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Monday, July 10, 2023

What We Do in the Shadows Season 5 Review FXs Vampire Comedy Still Feels as Fresh as Ever

Trips to the mall, pride parades, and political aspirations keep Staten Island’s most unique undead busy with a strong season of supernatural soul-searching.

“People can be real parasites…”

The vampires in What We Do in the Shadows are hundreds of years old and while the audience has only been privy to a minuscule fraction of their existence, it’s funny how five seasons can begin to feel like an eternity. Five seasons can be a crucial period for any television series, let alone one that benefits from the limitless nature of vampires and other paranormal creatures, where what worked in the past now wears thin. After four full seasons, What We Do in the Shadows has already touched upon and remixed all of the mainstream vampire tropes. A less confident series would return to the comfort of what’s previously worked, like the safety of a coffin, but What We Do in the Shadows fearlessly forges forward with newfound enthusiasm. This latest season is a satisfying reminder of what made the show successful in the first place, but it also strives to build new relationships and character dynamics through bold, serialized storylines. What We Do in the Shadows’ characters are at their oldest and beginning to show their age, yet this season feels fresher than ever.

It’s difficult for any series to feel fresh five seasons in and What We Do in the Shadows deserves credit for how much these episodes disrupt the status quo. This season is particularly confident when it comes to finding new scenarios for these characters to explore instead of just a retread of what’s worked in the past. A group trip to the mall, for instance, is a playful, low stakes way to kick off the season that’s both familiar and fresh. The same can be said for the vampires’ exposure to a Pride Parade or a night out drinking “with the boys,” and the wild tangents that are born out of this mundanity.

One of this seasons’ greatest strengths is its ability to find new ways to surprise audiences, especially when it feels like the show is about to retread old ideas. This might be What We Do in the Shadows’ most genuinely vicious season. There are some extreme displays of violence that translate into absurd sight gags that feel like a response to the show’s mission to continually top itself. It’s a new element that works well and one that might have felt too cold in the show’s earlier seasons, even if a black sense of humor has always been in What We Do in the Shadows’ DNA.

This season of What We Do in the Shadows challenges itself and its genre in major ways, but this compulsion to prove oneself also carries over into every character. This is most prominent with Guillermo’s struggles to accept whether he’s finally worthy of the vampire label, but also in Colin’s quest to prove himself in office, Laszlo’s acceptance of his subpar hypnosis skills, or The Guide and Nadja’s revelation that they do deserve female friendship. Some of these breakthroughs come across as glib. Nevertheless, it’s still powerful to see these vampires get a better hold on existence and what it means to live their best lives, even if they’ve been dead for centuries. 

What We Do In The Shadows Season 5 Nadja Build-A-Bear Workshop

What We Do in the Shadows continues to double-down on Guillermo and his arc is definitely the most dynamic this season. He physically experiences the greatest changes and this season is all about him proving if he can make it as a vampire, whether he is one or not, and what a privilege that title holds. Guillermo’s metamorphosis is a fun subversion of his existing power dynamic that allows his relationship with vampirism, self esteem, and friends to continue to develop even if it still recycles the same broader ideas. Guillermo faces the ultimate betrayal and this relationship grows more complicated than ever.

Guillermo’s struggle isn’t made public, yet Nadja finds herself at a similar crossroads once she investigates a hex in her present that has ties to her family and her neglected past. Nadja’s Doll also returns in a very satisfying manner and this season gives her some of her best material in the series. It’s continually amusing how strong of a combination she and Nadja are, especially when they’re out in public. This season pushes their bond to incestuous new supernatural places. Oddly enough, Nadja’s pursuits tie together with Colin’s decision to find purpose through politics. 

Colin’s bid for Staten Island comptroller is a fun way to complicate the season and riff on the past. It’s a move that’s reminiscent of Nadja’s vampire club or the group’s efforts to take over the Vampiric Council. This leads to unique use of Colin that feels distinctly different from the Baby Colin shenanigans that took over season four. Colin’s energy vampire antics also lead to an exceptional sequence where he’s put on trial by the grander energy vampire bureau. This interlude includes truly sublime casting that’s made up of some of the wettest blankets in comedy.

The core cast’s chemistry remains effortless, but it’s encouraging to see relationships further evolve through fresh pairings. This season gets a lot of mileage out of Guillermo and Laszlo’s interactions, as well as Colin- and Nadja-driven stories. No combination of characters in What We Do in the Shadows is a disappointment. However, the series prides itself in its experiments to see what unexplored dynamics might work. This season even brings back some familiar faces who haven’t been seen in years, but to great effect and in a manner that feels justified. All of the episodes’ scripts are as sharp as ever, but Marika Sawyer and Paul Simms really deliver standout work. The dialogue never feels lazy even if certain storylines don’t necessarily pop or feel derivative of the past.

What We Do in the Shadows Season Five

What We Do in the Shadows remains deeply comical, but this season also digs into thought-provoking and emotional conflicts for the cast. The inherent loneliness of these characters has been baked into the series from the start, but these new episodes reflect upon some heavy betrayals–particularly when it comes to Guillermo and Nandor–that explores imposter syndrome and a paranormal peer pressure that’s snuck up on Guillermo all series. It’s really smart to transform Guillermo’s journey to become a vampire into a coming of age narrative where he better understands himself and his body. Some of these developments do seem to come at the expense of seasons’ worth of vampire hunter character building. However, this feels like the right obstacle for Guillermo to overcome before he’s finally able to embrace a new life as his best self. 

The ambivalence behind having everything at one’s disposal also triggers some compelling introspective material this season from Kristen Schaal’s The Guide, who experiences her own mid-afterlife crisis, so to speak. It’s funny that so much of this season involves The Guide’s efforts to indoctrinate herself in the vampires’ clique and become their official fifth member, but Anthony Atamanuik’s Sean becomes much more of a natural supporting player this season without even trying. This season leans on Sean a lot more, which pays off and finds greater value in this odd relationship. If anything, this season proves that everyone is just waiting for their moment to shine.

Five seasons in, What We Do in the Shadows proves that it still has lots of life coursing through its veins and plenty more to say. This is encouraging considering that a sixth season has already been guaranteed. It’s entirely possible that this vampire comedy will remain this sharp after six seasons, but it’s likely time for What We Do in the Shadows to begin to consider its eternal twilight before it finally feels ancient. What We Do in the Shadows has all of the ingredients to be an all-time comedy classic thanks to consistent storytelling and committed performances. Here’s hoping that it doesn’t stay out too late and burn up in the harsh light of day.

Editor’s Note: This review is based on the first four episodes of Season 5.

‘What We Do in the Shadows’ Season 5 premieres July 13th on FX with back-to-back episodes, and next day airing on Hulu.

The post “What We Do in the Shadows” Season 5 Review – FX’s Vampire Comedy Still Feels as Fresh as Ever appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3768414/what-we-do-in-the-shadows-season-5-review-fxs-vampire-comedy-still-feels-as-fresh-as-ever/

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