The 14 Best What We Do In The Shadows Episodes, Ranked

Ever since Bram Stoker burst on the scene with a little gothic horror novel called "Dracula," popular culture has been obsessed with vampires. From "Twilight" to "Nosferatu," there are dozens of different interpretations of vampire lore across film and television to sink your fangs into. One recent favorite that soared above the crown on its little bat wings was the 2015 mockumentary comedy, "What We Do in the Shadows." 

When Taika Waititi first announced a spin-off television series of the same name, there was some concern that a TV show, especially one set in the United States, might be unable to live up to the greatness of the original film. The nervousness was understandable; it'd be hard for any spin-off to live up to the greatness of the film that gave us "We're werewolves, not swear wolves" and "dead but delicious," let alone the whip-smart comedy of Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement's performances. But the worrying was for naught: As soon as it was released, the "What We Do in the Shadows" TV series proved itself to be a pleasant surprise that took everything fun about the movie and ran with it. 

Our central cast is a group of vampire roommates (and one human familiar) living together in a house on Staten Island. There's Nadja and Laszlo, the eccentric married couple; Nandor the Relentless and former warlord of the ancient world; Colin Robinson, an energy vampire that feeds on people by annoying and exhausting them; and Guillermo, Nandor's human familiar who does household chores in exchange for the promise of eventual eternal life. The show kept the classic vampires and werewolves, but didn't stop there, adding in ghosts, witches, sirens, and at least one Babadook. 

Picking a favorite episode of this show is like picking a favorite child — it's dramatic, exhausting, and can leave emotional scars that last a lifetime. With that in mind, here instead are 14 of the best episode of "What We Do in the Shadows," ranked.

14. The Casino (Season 3 Episode 5)

"What We Do in the Shadows" is an ensemble piece at its core, and the show's at its absolute best when each character is given a chance to shine in their own unhinged spotlight. "The Casino" takes our merry band of the undead (plus Guillermo and whatever is going on with Colin Robinson) on the road to, you guessed it, a casino in Atlantic City. From the opening credits, which swap out the usual paintings and photographs for footage of the city — coupled with scenes of the gang traveling there via a party bus full of drunk humans — it becomes clear that this is not a standard episode. 

By taking the characters away from Staten Island, this out-of-town romp provides a breath of fresh air amidst ongoing storylines that might otherwise start to feel a bit stale. On top of that, bringing the vampires to a casino, a setting where most people are unconscious or in their rooms recovering from the night before whenever the sun is out, was a stroke of genius on the part of the writers. This new environment provides ample opportunity for each member of the main cast to engage in plenty of antics without any tiresome concerns about anyone learning their secrets. 

Nadja is convinced that a group of Rat Pack impersonators are the genuine article that she spent time with decades ago, Laszlo plunges his new friend Sean into crushing credit card debt, and Nandor's fascination with a "Big Bang Theory" (the sitcom) slot machine leads to Colin Robinson teaching him about the Big Bang Theory (hypothesis about the universe not starring Jim Parsons at all), completely shattering his perception of the world and his place in it. All in all, it's a pretty successful vacation.

13. Animal Control (Season 1, Episode 5)

One of the best things about both versions of "What We Do in the Shadows" is seeing the traditionally glamorous, mysterious world of vampires go toe-to-toe with the most mundane irritations of human existence. This early episode asks a question no one else was brave enough to posit before now: What if a vampire turned into a bat and then got captured by Animal Control? Classic vampire tricks just don't work well in the modern world, where people know that bats have a high rate of carrying rabies, and help is just a phone call and a net away. It's a simple enough premise, but the end result is as hysterical as it is frustrating, seeing Laszlo stuck in Animal Control custody with no way out. 

