quarantine stream what we do in the shadows

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The TV Show: What We Do in the Shadows

Where You Can Stream It: Hulu

The Pitch: The horror-comedy movie What We Do in the Shadows, about a group of clueless vampires sharing an apartment, gets repurposed into a TV series that manages to improve on what was already a pretty great scenario.

Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: A new poll was released revealing that “Americans are the unhappiest they’ve been in 50 years,” and I’m not at all surprised. Everything feels extra strenuous these days, for a variety of reasons. As such, we could all use a good laugh – and What We Do in the Shadows has plenty of those. The series takes what was funny about the film and manages to make it even funnier – no small feat, all things considered. 

What We Do in the Shadows is a very, very silly show. And that’s what makes it perfect, especially right now. It’s a series full of death that’s somehow hysterically funny, with one joke after another landing perfectly. If you saw the film, you know the basic set-up: a camera crew films a group of vampire roommates. The TV series relocates the action to America – Staten Island, to be exact – and injects new life into the premise with its characters.

Rather than simply recreate the characters from the film, What We Do in the Shadows introduces us to a whole new set of bumbling vampires. There’s Kayvan Novak as Nandor the Relentless, who was once a mighty warrior in the Ottoman Empire. Then there’s Matt Berry as Laszlo Cravensworth and Natasia Demetriou as Nadja, a vampire married couple. But here is where things get fun. The film featured standard bloodsuckers, but the series introduces us to all different types of vampires. Case in point: the other roommate sharing the house is Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), an energy vampire. Rather than suck blood, energy vampires feed off of energy (obviously), and the show – and Proksch’s performance – present Colin as the type of painfully boring guy everyone has worked with at least once.

Keeping things extra fresh, the Shadows series also throws in a familiar – Guillermo (Harvey Guillén), a hapless young man who dreams of being a vampire one day, but is stuck performing menial and degrading tasks for Nandor in the meantime. Guillermo is the heart of the series, and while the vampires get most of the laughs, Guillén’s performance is delightful in its patheticness. We can’t help but feel bad for poor Guillermo because he’s constantly being pushed around – although as the series progresses we learn that Guillermo is not as helpless as he originally seemed.

The storylines of What We Do in the Shadows involve sperm-stealing witches, gangs of clueless vampire hunters, big city vampires, and, in the show’s best episode, a storyline where Laszlo goes into hiding as bartender Jackie Daytona, “an average American Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Loaded with great cameos and unconcerned with taking anything seriously, What We Do in the Shadows is the perfect program to sink your teeth into right now

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