The allure of vampires may not be as strong as it once was pop-culturally. Nosferatu and Bram Stoker's Dracula remain classics, as does Interview with a Vampire and, to some extent, Let the Right One In. Plenty of big productions flirted with the inherently sexy idea of eternal life and neck-biting back in the '90s and then all throughout the 2010s but for many, except for the romance novel crowd, the Twilight series put a stake through the heart of every vampire on screen, big or small. Just kidding, of course it didn't, but I must admit, I am one of those people who see the Twilight series as the killer of a pop-culture niche that I had grown quite fond of and since the release of said film series, I have pretty brutally cut all works including vampires down as they've approached in fear of being a woman scorned once again.
However, after having multiple friends pressure me into watching the two available seasons of the adaptation of Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement's vampire comedy mockumentary, What We Do in the Shadows, I was hooked. I managed to binge-watch the full first season in an evening before having to wait for weekly episodes like some peasant and in truth, the wait for a new episode has never been more excruciating. After leaving the initial season, the five vampire housemates Nandor, Laszlo, Nadja, Guillermo and Colin Robinson were all well-established. Nandor the Relentless (Kayvan Novak), who quickly became and still remains my personal favourite, was a ruthless, pillaging brute at the command of the Ottoman Empire and who, as we came to find out, had kept his familiar Guillermo under his command (dangling the carrot of turning him into a vampire in front of him) for a decade. Guillermo (Harvey Guillen), who was both loyal and hardworking, wanted nothing more than to become a vampire himself. We learnt that Nadja (Natasia Demitriou) and Laszlo (Matt Berry) became a couple after the former lured the latter with her vampiric sex appeal, turning him into a vampire on the spot (unfortunately, Laszlo also contracted leprosy, causing his nether gems to completely fall off). And that's about it really. Wait, of course, Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), the energy vampire who feeds off of the energy of people by being excruciatingly boring and frustrating to be around, was introduced as well.
While the vampires manage to stay in the spotlight, the focal point of the second season is Guillermo and his rise as a vampire-hunting familiar looking to be turned into a bloodthirsty beast himself. While Guillermo feels like a minor character, his actions speak louder than the actions of the vampires whom he serves. As a potential descendant of legendary vampire hunter Van Helsing, he seems to hold the secret power to killing vampires with ease and manages to do so accidentally. Guillermo's shy demeanour and loyalty to his vampire master and housemates makes it all the more hilarious. I have to warn you, though - this show is not one to watch with the kids. It seems like a funny show about vampires but it is absurdly sexual, which is one of the reasons I loved it so much. It's not like watching an adult film, don't get it twisted, but there is a lot of very adult-themed jokes mixed in with casual lines about drinking blood and going LARPing. Think of it as reading a romance novel written by Jack Black of Tenacious D.
You'll find touching tales of self-discovery featuring none other than Mark Hamill in full vampire garb, sagas of Witches wanting to collect vampire semen and more, but at the heart of the season sits Guillermo and Nandor and the pair's bond; Nandor's reluctance to admit he's fond of his familiar; Guillermo's angsty runaway phase in a classic 'grass is greener' tale and the road to him finding his ruthless true self. The season does slow down a tad in episode 9, 'Witches', but that doesn't mean it's bad. It is, however, an episode with bad timing as it's the lead-up to the season finale. That said, the witches (and their want for semen) are hilarious and even though I enjoyed it less than the rest, I still laughed my way through it, knocking myself for laughing at dick jokes at 28.
In fact, What We Do in the Shadows is one massive, throbbing dick joke of a show, but we mean that in the best way possible. The second season tells a story that's surprisingly deep, pushing desperation, grief, loss and the feeling of being undervalued in your face with just enough force to bring the narrative forward in a cohesive way whilst also offering the most absurd, mocking, sexually loaded and self-deprecating comedy I've ever experienced in one place. The joke never ends and it's absolutely delightful, especially considering the fact that each of the characters has a rather calm and almost sterile demeanour.
Think of the most beige person with the driest humour in the world. Now imagine them dropping accidental joke bombs so hot and outrageous you could receive third-degree burns just by listening too closely. Then imagine that person was a vampire. That's essentially the entire cast of What We Do in the Shadows and yet, due to the butt of each vamp's joke being different, the housemates are perceived as completely unique. Where the first season was an introduction to its phenomenal cast and the hilarious and nuanced characters, the second pays homage to the skills of them all and the writers bringing them to life. What We Do in the Shadows is the funniest, snappiest, most consistent comedy I've seen in years. If you find the time, the approximately 20-minute-long episodes are waiting for you in the shadows and I'll have to urge you to check it out, even if you're as sceptical as I was going in.