TV: What We Do In The Shadows, BBC Two

shadows bbc2

Five years after the brilliant movie version of What We Do In The Shadows, we get the TV spin-off. And it's definitely a comedy to get your teeth into as once again we follow the lives of a group of vampires living a dull, suburban life together.

The only real difference here, apart from the cast which we will come to, is the location. The setting this time round is a Staten Island house. The vampires in question presumably arrived by ferry from Transylvania etc and didn't venture very far.

As for the cast of immortals, this is an American FX production but it boasts a lot of familiar faces from UK television. Matt Berry – relatively subdued compared to Toast of London – plays Laszlo, the most handsome man in his village (though admittedly everybody had leprosy). Nadja is played by Natasia Demetriou from Stath Lets Flats. And former Ottoman warror Nandor – which sounds a little too close to Nandos to me – is played by Fonejacker's Kayvan Novak. There is also nerdy modern vampire Colin, played by Mark Proksch from Better Call Saul, who I think bores his victims to death. Harvey Guillen (pictured between Novak and Berry) plays their non-fangy servant Guillermo.

The opening episode, written by Flight of the Conchords' Jemaine Clement, is a lot of fun as we watch them go about their daily lives while also making sure they get their regular fix of blood. The setting might be dark – their master visiting from the old country is certainly a bit creepy – but the tone is mostly very light. The mood occasionally has an echo of those old Big Train sketches where an unlikely character like Satan is seen doing something extremely banal like shopping in the supermarket.

The format is spoof documentary. Imagine a cross between The Addams Family and Parks and Recreation. There are plenty of good lines too. House leader Nandor explains that his full name is Nandor The Relentless, because he, erm, never relents. At one point he tells his housemates off about the half-drunk people around the place: "Finish a whole victim before moving on to the next one."

If you liked the movie directed by Taika Waititi, you'll love the TV version. And if you didn't like the movie. Well, you should probably still love the TV version. It definitely doesn't suck. It's clearly a concept that refuses to die.

What We Do In The Shadows, Sundays from May 19, BBC Two, 9.45pm

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