What We Do in the Shadows (TV series)
What We Do in the Shadows is an American comedy horror television series created by Jemaine Clement, based on the 2014 film of the same name written by Clement and Taika Waititi, the second television series in the franchise following Wellington Paranormal, that premiered on March 27, 2019, on FX. The series follows four vampire roommates living in New York City and it stars Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Harvey Guillén, and Mark Proksch. In May 2019, FX renewed the series for a 10-episode second season to debut in 2020.
|What We Do in the Shadows|
|Created by||Jemaine Clement|
|Opening theme||"You're Dead" by Norma Tanega|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Production location(s)||Toronto, Ontario|
|Running time||24–30 minutes|
|Original release||March 27, 2019 –|
Cast and charactersEdit
- Kayvan Novak as Nandor the Relentless, a vampire who is 757 years old and who was once a soldier of the Ottoman Empire. He regards himself as the leader of the group. Not only can he transform into a bat, he has also become a dog to save Laszlo from an animal shelter. He is also a USA Basketball fan since 1992 and even wanted to become an American citizen solely to compete in the Olympics for America before the Macarena swept the country and took up all his time. He was also the king of a country called Al Quolanudar which is in Southern Iran where he was born. Al Quolanudar dissolved in 1401 when Nandor was just 139 years old.
- Matt Berry as Laszlo Cravensworth, an English nobleman vampire who was turned by Nadja and is now married to her. He frequently disagrees with Nandor's leadership and enjoys making music and topiary sculptures, especially of vulvas. He is able to transform himself into a bat, but must shout "Bat!" whenever doing so and can communicate with animals. Laszlo reveals to the other vampires in one episode that he was Jack the Ripper. He is revealed to be pansexual and has an extensive filmography of pornographic movies in which he plays vampire characters.
- Natasia Demetriou as Nadja, a Romani vampire, married to Laszlo. However, she is secretly seeing a human man named Jeff Suckler who is the reincarnation of her former human lover, Gregor, whom she accidentally decapitated in a previous incarnation. She has a unique ability to transform into a swarm of rats.
- Harvey Guillén as Guillermo, Nandor's "patient" familiar. He has served his master for 10 years in order to become a vampire like the fictional vampire Armand. Nandor shows small acts of kindness for Guillermo, such as making a glitter portrait for him, and taking him flying, but otherwise excludes him, belittles him, and endlessly procrastinates about making Guillermo a vampire. So far unknown to the others, he is a descendant of Van Helsing, the infamous vampire hunter.
- Mark Proksch as Colin Robinson, an energy vampire who lives with the trio. Unlike regular vampires he shows no outward sign of vampirism, except that his pupils sometimes glow and his reflection shows a pale version of himself. He drains humans (and vampires) of their energy by boring or enraging them. He is also a Daywalker, which makes him free to roam day and night (making normal vampires envious). The others are continually annoyed by him, and often try to avoid associating with him, but they let him stay because his office job pays for their considerable rent.
- Doug Jones as Baron Afanas, an ancient vampire from the Old Country who believes vampires should rule the world. He is also pansexual. Both Nadja and Laszlo had secret affairs with The Baron. Laszlo mentions that Afanas used to be a fun person but recently he has only come up with old fashioned ideas. A drunk Afanas mentions that he is not actually a baron, rather "Baron" is a nickname and it is actually spelled Barren. While drunk he says that he does not want to be who he has recently become. After a night of partying with the Staten Island vampires (while also becoming high by drinking blood from humans who were on drugs), the Baron was burned and destroyed by sunlight when Guillermo opened the front door unaware the Baron was there.
- Beanie Feldstein as Jenna, a LARPer and virgin who Guillermo lured for the vampires to feast on. She was later transformed by Nadja into a vampire when she witnesses Jenna being treated poorly by her group and sympathized with her from her own struggles in her human life. During her vampire training with Nadja, she is revealed to have the unique ability to turn invisible, which fits the tendency of people to ignore her.