While Nandor and Colin do their best to engineer an Animal Control jailbreak, Nadja is in pursuit of the reincarnated version of her former lover, Gregor. He's a gorgeous hunk of man with only one flaw: He keeps getting beheaded. Now, he's been reborn as a parking garage attendant named Jeff, or, as Nadja calls him, "Jesk". So, while her husband is in lockup with the stray cats and dogs, Nadja disastrously reconnects with her old flame. There's nothing grand or flashy about this episode, just cozy, classic "vampires in the regular world" hijinks, and a lot of bats. Which are always a bonus.

12. On the Run (Season 2, episode 6)

This episode features one of the most iconic minor characters in the history of the show. I am, of course, talking about Jackie Daytona, everyone's favorite regular human bartender. After a confrontation with an old foe (played by guest star Mark Hamill) who's got vengeance on his mind, Laszlo skips town to Pennsylvania (because it sounds like Transylvania) and takes over as the proprietor of Lucky Brews Bar and Grill. 

This episode gives Laszlo his moment in the spotlight, and proves that his character is just as charming without Nadja and the others to play off of. It's adorable to see him fitting in so well in his new small-town hideout, working to support the local girls' volleyball team and generally acting as an asset to the community. Indeed, it's almost enough to make you forget he killed the bar's original owner. 

Of course, nothing lasts forever, and Jackie Daytona must leave behind his days of toothpick chewing and drink slinging to return to his life in Staten Island and become Laszlo Cravensworth once more. But he lives on, forever in our hearts, and in the memories of local volleyball fans all throughout Pennsylvania. 

11. Brain Scramblies (Season 2, Episode 3)

This episode takes the household to a Superbowl Party (misunderstood here as a "Superb Owl" party which, to be fair, does sound a lot better) at their neighbor Sean's house. That's right, Sean and his lovely wife Charmaine appear twice on this list! There's just something so delightful about seeing this mundane human couple attempt to socialize with the horny little chaos monsters that are Nadja and Laszlo. Football jerseys and leopard print leggings meet petticoats and capes as the two married couples do their very best to bond. Conflict at most Superbowl parties ends with a favorite team losing, a boring halftime show, or someone hogging the seven-layer dip, but this party lost the right to be ordinary the moment the vampires got invited. 

Laszlo and Nandor become convinced that Sean suspects them of being vampires, and scramble his brains while trying to cover it up. Nadja is recognized by an old woman that she used to play with as a child, and the two have unfinished business. Meanwhile, we get some development of one of my favorite plotlines: Guillermo's natural talent for vampire slaying. 

10. Baron's Night Out (Season 1, Episode 6)

Nandor, Laszlo, and Nadja are pretty out of touch when it comes to life in the New World, but there is someone even more behind on the times than they are — ancient Old World vampire Baron Afanas, played by everyone's favorite monster man, Doug Jones. Baron awakens from a long slumber and demands to see the progress the group has made in conquering the city, so they do the only thing they can: They take him out for a night on the town while secretly planning his murder. 

The recurring joke of this episode, seeing the monstrous wrinkled Baron doing ordinary nightlife activities while no one really says anything about it, should wear thin after a while. But, like vampires themselves, it never seems to get old. The vampires bring the Baron to a bar, introduce him to pizza, take him to karaoke, and get absolutely sloshed on drug blood (blood from people who were on lots of drugs, you get it). They have so much fun they almost forget about the murder plan, but Guillermo takes care of it for them, if completely by accident. 

9. Manhattan Night Club (Season 1, Episode 4)

Eager to form a vampiric alliance that might gain them more power in the New York area, the vampires and Guillermo take a trip to Manhattan's hottest vampire nightclub to speak with its owner, and an old friend of theirs named Simon the Devious (played by Nick Kroll)...

(Sorry, just a quick digression here, but why is Nick Kroll so hot as a vampire? What's that about? I'm not mad about it, just surprised. Everyone's hotter as a vampire, I guess. But we're not here to talk about the attraction-boosting power of a pair of costume fangs and some velvet, so I'll move on.)

