Welcome to W TV Club, in which W magazine’s editors choose a television show they’d recommend you binge-watch. Since Halloween is coming, our October picks will be a spooky sampling. This week, culture editor Brooke Marine recommends FX’s What We Do in the Shadows, the sleeper hit you might not have realized you should be watching.
Streaming platforms releasing series after series won’t cease to exhaust us any time soon, but every now and then, a show comes along that makes you wonder: wait, why aren’t more people talking about this? What We Do in the Shadows is one of those shows. Based on Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s offbeat 2014 mockumentary film of the same name, the FX series centers a crew of vampire roommates and one of their familiars (essentially a servant, in vampire lore). Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Harvey Guillén, and Mark Proksch star as a bunch of daft vampires living in Staten Island. With centuries of (after)life behind them, you’d think they would be wiser after living through major events in human history, such as the Jack the Ripper killings (spoiler alert: in season one, it is revealed that one of these vampires actually was the serial killer). Their fangs may be sharp, but their wit? Absolutely not.
The trope of a person from another era suddenly facing the vexing and perplexing trappings of modern life is so easy to screw up, but it is utilized hilariously in What We Do in the Shadows. Special attention should be paid to Demetriou, who plays a vampire named Nadja (and is equally as brilliant in her performance on HBO Max/Channel 4’s Stath Lets Flats, opposite her brother, Jamie Demetriou). And this time of year, it’s just fun to watch something spooky, but not exactly scary. We could use some more silly, goofy shows like this one, which don’t take themselves too seriously.
What We Do in the Shadows also boasts some of television’s most talented writers, including Atlanta’s Stefani Robinson, and Paul Simms, a vet of The Larry Sanders Show and Flight of the Conchords. And if that’s not enough to convince you to watch, recurring and guest characters are played by some of your favorite (often unsung) character actors and comedians: Beanie Feldstein, Nick Kroll, Kristen Schaal, Jeremy O. Harris, Tilda Swinton, Craig Robinson, and Catherine Cohen, to name a few.
On top of that, the season three finale just aired on FX, so now you can watch all three seasons without having to wait a week for new episodes there or on Hulu, just in time to get in the spirit for Halloween.