- Jake McDorman as Jeff Suckler, a reincarnation of Nadja's former human lover, Gregor, a Knight who has been killed by decapitation in each of his lives. Nadja visited him in secret and eventually restored Jeff's memories of his previous lives so that he can be more like his former self, leading to him falling into insanity and being committed to a mental institution. It is later revealed to Nadja and Gregor that Laszlo had always known about Gregor and most of his subsequent reincarnations. Laszlo had been causing his deaths because Nadja would become sad whenever Gregor was reborn, a gesture that she finds touching. Nadja convinces Laszlo to let Jeff go and to allow him to live a single full life, only for him to be accidentally decapitated by a wire that Laszlo had been using to hold up one of his topiary structures.
- Mary Gillis as June, Nadja and Laszlo's Familiar. She appears to be an ill old woman that communicates through grunts. She eventually meets her end when the Baron sucks all her blood when he arrives on Staten Island.
- Hayden Szeto as Jonathan, a LARPer college student that Guillermo lured for the vampires to feast on. However, Colin beat them to it by draining his energy, making the blood totally without nourishment.
- Gloria Laino as The Baron's Familiar. She is keeping a watchful eye on the vampires of Staten Island as her master awakes. Guillermo says that she pops out of nowhere and hears "everything". Despite staying silent most of the time she is perfectly capable of speaking.
- Marceline Hugot as Barbara Lazarro, the madam president of the Staten Island Council. She was going to be the vampires' way of taking over Staten Island until Laszlo left a pile of dead raccoons on her doorstep in an attempt to win her trust, resulting in her believing it was a form of terrorist threat.
- Richie Moriarty as Doug Peterson, a Junior Councilman of the Staten Island Council. Nandor hypnotizes him to use as his "Agent of Chaos", in order to take over the council. But the scheme fails when Peterson goes mad, screaming and ranting in the council chambers, only to be arrested and dragged out of the council by security.
- Veronika Slowikowska as Shanice, Jenna's college roommate who is aware of her being a vampire.
- Anthony Atamanuik as Sean, the human next door neighbor. He frequently witnesses Laszlo doing wildly inappropriate and illegal things, but is easily hypnotized into forgetting everything. The vampires only spare him because he brings their trash cans in when they forget.
- Vanessa Bayer as Evie Russell, Colin's co-worker. She is an advanced form of Energy Vampire - an Emotional Vampire - who feeds off of the pity generated from her outlandish stories of suffering rather than simply frustrating people for energy to drain like Colin. She and Colin date for a short time until he begins to feel the relationship is unhealthy. Her first name is a homophone of "E.V."
- Arj Barker as Arjan, the pack leader of the Staten Island Werewolf Support Group. He entered into the truce between his kind and the vampires (which was created in 1993).
- Hannan Younis as Ange, an African American werewolf and part of Arjan's group. She undermines Arjan's rules (like Laszlo does to Nandor) and is openly hostile towards Nadja due to Nadja's insulting the werewolves by assuming they are all Native Americans (or how she puts it, "Indians.")
- Bobby Wilson as Marcus, the actual Native American member of the Werewolf Pack. He is Native American, and a werewolf but, as he explains, "Not a werewolf because" he's Native American. "It's not an ethnic thing."
- Ro Manning as Dougie, the Caribbean-Canadian member of Werewolf Pack. He is proud to be from Saskatoon. Because all the werewolves are individuals.
- Justin Bigelli as Toby, the new, gigantic member of the Werewolf Pack. Unlike his brethren, he can actually transform at any phase of the moon, simply by picturing the full moon in his mind, allowing him to transform at will (only if it's nighttime).
- Nick Kroll as Simon the Devious, a vampire who rules over the Manhattan Vampires and owns the Sassy Cat nightclub. He was a close friend to the Staten Island trio when all the vampires first arrived in America. When the Staten Island Vampires propose an alliance to conquer America, he reveals that his invitation was just a ruse to get Laszlo's fancy hat (which is cursed because it's made from witch skin). The trio are kicked out of the club, but the cursed Hat causes Simon's flaming arrow to backfire, and his club goes up in a fiery explosion. Simon winds up in a full-body cast in the hospital, and Laszlo sneaks in and retrieves his cursed hat.
- Kristen Schaal as The Guide (also known as the "Floating Woman"), an envoy of the Vampiric Council who likes to float and sometimes speak in a demonic voice.
- Dave Bautista and Alexandra Henrikson as Garrett and Vasillika the Defiler, vampires imprisoned by the Council after Garrett was framed by Laszlo for turning a baby into a vampire (which is very illegal), and Vasillika for too much defiling.
- Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh, and Jemaine Clement reprise their roles as Viago, Deacon, and Vladislav from the original film. Three vampires arrived from New Zealand to participate in the Vampiric Council.[a]
- Tilda Swinton as Tilda, the leader of the Vampiric Council.[b]
- Evan Rachel Wood as Evan the Immortal Princess of the Undead, a member of the Council who just goes by her first name.[c]
- Danny Trejo as Danny, a Hispanic tattooed member of the Council. He has an open dislike towards Wesley.[d]
- Paul Reubens as Paul, a member of the Council.[e]
- Wesley Snipes as Wesley the Daywalker, a half-vampire member of the Council who couldn't participate in person but only video chat through a Skype laptop. Danny despises him for claiming he's a vampire hunter, which he denies.[f]
- James Dwyer as Jeremy, Guillermo's best friend since he was in high school. He suffers from nosebleeds that act up randomly (which makes vampires feel erotic on feeding him). Guillermo regretfully "invites" him to the Bi-annual Vampire Orgy as the main course because he is a virgin. When the event is going to commence, it was later ruined because Jeremy's virginity was lost by having sex with a male gimp.
- Redd Ochoa as Jiang Shi, a jumping Chinese vampire that is a friend of Nadja.
- Samantha Madely as Sylvia, a friend of Nadja who was invited to the orgy.
- Francesco Antonio as Badabook, a vampire from Boston who is a cousin to Sylvia. He bears a resemblance to The Babadook, but he tweaks the name so he can say "Badabing Badabook!"
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||"Pilot"||Taika Waititi||Jemaine Clement||March 27, 2019||XWS01001||0.617|
|Four vampire roommates live together in Staten Island: Nandor the Relentless, the leader of the house; Laszlo and Nadja, a married couple; and Colin Robinson, an energy vampire who works in an office and drains humans of their energy by boring them. The other vampires are often annoyed by his presence. They are joined by their familiars, including Guillermo, who has served Nandor for ten years and hopes to become a vampire one day. Nadja believes she has found her former lover Gregor who has been reincarnated as a human named Jeff; Nadja reveals Gregor has been decapitated in each of his lives. Nandor receives a letter and holds a meeting announcing The Baron, an ancient vampire from the Old Country, will be arriving. The vampires then prepare for his arrival. When The Baron arrives, he announces their plan to take over Staten Island.|
|2||"City Council"||Jemaine Clement||Paul Simms||April 3, 2019||XWS01002||0.658|
|The vampires start their plan to take over Staten Island by attending the local city council meetings trying to persuade the mayor and the council members, but they fail. Nadja turns Jenna, a virgin LARPer, into a vampire after feeling sorry for her.|
|3||"Werewolf Feud"||Jemaine Clement||Josh Lieb||April 10, 2019||XWS01004||0.305|
|The vampires feud with a group of werewolves after they urinate on their lawn and destroy Laszlo's topiary sculptures. Meanwhile, Colin competes with Evie, an emotional vampire at work. They eventually decide to team up and have a brief relationship, before breaking up.|
|4||"Manhattan Night Club"||Jemaine Clement||Tom Scharpling||April 17, 2019||XWS01003||0.439|
|The vampires attempt to form an alliance with Simon the Devious, the leader of the Manhattan vampires, to aid in their takeover. Laszlo insists on wearing a hat made of witch skin, which Nadja insists is cursed. Laszlo runs into several instances of bad luck. The vampires go to his headquarters, a nightclub, to talk with him. Simon agrees to an alliance, but only if Laszlo gives him the hat. Once he has the hat, Simon kicks them out. Guillermo continues to feel underappreciated, so Nandor makes it up to him by flying him over the city, but he accidentally drops him, which puts him in the hospital. Meanwhile, Jenna continues her vampire transition.|
|5||"Animal Control"||Jackie van Beek||Duncan Sarkies||April 24, 2019||XWS01008||0.320|
|Laszlo ends up in an animal shelter after he is knocked out with a broom while in bat-form. The vampires attempt to rescue Laszlo from the shelter. Meanwhile, Nadja goes to see Jeff (Gregor) and they go out to a carnival. Nadja is bored by him and makes him remember his past lives.|
|6||"Baron's Night Out"||Jackie van Beek||Iain Morris||May 1, 2019||XWS01005||0.418|
