The following is a review of the first three episodes of Season 5 of What We Do In The Shadows,
Ever since streaming became the primary method of entertainment consumption, television comedies are, more often than not, cancelled prematurely. A significant contributing factor is that studios no longer allow them the time they need to find their footing. In an age where TV needs to capture audiences’ immediate attention, What We Do In The Shadows‘ fifth season proves how vital it is to give comedies a chance, as it’s by far their funniest season to date.
As with many celebrated sitcoms from television history, What We Do in the Shadows (WWDITS) has only improved with every new season. Based on the cult classic Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement comedy of the same name, WWDITS follows the hijinks of a different cast of vampires, this time from Staten Island, and their human familiar, Guillermo (Harvey Guillén). When the show started in 2019, it was certainly funny but relied too heavily on its source material’s dry tone instead of finding its own. However, as the cast and creative team became more comfortable with the world and the characters, it has quickly become one of the funniest shows on-air.
Last season concluded with Guillermo going behind the back of his master, Nandor the Relentless (Kayvan Novak), to another vampire so he could finally become one himself. Since the pilot, Guillermo has been obsessed with wanting to become a vampire and the writers have brilliantly treated it as the series “will they, won’t they” storyline. Because of this, fan expectations are understandibly high going into Season 5, and they will not be disappointed.
Season 5 handles this crucial storyline with care and inventiveness. Rather than simply having Guillermo come clean to Nandor, Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), and Laszlo (Matt Berry) about his transition, the show introduces a new piece of lore: that only the vampiric master they serve can turn a familiar or else it will bring great shame to that vampire.
What helps sell this new information is the committed and hysterical performances of the entire cast. While the writers have never formally introduced it to the audience, you believe it when Nandor, Nadja, and Laszlo recoil with disgust and shame after Guillermo floats the idea of being turned by another vampire. This new layer ends up reinventing and refreshing an almost played-out story into something just as unique as it was when the series first began.
Episode 1 picks up after the documentary crew forces Guillermo to reveal to them what happened the night he went to Derek (Chris Sandiford) for help; the show gets lots of mileage out of showing the jumps and hoops he has to go through to hide his new secret from the gang. The fact that Guillermo’s transition into a bloodsucker isn’t traditional, as it takes effect slowly and somewhat disturbingly for the viewer, only adds to the hilarity. It also provides fun new dynamics between characters not explored in previous seasons, like with Guillermo and Laszlo, who is by far the season’s stand-out.
Another thing What We Do in the Shadows continues to do masterfully compared to other sitcoms is its unique ability to seamlessly switch between different comedy styles. In the first 3 episodes alone, Season 5 has stellar physical, political, heartfelt, shocking, and plain old silly comedy that will leave you crying from laughter. Fan favourite long-running gags and characters like Nadja’s ancestor-possessed doll and energy vampire Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) also get hysterical new storylines that prove there are still endless hijinks in store for these ancient hooligans. Ultimately, Season 5 of WWDITS is by far the most hilarious, goriest, and satisfying one yet; there’s no doubt the rest of the season will be just as bloody good of a time.
New episodes of What We Do in the Shadows air Thursdays at 10 pm ET on FX.