Just when we thought the mockumentary TV format was dead and buried, What We Do in the Shadows came along to dig up that coffin. The horror-comedy series, which was inspired by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s 2014 movie, follows a group of vampires — Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Laszlo (Matt Berry), Nadia (Natasia Demetriou), energy vampire Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), and wannabe vampire-turned-bodyguard Guillermo (Harvey Guillen) — as they strive to dominate the human world while struggling to get along as roommates in Staten Island, New York, in the process.
Over the course of three seasons, the FX comedy has brilliantly mined genre lore and horror tropes to bring to life these characters and the world they reside in. While we wait to see what insidious antics the Vampire Council has up its sleeves or how the gang will persevere in season 4 after the events of the season 3 finale, sink your fangs into these 10 genre comedies that will surely quench your What We Do in the Shadows thirst.
Los Espookys is a comedy series that follows a small business devoted to creating spine-chilling events for the most discerning horror enthusiast. And it’s primarily in Spanish (but with English subtitles). That’s an important detail here, considering the visibility the program has achieved by streaming on HBO Max. Each episode follows Renaldo and his friends Úrsula (the events coordinator), Tati (the assistant), and Andrés, who, aside from assisting with the business, is also heir to a chocolate empire and doesn’t have all the answers to his mysterious past. Oh, and one more thing: Saturday Night Live and Portlandia alum Fred Armisen shows up in multiple episodes as Renaldo’s delightful parking valet uncle, Tico. Need we say more?
Where to watch: HBO Max, 1 season
Evil Dead franchise creators Sam Raimi, producing partner Rob Tapert, and genre icon Bruce Campbell did something many fans never thought would happen: they got the band back together. Tapping into the zany, gory madness of the original movie trilogy (which came to an end with 1992’s Army of Darkness), the group set its sights on television to continue the story of boomstick-wielding lothario, Ash Williams. The result was 2015’s Ash vs. Evil Dead. Bringing viewers up to speed on Williams’ life, all these years later, we’re met with a broken hero, traumatized by his legendary Deadite battles. Thanks to the introduction of two unlikely sidekicks — Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) and Pablo (Ray Santiago) — Ash must reckon with his past while taking up the bloody mantle once again to stop the forces of evil from destroying the world as we know it. Groovy.
What do you get when you cross the comedic sensibilities of Reno 911! with the sci-fi mystery of The X-Files and the signature wit of What We Do in the Shadows? Wellington Paranormal, that’s what. Hailing from Waititi and Clement, the show follows members of this quirky police force as they investigate cases of the supernatural kind. While this should absolutely be considered a spin-off from the original What We Do in the Shadows movie, the program is its own beast, entirely. Where the FX series uses subtle timing, and subdued humor to deliver the laughs, Wellington Paranormal doesn’t at all shy away from going big with its tone and pacing. And that’s a good thing.
Ghosts tells the story of Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) and Mike Cooper (Kiell Smith-Bynoe), a young couple living in London, who are striving to save up enough to buy their first home. As luck would have it, Alison discovers she’s inherited a grand (albeit dilapidated) country estate named the Button House. The ultimate plan, as it is soon revealed, is to turn the rundown property into a hotel. But, situations like these can often reveal themselves as too good to be true. While the property is definitely hers, the British series quickly reveals that Button House is haunted. Like, extremely haunted. Just, full-on jam-packed with ghosts. The series concept proved so hilarious, an American remake hit CBS in 2021 and, at the time of this writing, is Fresh at 94% on the Tomatometer. The U.S. version is available to stream on Paramount+.
Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and Joel (Timothy Olyphant) are living out the American dream. They’re an attractive married couple, running a successful real estate business, while raising their self-assured daughter Abbey (Liv Hewson) in beautiful Santa Clarita, California. Things are perfect — that is, until Sheila is bitten by a zombie and begins going through some major life changes. As Sheila’s thirst for blood (and brains) escalates, and her violent tendencies escalate, her demeanor and overall perspective on life are transformed for the better. Funny how that happens. Ever the supportive husband, Joel does everything in his power to keep his wife’s secret safe. While also, you know, making sure her gruesome need for human meat are met. The end result is a quirky, bloody, send-up of the zombie genre that’ll leave you fiending for more.
