient skivvy isn’t gonna win you any “Feminist of the Year” awards, is it?
Meanwhile, as regular readers (!?) of this blog might have guessed already, I’m absolutely loving the old-timey goth wardrobe that the characters in WWDITS-TV are sporting… pretty much any scene involving Demetriou has me drooling… in a very respectful and fashion-oriented sense, that is. Black lace and (faux) fur collars FTW!
Update: WWDITS-TV will start airing here in the UK on BBC2, starting tonight, Sunday 19th May! And presumably hang around on the iPlayer for a couple weeks after that…?