It’s no secret that several Ars staffers are big fans of What We Do in the Shadows, FX’s Emmy-nominated supernatural comedy series; S2 even made our year’s best TV list last year. FX just dropped the official trailer for the eagerly awaited third season. Even better, the network has given the show an early S4 renewal, so we’ll be getting plenty more undead shenanigans from our favorite band of bumbling bloodsuckers.
(Some spoilers for first two seasons below.)
As I’ve written previously, Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement wrote, directed, and starred in the original 2014 horror-comedy, playing vampire roommates Vladislav (Clement) and Viago (Waititi) in Wellington, New Zealand. Given their nocturnal nature, they and their vampire friends haven’t adapted to modern life particularly well, and their mishaps as they struggle to navigate mundane trivialities in the 21st century are the source of much of the film’s deadpan humor.
The FX adaptation is set in New York City’s Staten Island. The vampire roommates are Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Laszlo (Matt Berry), his lover Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), and their human “familiar” Guillermo (Harvey Guillen), as well as an “energy vampire” named Colin (Mark Proksch). Over two seasons, they’ve feuded with werewolves; tried to hang out with the cool Manhattan vampires; and attended their first Super Bowl party (believing it to be a “Superb Owl” party). Mark Hamill had a cameo in S2 as a vengeful vampire named Jim. And who could forget Colin the energy vampire figuring out that he could engage in online trolling and consume negative energy virtually?
Inasmuch as there’s been an overall narrative arc, it stems from the fact that our four vampire protagonists are pretty much outcasts in the vampire community. S1 opened with the roommates preparing for the arrival of an ancient vampire called The Baron, whom they accidentally killed by exposing him to sunlight, thereby incurring the wrath of the Vampire Council. And Guillermo eventually discovered that he is secretly a descendent of Van Helsing, the infamous vampire slayer.
In the S2 finale, Guillermo revealed his vampire slaying abilities by slaughtering a ton of vampires at the Nouveau Théâtre des Vampires. He did so in order to save the lives of his vampire housemates who had been captured and sentenced to death by the Council. There’s bound to be some repercussions from that. Per the official S3 synopsis:
After the shocking season two finale, we find the housemates in a panic about what to do with Guillermo after discovering that he is a vampire killer. This season, the vampires are elevated to a new level of power and will encounter the vampire from which all vampires have descended, a tempting Siren, gargoyles, werewolf kickball, Atlantic City casinos, wellness cults, ex-girlfriends, gyms, and supernatural curiosities galore. Plus, Colin Robinson is turning 100. And Nandor, faced with his own eternal-life crisis, tries to inject his life with more meaning. Will he find love or is he destined to be an immortal bachelor with 37 ex-wives?
You’d think that the vampire crew would be sufficiently grateful to Guillermo to grant him his dearest wish and finally make him a vampire, too. But alas, once again Guillermo’s hopes seem to be dashed. (They still don’t know he’s a descendant of Van Helsing, either.) The vampires find that they are now in charge of the Vampiric Council, sparking a competition between Nandor and Nadja over who will get to sit on the throne as Supreme Leader.
Mostly, the trailer gives us a taste of the usual shenanigans, such as the vampires learning about vacuum cleaners and escalators. (“What is happening? Am I flying?” Nadja exclaims.) A wintry game of werewolf kickball gets interrupted when all the werewolves chase after a passing car, Nandor accidentally sets Colin on fire, and Nandor apparently wins big at the casino, shouting “Bazinga!” in jubilation.
As for S4, executive producer Paul Simms told Deadline Hollywood that it will explore Guillermo’s lineage even more. “In S4 Episode 4, you’re going to meet all of Guillermo’s family in a way that makes him very anxious,” said Simms. “We’ll learn that if he has Van Helsing DNA, then so does the rest of his family even though they might not realize it themselves. But we haven’t even shot that yet. We’ll also learn in S4 that Guillermo is feeling the effects of having dedicated ten years of his life to these vampires and neglecting his family and his responsibilities to them and how he tries to make amends for that.”
The first two episodes of What We Do in the Shadows S3 premiere on FX on September 2, 2021, with next-day streaming on Hulu. Expect S4 to debut sometime next year.
Listing image by YouTube/FX