Where to watch: Netflix, 3 seasons
It’s tough to categorize Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace. It’s a soap opera, a hospital drama, a horror series, and a comedy. More specifically, it’s a parody of all of the above. Lasting just one season, the gist of the program’s show-in-a-show narrative presents the audience with fake celebrated horror auteur Garth Marenghi (played by Matthew Holness), who provides stone-faced commentary in each episode of a retrospective special celebrating a fake 1980s TV show called, “Darkplace.” And in case you were wondering, Marenghi didn’t just write and direct each episode, but also starred in the series, adding layers upon layers of absurdity to the mix. The cult hit throws everything at the wall to see what sticks, and the sight gags, genre-specific jokes, and deliberate campiness of the acting all land in a spectacularly fun way. Let’s be clear here: “Darkplace” is a bad show but with the help of talent like Matt Berry, Richard Ayoade, Stephen Merchant, and Noel Fielding, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace is a viewing experience worth having.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, 1 season
What if Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Chuck had a baby? Reaper would be that baby. The series, which began airing during the early days of The CW (long before the Arrowverse and Archie took over the network), follows Sam (Bret Harrison), an unassuming slacker dude, who discovers on his 21st birthday that, before he was born, his parents sold his soul to the Devil (Ray Wise). He ends up leaving his normal life behind to work as a Reaper, tracking down souls for Satan like a supernatural accountant. Bret taps his besties Bert (Tyler Labine) and Ben (Rick Gonzalez) for support throughout his bonkers adventures while continuing to show up for his Home Depot-like day job where he regularly pines for co-worker Andi (Missy Peregrym). Reaper is the type of show that immediately brings on that mid-00s nostalgia. Because sometimes, you just need some low-stakes spooky fun to get you through the night.
Where to watch: ABC, 2 seasons
Frequent collaborators Nick Frost and Simon Pegg reunited for a ghost-hunting comedy series on Amazon Prime Video. Frost appears as Gus, an internet company technician with a side gig as a paranormal investigator and a father-in-law (Malcolm McDowell) who complicates Gus’ relatively simple life. Gus’ boss David (Simon Pegg), PI protege Elton (Samson Kayo), his agoraphobic sister Helen (Susan Wokoma), and Astrid (Emma D’Arcy), a woman haunted by ghosts, round out Gus’ shaky circle of trust. Kelly MacDonald is mysterious paranormal informant “Jojo74.” The Critics Consensus? “Truth Seekers is genuinely eerie, balancing out its silly sensibilities with creeping terror and a scary talented cast.”
Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, 1 season
When living in a small town, people tend to talk. And for cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), the talking never seems to stop. You see, she has this odd ability to read the minds of people around her. The gossip mill speeds up when Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), a 173-year-old vampire, walks broodingly into her life. Swept up in a whirlwind romance, Sookie is suddenly immersed in the supernatural world around her — one filled with vampire politics, overbearing werewolves, surprising shapeshifters, and even fairies. If it sounds outlandish, that’s sort of the point. Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball is the one who brought the program to life, tapping into the story and characters originally made famous in Charlaine Harris’s popular book series.
Where to watch: HBO Max, 7 seasons
John C. McGinley (Scrubs) taps into loads of curmudgeonly rage as Stan Miller, a small-town sheriff with an attitude problem. His anger issues end up leading Stan to rock bottom. Handing in his gun and badge would’ve been the worst day of his life if it weren’t for the unforeseen evil lurking beneath the town. An unlikely team-up with Evie Barret (Janet Varney), the new sheriff in town, puts Stan back in a position of power. What are they fighting against? Well, as it turns out, their sleepy little New Hampshire town was built on a massive 17th-century witch burning site. Now, a whole slew of witches, demons, and other such hell-beasts have returned to wreak havoc. Will they be any match for Stan’s crotchety temper? Probably not.