This episode is packed with hilarious moments, from Guillermo being forced to sit in a waiting room for familiars to the through-line involving Laszlo's favorite hat, a cursed artifact made of witch skin that brings calamity to whoever wears it. The hat's cursed properties come in handy after Simon the Devious turns out to be, well, devious. He steals the hat and kicks the group out of his club, only for the curse to kick in and make the nightclub explode with him and his crew of lackeys inside. Rest easy, Blavglad the Exsanguinator, we hardly knew ye. 

8. The Cloak of Duplication (Season 3, Episode 2)

One of the most fun supernatural comedy tropes out there is the body swap, whether it's "Freaky Friday" or a fresher, bloodier take on the idea. This episode, which introduces the titular enchanted Cloak, is a body swap story by way of "What We Do in the Shadows." There's not technically any swapping, so much as the rest of the cast gets a chance to turn into Nandor for a little while, but it's a blast just the same.

When Nandor struggles to flirt with a woman he's developed a crush on at his local gym, Guillermo, Laszlo, and Colin all try their best to help woo her. Laszlo keeps it classic, with vintage pornography and bold overtures, while Colin employs the more contemporary (but just as off-putting) technique of "negging." Guillermo's approach comes across as if Nandor is harboring feelings for him, much to the delight of those enjoying that "will they or won't they" storyline. At the end of the day, none of the approaches work, because sometimes it's just not meant to be! And sometimes, the cute woman at your gym is a lesbian. There's a lot to love here, but the various versions of Nandor are the stand-out of this episode. Kayvan Novak practiced impressions of his costars religiously for this episode, and it shows! 

7. The Wellness Center (Season 3, Episode 8)

I've got two very important words for you: Jazzercize Nandor. Take a moment, sit with that. Let it really sink in. Look at his haircut, his little workout shorts, the pure unadulterated joy in his eyes. Nandor joins a cult in this episode, and it's adorable. Of course, it's also a cult, but they're having so much fun! 

Nandor starts the episode feeling listless and depressed, but finds a new sense of purpose when he stumbles upon Jan, the leader of a "Wellness Center" for vampires that want to live as humans again. Nandor can't resist Jan's charismatic attitude or the allure of high-energy aerobics and spandex, so he moves in and leaves the others behind. Fearing that he has lost a friend (as well as his only shot at becoming a vampire), Guillermo has no choice but to rescue Nandor whether he wants it or not. 

Standout moments in this episode include the phenomenal Cree Summer as would-be cult leader Jan, and one of the best uses of "One Week" by the Barenaked Ladies in pop culture history. 

6. Nouveau Théâtre des Vampires (Season 2, Episode 10)

Guillermo is, quite literally, the beating heart of "What We Do in the Shadows." What would any of the main characters do without him working tirelessly to clean up after them, support them, and secretly kill assassins when they're not looking? Well, in this episode, they (and the audience) get to find out. Guillermo has finally had enough, and abandons his life as a familiar to move back in with his mom. 

It works out about as well as you could expect: Guillermo is miserable and the house becomes a complete mess, covered in blood and discarded corpses with no one to bury them. Things start looking up for the vamps when they receive an invitation to an exclusive, prestigious all-vampire theatrical event. Just kidding! It's a trap! Because of course it is! But have no fear, Guillermo arrives at the last minute to let out his inner Buffy and save his friends. Guillermo de la Cruz, hero among men and vampire slayer extraordinaire! 

5. The Orgy (Season 1, Episode 9)

As fun as it is to watch the vampires (and Guillermo) have a crazy night out, sometimes all you want to do is watch them stay in, relax, and plan the annual Vampire Orgy. Don't let the title fool you, this episode is a lot more stressful than it is sexy. Though we get a peek into Laszlo's previous porn career and a look at Colin Robinson dressed like the most confused dad at the Leather club, the episode primarily centers around Nadja agonizing over the potential social consequences of hosting a boring orgy. 

