How 'What We Do In The Shadows' Transformed The Cult Movie Into A New, Hilarious Show

John P Johnson/FX

Five years after charming fans with a hilarious vampire spoof, What We Do In The Shadows is heading back to screen — no, not with a remake or sequel, but as a TV series. Premiering on FX March 27, the What We Do In the Shadows show changes the movie by adding new characters and a new cast. After the first episode, it may seem like a relatively similar story, but as the season gets going, the series starts to follow its own path.

Both the show and the movie are wry mockumentaries about vampire roommates from executive producers Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement. The aesthetic is the same — down to the costumes and the style of artwork used to depict the vampires — and Norma Latenga's "You're Dead" serves as the theme song for both the film and the series. The rules of vampirism are also the same, and there are definitely parallels between the new and old characters. Much like Deacon's familiar, Jackie, in the film, Nandor's familiar, Guillermo, is desperate to be turned. The familiars collect victims for the house (preferably virgins). And like Nick in the original film, a new vampire is sired in Season 1.

However, there's a female vampire in the FX series, and overall more diversity. The movie takes place in Wellington, New Zealand, while the show is set in Staten Island, New York. And though the pilot episode will feel familiar to fans of the movie, after that, What We Do In The Shadows begins to tell a variety of new stories. Here's how the two stack up.

The Mission

John P Johnson/FX

The original film centers around preparations for a party that the vampire flatmates are attending. The vampires in the series, on the other hand, are preparing for a loftier goal — conquering the New World... or, at least, Staten Island. One party will not be enough.

A New Kind Of Vampire

John P Johnson/FX

There's also a new kind of supernatural creature in the TV adaptation. Colin, the fourth roommate, is an energy vampire and daywalker. An energy vampire drains people by being dull, ordinary, and annoying. Colin's favorite places are city council meetings, offices with cubicles... you get the picture. Fans of Waititi's Team Thor short films know just how much the filmmaker loves to eke humor out of the mundane.


Episode 3 is titled "Werewolf Feud" and the episode description teases that "the fragile truce between the vampires and Staten Island’s werewolves is tested." The werewolves in the original film, lead by Rhys Darby (pictured above), are particularly memorable. It'll be interesting to see whether or not Staten Island's werewolves are anything like them.

It's possible that the original characters from What We Do In The Shadows could one day appear on the FX series, but for now there's new ground to cover and stories to tell. Any other similarities will reveal themselves as the show goes on. Much like Viago, Deacon, and Vladislav are in Wellington, the Staten Island housemates Nadja, Nandor, Laszlo, and Colin are just trying to live their vampire lives — and What We Do In The Shadows documents that in all of its hilariously banal glory.