What We Do in the Shadows, a TV series based on the 2014 film of the same name, has made a name for itself. Mockumentary horror-comedy Staten Island Vampires starring Kayvan Novak (Kayvan Novak), Matt Berry (Matt Berry), Natasia Demetriou (Natasia Demetriou), and Mark Prosch (Mark Prosch) as our “emotional vampire.” Because of course, this is the kind of film that Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi are known for: things rarely go according to plan.
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The three seasons of the FX comedy thus far have been fantastic, but if you’re looking for more series that are similar, we’ve got your back (you’ll just have to invite us in, first; vampire laws and all that). Here are seven shows that are similar to What We Do in the Shadows, some of which are horror-comedies, and all of which are worth your time.
1. Ash vs Evil Dead
With Sam and Ivan Raimi, the original Evil Dead filmmakers, behind the project and bringing back Bruce Campbell as its iconic hero, the film is an explosive continuation and bookend to the original series that finished with 1992’s Army of Darkness. After a series of horrifying escapades, Campbell’s Ash Williams is forced to pick up his chainsaw and boomstick once more when the forces of evil grow too pronounced to bear Three seasons of “Campbell” feature established faces like Ted Raimi and Lucy Lawless, as well as newcomers like Ray Santiago and Dana DeLorenzo, all of whom contribute to the show’s success. There are plenty of gore-soaked scares for the ragtag bunch, but they’re all tinted with the madcap fun that Raimi was so good at perfecting, and they’re all taking their time to explore what it means to be Ash.
2. Flight of the Conchords
Cringe-inducing social awkwardness, “everything going wrong,” and other cringe-inducing “horrors” are the sole “horrors” in the HBO series Flight of the Conchords. However, Flight of the Conchords and What We Do in the Shadows share more than simply its creative architects, Clement and Waititi, in their depiction of New York City, which is why this recommendation is being made. Delusional people are seen in both Shadows and Conchords as they aspire to reach greatness despite their own flaws and eccentricities. Surreal musical numbers erupt as Jemaine and Bret attempt to secure concerts, seduce women, and rein in their naive manager Murray (Rhys Darby), all while trying to keep their management in line. If you’re a fan of Clement and Waititi’s low-key comedy, Flight of the Conchords is an absolute must-see.
3. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace
A one-season marvel like Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, if you’re on board with its very weird wavelength, will instantly become your new obsession. With a stellar cast of British comics (including Shadows of the Past star Andy Berry), Darkplace delivers a fake show within a fake show about fake novelist Garth Marenghi (Matthew Holness), who I may pitch as “Stephen King meets Ron Burgundy.” “Darkplace,” a 1980s television series that Marenghi wrote, directed, and starred in, was given full creative control by the network. Some of the best visual humor you’ll ever see can be found in these episodes. A retrospective of “Darkplace,” with Marenghi and all the other (fictional) actors adding context and irony to their terrible show, serves as the show’s framing device, as does that. Darkplace, by Garth Marenghi, is a masterclass in particular, deliberate humor.
4. Los Espookys
A horror-comedy film like What We Do in the Shadows, Los Espookys is full of characters who are willing to be “quiet” in order to make even the most absurd of situations relatable. It’s a world created by Julio Torres, Ana Fabrega, and Fred Armisen, all of whom are creators/stars, that’s influenced by a wide range of filmmakers, from Ed Wood to Wes Anderson, and told in Spanish with subtitles. “Spooky tableaus” are created by the onscreen team, along with Bernardo Velasco and Cassandra Ciangherotti, to fool their clients into believing that the scenes are real. This gives Los Espookys the opportunity to use their imagination and natty production design, but also focuses on the small, human reasons for all these misadventures. Los Espookys is the pinnacle of deadpan hilarity, and it plays by its own set of meticulously crafted rules.
Prior to The CW’s transition into a DC soap opera and Archie character fucking ground, Reaper ran the previous networks’ aesthetic and narrative goals into a natural end zone. At some point in the film, the hapless everyman Bret Harrison swaps his dead-end job at Home Depot for a gig working for the actual, literal Devil, which is something like “if Buffy the Vampire Slayer was really into pop-punk” (Ray Wise, perfection). Reaper Harrison tracks down owed souls, bringing them back to the devil while simultaneously battling a burgeoning sense of self-consciousness (and endangering his slacker best friend Tyler Labine and workplace romance Missy Peregrym). When it comes to TV comedies, Reaper is the closest thing you’ll get to an Extreme Sour Warhead.
6. Wellington Paranormal
This is yet another Waititi and Clement What We Do in the Shadows spin-off – in fact, this episode premiered in New Zealand before FX’s Shadows aired in the United States! There are a lot of similarities between Wellington Paranormal and WWDitS. This is making my mind spin!
As a result, I suppose I should refer to the residents of Wellington as the cast of The CW’s new supernatural series, Paranormal. As in The X-Files and Reno 911, the goofy police officers from the horror-comedy mockumentary are dispatched to investigate paranormal, supernatural, and creature-featured cases. Despite the fact that Wellington is exactly what you would expect from a Waititi/Clement horror-comedy series, it plays with a slightly faster and wilder pace, willing to go broad in ways distinct from the more subtle FX show (while still retaining that wondrous, awkward charm prevalent in so much of Waititi and Clement’s work). In addition to its high-stress silliness and superb SFX makeup, Wellington Paranormal expands on a well-specified universe.
7. Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell
As a fan of genre cliches, I appreciate how What We Do in the Shadows delves into their mundane details. If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to go to Hell, Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell is the film for you. That being said, it’s a live-action Adult Swim comedy, which means it packs a ton more chaos and gore than your slower-paced Shadows episode. Prepare yourself for the wild 11-minute rides that make up this horror comedy, and you’ll find it always boils down to this inescapable irony: Hell is the other people with whom you have to work in order for Hell to work. That’s what the movie is all about.