Much to the delight of its devotees, the 2014 horror comedy mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows is getting a second life as a primetime series, premiering Wednesday, March 27, on FX. Season One will have ten episodes.
The showrunners, the dynamic duo from New Zealand, Taiko Watiti and Jemaine Clement, wrote, directed and starred in the original Shadows. The two also worked on the popular HBO series Flight of the Conchords as well as Disney’s Moana. An Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Watiti achieved critical acclaim and box office success for his masterful take on the Marvel Universe as director of the hilarious Thor: Ragnarok. Clement also has Marvel ties with his role in the FX series Legion.
The first episode of Shadows premiered opening night at SXSW. With roaring laughter from the audience, Clement opened by saying, “ten years ago, uh, five years ago, we made a film that blew the coffin lid off the vampire community. People were like, it’s too real.” Watiti added, “You try doing a reality-based TV show about murderers. No one is doing that! No one was brave enough.” When asked why they decided to revisit the property, Watiti said, “We got tricked into doing this. We thought we were done with this thing!”
The series centers on vampire flatmates adulting in Staten Island. The new cast is more mature and evolved than their frat-boy predecessors, with far more complex relationships. Polyamorous couple Nadja (Natasha Demetriou) and Laszlo (Matt Berry) take midnight strolls to ravish their neighbors. Nandor (Kayvan Novak) and his slave Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) are the best and worst of friends. The hilarious supporting cast includes Colin (Mark Proksch), an energy vampire who bores people to death, and Jenna (Beanie Feldstein), a LARPing virgin trying to understanding her new-found cravings for the blood of man.
The pilot was pure fun and a high-spirited Q&A followed the screening. The panel shared relationship advice about how to spice things up when you’re a couple that’s been together for multiple lifetimes. They suggested bringing in new people as the series sinks its teeth into Nadja’s infatuation with a “hot guy” she’s about to make immortal. “That’s very spicy,” Demetriou said. “That’s the curry.”
Asked how they maintain their creative partnerships in such a large ensemble, the cast enthusiastically took turns responding. Demetriou responded, “Be a legend.” Novak replied, “Modesty.” Berry said, “Well you just have to be very generous, and hope they’re as good as you are.” Proksch explained, “Tolerating Matt when you don’t live up to what he thinks you should be.” Surprised to be included, Feldstein added, “Me, I’ve learned not to talk.”
Martine Paris is a freelance tech and entertainment reporter based in San Francisco. She writes for Fast Company, Sea of Reeds publications (Book and Film Globe, Rock and Roll Globe, Fine Arts Globe, Modern Consensus), and other outlets.