The first season of What We Do In The Shadows may just be the most inconsistent comedy show I’ve ever seen, some episodes were a delight, the cast were nearly all fantastic, and of course the source material it drew upon was fantastic, but the episodes themselves could be very patchy. Some were extremely fun – with Colin the energy vampire finding another of his breed being my favourite, but some were ridiculously irritating with episode with the normally extremely reliable Nick Kroll as a vampiric nightclub owner misfiring all over the place.
So whether or not this new season is going to be more consistent is going to be difficult to say, but at least the first episode is a superb one, and quite possibly my favourite yet. Starting with a a pretty damn hilarious opening sequence where we catch up with our, well, heroes is definitely not the right word, but our lead characters anyhow, Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) and Laszlo (Matt Berry) inform us about how nearly all of their new familiars have died over the summer, Colin (Mark Proksch) has a great if brief tale of being a dick, Nandor (Kayvan Novak) has a cute throw away gag, while Guillermo is dusting vampires all over the place as there’s been so many assassination attempts. It’s a superb start, and the show feels more confident than ever as it gives us a selection of strong laughs one after another.
The rest of the episode follows these lines as all of the dialogue shines with almost every line, and we’re introduced to Topher (Haley Joel Osment, now enjoying a great second career in slightly offbeat tv comedy) as Laszlo and Nadja’s new familiar, though something’s a little off about him as he’s seemingly incapable of being drained by Colin Robinson. Why that was isn’t explored as the story spins off in beautifully unpredictable manner however, as after an accident with an electrified Koi pond he’s the latest familiar to die.
Laszlo and Nadja are surprisingly rather fond of him though, so unlike with any of the others they decide to try and bring him back to life. This leads to a trip to the Necromancer Wallace (a marvellous Benedict Wong who skats in a hilarious manner), but of course life / death is never that simple and soon Topher’s running about eating live birds and screaming out his name. Guillermo tries to tell everyone that’s something wrong but because comedy often works best when a straight man is surrounded by idiots no one believes him, and so Topher continues to cause chaos in an extremely delightful manner, while the ending has the best use of “That’ll do pig, that’ll do” since Babe.
So yes, I’m loathe to suggest that just because this is a superb episode that the rest of the season will be as consistently hilarious, but the first spin-off from What We Do In The Shadows, Wellington Paranormal, recognised it’s flaws and came back better than ever, so I’m cautiously optimistic. Either way, even if the quality is all over the place it’s a series worth sticking with as when it’s on form it’s exquisitely deranged and darkly hilarious material indeed.