|The Baron wakes up and demands the vampires take him out to see the city. The vampires are sick and tired of the Baron's old fashioned ideas, so they intend on killing him. The vampires and Baron go out and spend the night going to various bars and nightclubs. After returning home in the morning, Baron is accidentally killed by sunlight when Guillermo opens the front door.|
|7||"The Trial"||Taika Waititi||Jemaine Clement||May 8, 2019||XWS01006||0.527|
|The three vampires must face the vampiric council for the death of the Baron. At the trial, Guillermo admits he killed the Baron, but the council does not believe him. Nandor then takes the blame, and he, along with Laszlo and Nadja are sentenced to death by sunlight. The three vampires are put in a well and await their death, but Colin and Guillermo rescue them by blocking the sun with an umbrella.|
|8||"Citizenship"||Jason Woliner||Stefani Robinson||May 15, 2019||XWS01007||0.522|
|Nadja guides Jenna on how to be a vampire after her transition is complete. Jenna learns her vampire power is the ability to be invisible and she later makes her first kill. Nandor, who learns the country he was born in longer exists, applies for American citizenship after it being suggested by Guillermo. However, Nandor fails the process due to his lack of knowledge about America.|
|9||"The Orgy"||Jason Woliner||Marika Sawyer||May 22, 2019||XWS01009||0.434|
|The vampires plan for the bi-annual vampire orgy, which must go perfectly, because throwing a bad orgy results in eternal humiliation. In the attic, Laszlo finds his old vampire-themed pornos he made. Nadja insults Laszlo when she tells him she finds them boring. After everyone has arrived for the orgy, Laszlo professes his love to Nadja, which sours the mood of the orgy and everyone leaves.|
|10||"Ancestry"||Taika Waititi||Jemaine Clement & Stefani Robinson & Tom Scharpling & Paul Simms||May 29, 2019||XWS01010||0.427|
|Guillermo has the vampires DNA tested to show them their heritage. While Laszlo and Nadja are uninterested, Nandor discovers he has over 200,000 living descendants, including one who lives in Staten Island. Nandor visits her, a 94-year-old woman, by floating by her window with a teddy bear; this results in her having a fatal heart attack. Nandor has the other vampires attend her funeral in a church, and Laszlo and Nadja run out after catching on fire. Nadja calls out to Gregor, who is now in a psychiatric ward after being arrested previously, and breaks out. Gregor goes to the house to see Nadja, but Laszlo appears, and reveals it was he who killed Gregor in each of his past lives. Laszlo declares his love for Nadja, and Gregor stands down. As Gregor leaves, he is decapitated by a metal wire that was strung across that yard that Laszlo was using to trim a topiary bush sculpted like Nadja. Guillermo discovers he is a descendant of Van Helsing and worries if he is destined to kill the vampires.|
On January 22, 2018, it was announced that FX had given the production a pilot order. The pilot was written by Jemaine Clement and directed by Taika Waititi both of whom are also executive producers alongside Scott Rudin, Paul Simms, Garrett Basch, and Eli Bush. On May 3, 2018, it was announced that FX had given the production a series order for a first season consisting of ten episodes, planned to premiere in 2019. On February 4, 2019, it was announced during the Television Critics Association's annual winter press tour that the series would premiere on March 27, 2019.
According to Jemaine Clement: "We stay pretty basic '70s/'80s vampire rules, with a little bit of '30s. They can turn into bats. They can't go in the sunlight; they don't sparkle in the sun, they die. They have to be invited in; in a lot of literature vampires have to be invited into private buildings, but this is a documentary so it's the real rules which means they have to be invited into any building." The main influences on the series are Fright Night, Martin, The Lost Boys, Nosferatu, Interview with the Vampire, Vampire's Kiss, and Bram Stoker's Dracula.
The song used in the opening credits is "You're Dead" by Norma Tanega.
Alongside the pilot order announcement, it was confirmed that Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, and Harvey Guillen would star in the pilot. On February 7, 2018, it was announced that Doug Jones, Beanie Feldstein, Jake McDorman, and Mark Proksch had been cast in the pilot in roles that had the potential to recur should the production receive a series order. On April 11, 2018, it was reported that Hayden Szeto had been cast in the pilot.
