For many years, vampires were regarded as one of the most enigmatic monsters in pop culture, frequently appearing in film and television. Just like zombies, they’re fictitious creatures that have been reimagined by many in various ways. At the height of the Twilight craze, and the sexualization of blood-loving creatures, a more comedic take on vampires emerged with the film-turned-series, What We Do in the Shadows by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. Both the series and the film reveal vampires who are not too different from the average, normal-food-eating human, with similar hopes and dreams. Now in its fourth season, the series continues to be one of the most successful and downright hilarious shows, engaging the audience from the first episode. Get ready for more drama, an avalanche of raunchy jokes, the creation of a nightclub, and a baby (!) Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch).
Our favorite group of vampires, which includes Laszlo (Matt Berry), his wife Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), Nandor (Kayan Novak), and Colin (now rebirthed and growing faster than the average human), found themselves separated for the first time at the end of season three. In season four’s first episode, directed by Yana Gorskaya and fittingly titled “Reunited,” the group is shown coming back together after a year apart. Nandor returns from traveling alone and Nadja and Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) come back from Europe, where the vampire joined the highest Vampiric Council. The blood-thirsty voyagers (and human companion Guillermo) arrive in Staten Island to find their beloved estate on the verge of destruction and with a new resident: The remains of the good ol’ Colin Robinson, now in baby form.
It’s difficult to fully summarize season four’s genius, as there are so many great, chaotic, outright weird situations. Yet, each scenario is so intelligently written and executed that they make you laugh every time. In reality, not much has changed in terms of the story, but this isn’t a bad thing. It feels like it stays the same yet it gets better each season, with each of the characters developing in ways they previously haven’t, taking charge and trying to do things on their own. Laszlo and Nadja, after being separated, are beyond ecstatic to be together as they plan an unusual remodel of the Vampiric Council Headquarters. Demetriou’s character absolutely rocks the boss lady style. Simultaneously, Nandor embarks on a journey to find himself a wife, while Guillermo demands the respect he is due after years of service by Nandor’s side.
The writing of the main characters is the best part of the series, and no doubt a big part of its success. There is no individual lead — each character, whether it’s Nadja, Guillermo, or Colin, is an integral part of the narrative and an element that brings plenty of laughter and memorable one-liners (those from Laszlo are something, let’s be honest). Despite each of them receiving their “five minutes of fame” and centering an episode or a portion of the season on one character, the creators balance it and focus on the other portrayal next. In effect, each character, including The Guide (played by Kristen Schaal), becomes more multidimensional and complex, providing the audience with added levels of familiarization.
Berry’s Laszlo keeps cursing twice as much (and if you don’t like it, he’ll tell you to get fuc*ed). As he becomes a father figure to Baby Colin, the two form an out-of-this-world duo. Nadja’s doll that contains part of the human Nadja’s soul appears in the plot more frequently, adding entertaining banters between the doll and its owner. These are just a few of the most entertaining aspects of What We Do in the Shadow’s fourth season. Its genius lies in every comedic element added to the narrative; part of the fun is discovering them all one by one while participating in vampire adventures.
The clever, highly entertaining scripts are also one of the season’s highlights. All four episodes available for review have a strong backbone, and the scriptwriters: Stefani Robinson, Paul Simms, Wally Baram, and Aasia LaShay, among others, give each actor room to shine. It’s admirable that the show’s rock-solid story keeps getting stronger from season to season, reaching the same heights as its ever-growing popularity. The writing is still as good as it was in the first season, but it feels even more seasoned now than at the beginning of the group’s journey. However, as we return to Staten Island, to a barely standing mansion (thank you, Laszlo), one pressing question remains: When will Guillermo become a vampire? While seeing him chase after his master, and then attempt to gain his independence and become an individual rather than just half of a pair, is a lot of fun, it would be awesome to eventually see him evolve into a vampire — fangs and all.
What We Do in the Shadows remains a constant source of talent, skill, elaborate stories, and never failing jokes. The show’s executive producers, including Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Stefani Robinson, and Paul Simms, are successfully riding the high, proving that the series’ success isn’t without hard work and an eternal passion for the vampire’s sharp bite. Season four has everything its fans could want, becoming yet another lavish entry into this vampire world. So, if you wish to experience more absurd adventures and outlandish situations, strap yourself in for the ride when What We Do in the Shadows returns on July 12th on FX and Hulu the next day.