What We Do in the Shadows follows a quartet of vampires who’ve lived together for centuries, on Staten Island, and is the second programme starting on the BBC tonight (following BBC1’s Gentleman Jack), which has already begun on another network in the US. The Suranne Jones drama has so far half-aired on HBO, while this comedy has almost completely finished on FX.
It’s also based on a 2014 movie by Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) and Jemine Clement (The Lego Batman Movie), which I haven’t seen, but with their involvement, this series has also attracted big names such as Tilda Swinton (Okja), Evan Rachel Wood (Allure), Danny Trejo (Machete), Wesley Snipes (Expendables 3) and Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2).
In the first episode, Nandor (Kayvan Novak – Early Man) is annoyed about the fact victims have been finished off completely, leaving the blood half-drunk. At the same time, Natasia Demetriou (Stath Lets Flats), as Nadja, puts on a heavy Transylvanian accent, whilst bigging up the attractive properties of her partner, Laszlo, played by Matt Berry (House Of Fools), who can only ever talk like Matt Berry.
But the aforementioned big names don’t a hit series make. Comedy is what makes a comedy series, and this one uses the ‘mockumentary’ style, which was all the rage almost 20 years ago when The Office was a huge hit, but today, it feels incredibly dated. I loved the original Office, but just didn’t get the US version. Watching this new series, it reminds me of the forced looks to camera followed by embarrassed silences in the American Office. Here, the humour is massively forced, too.
To sum up, I’ve watched one episode and I’m still waiting to laugh.
What We Do In The Shadows begins tonight on BBC2 at 9.45pm. It’s not yet availalbe to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD. If you miss it, it will be on the BBC iPlayer for 30 days after transmission.
Episode 1 Score: 0/10
Series Directors: Jemaine Clement, Jackie van Beek, Taika Waititi, Jason Woliner
Producers: Hartley Gorenstein, Joanne Toll
Writers: Jemaine Clement, Josh Lieb, Iain Morris, Stefani Robinson, Duncan Sarkies, Tom Scharpling, Paul Simms, Taika Waititi
Music: Mark Mothersbaugh
Nandor: Kayvan Novak
Laszlo: Matt Berry
Nadja: Natasia Demetriou
Guillermo: Harvey Guillén
Colin Robinson: Mark Proksch
Jenna: Beanie Feldstein
Baron Afanas: Doug Jones
Shanice: Veronika Slowikowska
Baron’s Familiar: Gloria Laino
Jeff Suckler: Jake McDorman
Tilda: Tilda Swinton
Evan: Evan Rachel Wood
Danny: Danny Trejo
Wesley: Wesley Snipes
Dave: Dave Bautista
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.