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In Praise of the Absurd, Chaotic ‘What We Do in the Shadows’

I firmly believe the key to a good TV-viewing diet is making sure you have shows to watch for any occasion. I’ll be the first to stan Nicolas Winding Refn’s criminally underseen, glacially paced, and hyperviolent Too Old to Die Young, but it’s the kind of series you have to be in the right mood to endure. Sometimes, it’s just nice to have a small-screen balm whose underlying agenda is seeing how much it can commit to its dumb bits. To that end, FX’s What We Do in the Shadows is a genius work of stupid art. Based on the 2014 mockumentary film of the same name from Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, the series follows the mundane travails of a group of vampires living under one roof in Staten Island. As the vamps Nandor, Nadja, and Laszlo—who are all centuries old—struggle to navigate modern life, the closest thing the show has to an overarching story line is Nandor’s human familiar Guillermo (basically a personal assistant) wanting to become a vampire while also reckoning with the fact that he is a descendant of Van Helsing.

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