Writer/producer Paul Simms said that series does not use CGI effects: "There's no fully digital characters or anything like that. One of the movies we really talked about a lot when we were conceiving the show was Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula where he went back to really doing as many effects as possible in camera and figuring out ways to do that. One of my favorite supernatural moments is completely in camera. It's where Beanie Feldstein's character is walking along in the park and Nadja appears walking next to her. That was all just done completely the old fashioned way where Natasia was hiding behind a tree and the camera was tracking a long and at the right moment, she walked out from behind a tree. I think there's something about that old fashioned way that makes things more interesting than when you can tell it's digital and rubbery and fake looking".
Among the cinematographers D.J. Stipsen and Christian Sprenger's influences for the series was the work of Michael Ballhaus and production designer Thomas E. Sanders on the Coppola-directed Bram Stoker's Dracula: "We referenced that film for the general sumptuousness of the vampires' mansion, which was our main set. Our take, however, was that the Staten Island vampires have let their place go. The former glory is evident but now exists in a worn, faded and distressed state. Production designer Kate Bunch and I had a lot of conversations about striking the right balance between sumptuousness and neglect. There are strong reds, but also yellow that has faded to the point of being a warm brown."
On October 31, 2018, a series of teaser trailers for the series were released. On January 10, 2019, another teaser trailer was released. On February 4, 2019, the official trailer for the series was released.
On October 7, 2018, the series held a panel at the annual New York Comic Con moderated by Rolling Stone's Alan Sepinwall and featuring co-creators Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, along with fellow executive producer Paul Simms. Before the panel began, the first episode of the series was screened for the audience. The world premiere for the series was screened during the 2019 South by Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas as a part of the festival's "Episodic Premieres" series.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has an approval rating of 94%, based on 68 reviews, with an average rating of 7.84/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Delightfully absurd and ridiculously fun, What We Do in the Shadows expands on the film's vampiric lore and finds fresh perspective in its charming, off-kilter cast to create a mockumentary series worth sinking your teeth into." On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 80 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "generally favorable review".
|1||"Pilot"||March 27, 2019||0.2||0.617||0.4||0.938||0.6||1.556|
|2||"City Council"||April 3, 2019||0.3||0.658||0.2||0.599||0.5||1.257[g]|
|3||"Werewolf Feud"||April 10, 2019||0.1||0.305||0.3||0.637||0.4||0.943|
|4||"Manhattan Night Club"||April 17, 2019||0.2||0.439||0.3||0.699||0.5||1.139|
|5||"Animal Control"||April 24, 2019||0.1||0.320||0.3||0.700||0.4||1.021|
|6||"Baron's Night Out"||May 1, 2019||0.2||0.418||0.2||0.563||0.4||0.982|
|7||"The Trial"||May 8, 2019||0.2||0.527||0.4||0.709||0.6||1.237|
|8||"Citizenship"||May 15, 2019||0.2||0.522||0.3||0.636||0.5||1.159|
|9||"The Orgy"||May 22, 2019||0.2||0.434||0.3||0.727||0.5||1.162|
|10||"Ancestry"||May 29, 2019||0.2||0.427||0.3||0.676||0.5||1.104|
|2019||TCA Awards||Outstanding New Program||What We Do in the Shadows||Nominated|||
|Saturn Awards||Best Horror Television Series||Nominated|||
- Indeed every known member of the Vampiric Council has played an on-screen vampire before.
Mentioned only: Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen in The Twilight Saga (2008–2012), Kiefer Sutherland in The Lost Boys (1987), Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt as Lestat de Lioncourt and Louis de Pointe du Lac in Interview with the Vampire (1994).
It is reported that Waititi denied Cate Blanchett council membership due to insufficient on-screen vampiric experience.
- Tilda Swinton played a vampire lover in Only Lovers Left Alive (2013).
- Evan Rachel Wood played Sophie-Anne Leclerq, the Vampire Queen of Louisiana, in True Blood Seasons 2–4 (2009–2011).
- Danny Trejo played a vampire bartender in From Dusk till Dawn (1996).
- Paul Reubens played a local vampire king's acolyte in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992).
- Wesley Snipes played half-vampire daywalker Eric Brooks/Blade who hunted vampires in the Blade franchise (1998, 2002, 2004).
- Live +7 ratings were not available, so Live +3 ratings have been used instead.
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