The scariest thing in this episode isn't the droves of vampires hungry for virgin blood, but the stress of party planning as Nadja struggles to be the only voice of reason in a house full of nonsensical men. Unfortunately for her, the orgy does not go according to plan. Fortunately for us watching at home, the great big mess is highly entertaining. 

4. Ghosts (Season 2, Episode 2)

Truly groundbreaking television is willing to explore ideas that other shows are often too unequipped — nay, too cowardly — to touch. "What We Do in the Shadows" is not constrained by such fears. It stares into the abyss itself, saying "Hey, what if when vampires become vampires their human self becomes a ghost and then the vampire version of them met the ghost version?" And the abyss responds: "Yeah I'd like to see that." 

Nadja, Laszlo, and Nandor conduct a seance in order to reach out to the ghostly versions of their former human selves, find out if they have any unfinished business, and help them cross over into the afterlife. Turns out, they do have unfinished business, and they need their vampire counterparts to help finish it. Nadja's ghost is worried about her wasting her eternal life, Nandor's ghost misses his horse, and Laszlo's ghost has, ahem, some unaddressed physical needs. The originality of this premise, the fun of seeing the actors perform alongside themselves, and the introduction of the adorably creepy Nadja doll make this episode one of the show's best offerings.

3. City Council (Season 1, Episode 2)

Some sitcoms take a while to get on their feet, requiring a few episodes or even an entire season before they hit their stride. Not so with "What We Do in the Shadows," which had already found its voice and solidified itself as one of the funniest TV shows on the air by its second-ever episode. This installment pits the vampires against an intimidating beast that few have conquered — local government. 

Sadly, all the vampire magic in the world is no match for bureaucracy and banality. Colin Robinson is really the only one who ever stood a chance here. 

In an attempt to spread their influence and conquer Staten Island, Nandor and Laszlo each attempt to sway a member of the local City Council. While Laszlo attempts to win over the Mayor by killing all the raccoons in her neighborhood, Nandor reaches out to her opponent with his psychic powers and convinces him to work on behalf of the vampires. It all falls apart spectacularly, of course. During all of this nonsense, Nadja is busy turning a shy college student into a vampire. 

2. The Curse (Season 2, Episode 4)

The most fearsome foe that our vampiric trio could ever face is not sirens, not hunters, not the Vampiric Council itself, but something none of us can escape — the chain letter. Chain letters are an annoyance we've all dealt with, but for a group of vampires who can barely wrap their minds around the notion of the internet, let alone the ins and outs of email, it is downright terrifying. 

After receiving an email that threatens them with death if they don't forward it to 10 people, Nandor, Nadja, and Laszlo panic as they realize they do not know 10 different email addresses. Meanwhile, Guillermo teams up with a group of novice vampire hunters attempting to take on their first nest of bloodsuckers. This sequence is one of the few times the show crosses over from comedy into the realm of actual horror, as the ill-prepared hunters are picked off one by one and Guillermo barely escapes with his own life. 

1. The Trial (Season 1, Episode 7)

If Mark Hamill's appearance in "On the Run" is a special treat, then "The Trial" is a whole damn buffet. This episode is stacked with celebrity cameos from top to bottom. It happens thanks to the first on-screen appearance of the intimidating Vampiric Council, which happens to be filled with pretty much every actor who's ever played a famous vampire. This illustrious lineup includes Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement, and Jonathan Brugh in reprisals of their original "Shadows" roles, as well as Evan Rachel Wood, Tilda Swinton, and even a Skyped-in Wesley Snipes. 

Nandor, Laszlo, and Nadja stand before this star-studded lineup as they face the consequences of the Baron's death. None of them can remember what happened due to having been completely wiped out on drug-infused blood, but the Baron is dead just the same ... and the Council wants someone to pay the price. Just when it seems like all hope is lost, Guillermo and Colin help rescue their housemates, and the group escapes intact. Better luck next time, Danny Trejo and the rest of you!