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Photo: ‘What We Do in the Shadows’
With summer coming to a close, it’s time for the fall television season to begin, and what better way to kick it all off than talking about some vampires? The Halloween season is coming soon and it seems that network television is already in the mood, with a new season of AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’ and FX’s ‘American Horror Story’ both premiering last week. Continuing on the horror trend (and the vampire trend too), this week brings the Season 3 premiere of FX’s hit comedy series ‘What We Do in the Shadows’. Everyone’s favorite pack of vampires are back for a third helping, and the first two episodes, “The Prisoner” and “The Cloak of Duplication”, do not disappoint. Chock full of great jokes while still continuing the narrative from the season 2 finale, this show keeps the laughs coming and will be a welcome return for new and returning fans alike.
For those new to the show, ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ is a mockumentary comedy horror series about four vampires living together in Staten Island. Based on the 2014 film created by Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement (who created this spinoff series), the show portrays a peek into the daily life of Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Laszlo (Matt Berry), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), and Colin (Mark Proksch) as they basically do vampire stuff around town. Along with the four vampires is Guillermo (Harvey Guillén), Nando’s familiar, who desperately wants to one day become a vampire just like the others.
A Recap of “The Prisoner”
The first episode, “The Prisoner” continues the story from the Season 2 finale, where the vampires watch Guillermo slaughter multiple vampires and find out that he is a vampire hunter. Now, it’s 29 days later, and they still don’t know what to do with him. They have him “locked up” in a cage in their basement (unbeknownst to them, he is still able to get out and do his usual chores) until they can figure out what to do with him. These vamps need Guillermo to keep order in the house, so watching him sneak out just to do basic chores is something that speaks volumes about his character, and leads to a very funny montage. ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ is good at mining comedy from Guillermo as a man who is his own problem, staying to work with Nandor and the other vampires even when they don’t realize how valuable he is to them.
Soon, a messenger from the Supreme Vampiric Council (Kristen Schaal), called “The Guide” arrives to inform them that they have been selected to become the new Vampiric Council of the American Eastern Seaboard after Guillermo’s slaughtering. The vampires decide to make the familiar their new bodyguard as they decide who will take the throne as the leader of the Council.
A Recap of “The Cloak of Duplication”
At the start of “The Cloak of Duplication”, Nandor and Nadja have come to an agreement to share the throne, for now. As The Guide shows these vampires the Council’s headquarters, they begin exploring the different perks that come with it. For Laszlo, this means reading through the endless amounts of porn from throughout history; For Colin, this means reading through books that could tell him about his unknown history as an energy vampire. But for Nandor, he only has one plan: To give Laszlo the Cloak of Duplication (a cloak that copies the appearance of another) to woo a gym receptionist named Meg (Lauren Collins).
As Laszlo, Colin, and Guillermo attempt to score a date for Nandor, Nandor and Nadja deal with Council issues as the new leaders. A young, millennial group of vampires have decided to go against the Council and create their own leadership, much to Nadja’s anger. It’s hilarious to watch Nandor and Nadja argue about their differing ways to handle these rebels who reject the rules of the Council. Nandor’s diplomatic approach is much different than Nadja’s much more violent options. Colin also tags along to take notes, where he meets another energy vampire who feeds off of giving people edibles to decrease their energy. It’s a smart concept, and I love that the show finds funny ways to work with the concept of an “energy vampire”, even with Mark Proksch’s amazing performance.
By the end of the episode, Nadja wins over the young rebellious vampires by ripping out the heart of their leader and killing him. Meanwhile, Nandor finally tells Meg how he feels, only to learn that she’s a lesbian. She suggests Nandor and Guillermo may be gay for each other, which greatly upsets him and he leaves. Nadja later confronts Nandor about his reluctance to be aggressive and claims that living in America has softened him, something he disagrees with. It seems like there are problems brewing between the two, and with Nadja as a co-leader of the new Vampiric Council, it’ll be interesting to see where this series takes this power imbalance next.
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‘What We Do in the Shadows’: A Change in Power Dynamics
‘What We Do in the Shadows’ has proved to be back in fine form for Season 3. The characters are great and are still funnier than ever, and seeing the stark contrast between the lives of these goofy vampires living in America still makes for great moments. There’s a lot of humor to be found in watching the cast interact with each other, whether it’s Nadja pranking Nandor with the Cloak of Duplication or the vampires yelling at Colin to shut up about his stupid historical facts. My favorite moment involved Colin threatening to use a cattle prod on Guillermo only to consistently shock himself instead. This show makes great use of physical comedy as well, with moments like Colin and the cattle prod and Guillermo falling out of the headquarters’ air ducts being exaggerated for laughs.
The most interesting dynamic here is how the vampires are all finally in power. With the goal to take over the Western Hemisphere back in Season 1, they’ve now gone to being in charge of the entire American East Coast, a big step up to their goal. Seeing the four finally have power changes up the show in a new way that adds another spark to an already fantastic show. Guillermo has also been promoted from familiar to vampire bodyguard, a role change that gives him some confidence and adds more flavor to the show. ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ is as strong as ever, and continues to take a great premise in interesting new directions by focusing on power dynamics this season. With Halloween coming up, now is the perfect time to catch up and watch these vampires mess around Staten Island in the most humorous way possible.
Cast and Crew:
Cast: Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasha Demetriou, Harvey Guillén, Mark Proksch
Created by: Jermaine Clement
Cinematography by: DJ Stipsen | Edited by: Yana Gorskaya, Shawn Paper, Dane McMaster
Composer: Mark Mothersbaugh
By Ben Ross
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Ben Ross is a writer at Hollywood Insider. He loves watching films and finding the message behind the art. With a love for movies and television, his goal is to understand as much as he can about anything he watches, and engage with readers about different topics related to the industry. He aims to find work that sheds a light on issues not really talked about and showcase it, feeling that it is important to understand the truth. Together with his readers, he hopes to celebrate beautiful stories in film and explore topics that are worth discussing – a value that defines Hollywood Insider.