I’ve heard reports from my fellow millennials who have never watched “Eastbound and Down” or “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Some, it would seem, are just discovering “Schitt’s Creek.” This time of excess time is the moment to fill those gaps in your television diet. Paralyzed by the growing mountain of options, we default to “The Office” and “Friends,” exhausted by the prospect of venturing into the streaming wilderness, but ever hungry for decent sitcom fare. The pickings are slim.
I do not like the fantasy genre. Vampires are not my thing. Stumbling onto “What We Do in the Shadows,” however, brought me great joy. Think of it as “The Office” meets “The Real World” meets “Dracula.” If you find yourself constantly revisiting Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton outpost, I think you’ll find “What We Do in the Shadows” to be well worth your time.
Luckily, the show’s second season premieres on FX Wednesday night. The entire first season, which aired last spring, is available to watch on Hulu. At 10 eminently watchable 20-minute episodes, it won’t take you long to catch up.
Other than “Sunny,” FX shows don’t always get their due. “What We Do in the Shadows” doesn’t have nearly the hype it deserves. The show is based on a 2014 mockumentary of the same name, co-written and co-directed by Taika Waititi, the newly-minted Oscar-winning writer and director of “Jojo Rabbit.” While it might be helpful to watch the movie first—and it’s equally funny—the show picks up with a totally different plot and new characters. Waititi directed three of the first season episodes.
IMDB describes the show as, “A look into the daily (or rather, nightly) lives of three vampires, who’ve lived together for over 100 years, on Staten Island.” That pretty much sums it up. Like its source material, “What We Do in the Shadows” is an Office-style mockumentary, with a similar look, similar pacing, and similar humor.
But the added element of fantasy makes for a hilarious wrinkle in the format, allowing the show to satirize American life through a totally fresh lens. It’s not dulled or constrained by PC-boundaries. It’s not overly derivative. It’s just really funny.
As Vanity Fair points out, there’s also something relatable about the show in the age of self-isolation. “Everyone is faintly disgusted by everyone else because they’ve been sharing a home for hundreds of years and even the tiniest idiosyncrasies of their behavior feel magnified by the scrutiny forced by their close quarters,” the magazine wrote. “This is relatable content!”
If you need a new show and want to laugh, give “What We Do in the Shadows” a try. If you’re not a fantasy fan, don’t let the vampire hook turn you off. I’ve been disappointed in a lot of buzzy new TV lately. This show really delivers.