It took a little while for What We Do in the Shadows to escape the shadow of its feature film progenitor. The first season presented a similar framework as the movie – a mockumentary/The Office setup that followed around of vampires – but had to slowly build up its own cast of characters. After a few episodes, the series established its own identity and what it wanted to do with these characters and their world. Now, What We Do in the Shadows season two hits the ground running with confidence and an even bigger net to cast on supernatural shenanigans. And it’s a riot.
The personalities of the main cast have been cemented and What We Do in the Shadows season two allows them to dig a little deeper into themselves. One episode does this in a really clever and goofy way that I won’t spoil, but suffice to say that the show isn’t resting on its goofball laurels. Season two knows that it needs to keep developing these oddballs into more than just one-note jokes. The way it achieves that development is measured and thoughtful while never sacrificing any of the humor.
One of the best things about What We Do in the Shadows as a television show has been its desire to craft a larger paranormal universe for these vampires exist in. The first season did so by broadening the scope of vampire society, and season two continues that mandate by exploring even more corners in this world. The two premiere episodes deal with necromancers, zombies, and ghosts while putting their own unique and humorous spin on them. It’ll be great to see what other horror tropes the show will play with.
If there is one issue with season two, it’s the same minor issue that the first season had: the show is so fluffy at heart that it lacks a lot of real drama. That means it’s never an unpleasant or boring watch, but larger arcs like Guillermo’s vampire killer heritage don’t always hit with the weight they might deserve. What We Do in the Shadows season 2 doesn’t seem to have larger dramatic aspirations and that’s fine, but now that we’ve spent an entire season with these characters, their conflicts and emotional moments should sometimes be more than just a cute joke or minorly heartwarming.
Even so, it never prevents What We Do in the Shadows season two from making you laugh. The improv nature of the ensemble has only gotten stronger in season two. Of particular note is Natasia Demetriou as Nadja who gets a new friend that is too great to reveal here. And thanks to the first season’s warm reception, you can expect more surprising guest stars to make appearances throughout the season. This show is a smorgasbord of on-screen talent and it’s only gotten better in season two.
And though this is a show that attempts to come off as somewhat grounded in its filmmaking style, the supernatural elements and effects continue to be impressive for such a small-scale television production. Creator Jemaine Clement understands the over-the-top appeal to these many horror concepts and has fun with them from an effects standpoint. Again, it’s still being achieved on a relatively low budget, but that almost makes What We Do in the Shadows season two more commendable considering the limitations this show is working with.
What We Do in the Shadows season two is more of what you’d expect after the first season, but that’s not at all a bad thing when it comes to this show. It’s consistently funny thanks to clever writing and a razor-sharp cast, and the show doesn’t lack ambition in regards to playing around with its genre trappings. Though it’s all in service of lighthearted silliness, it’s always guaranteed to hit its funnybone target. Considering everything we’re dealing with in the world today, some effective silliness might be what we all need right now.