The film was there first, or so they occasionally say. What We Do In The Shadows, the series created by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, was inspired by their 2014 film with the same title. Both the show and the film are excellent and witty mockumentaries. However, the series has something more; one badass female vampire, Nadja (Natasia Demetriou).
The viewers receive an unusual and entertaining insight into the vampires’ life in What We Do In The Shadows. And let me tell you: their lifestyle can be very similar to the human one. Alongside the camera crew, the audience follows Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Laszlo (Matt Berry), Nadja, and energy vampire, Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch). The vampires have lived with each other for over a hundred years on Staten Island. In each episode, we observe their night life and unusual adventures. When they don’t attend the “Superb Owl,” they get in troubles and are (more often than not) saved by Nandor’s familiar, Guillermo (Harvey Guillén).
Demetriou is the perfect choice to play Nadja. Every line from Nadja’s mouth elicits a wave of laughter. This Gothic, emo-ish vampire with ruby red lipstick and impeccable Victorian style is not merely hilarious. She’s also the only one with a clear(-ish) head. When animal control kidnaps Nandor and Laszlo (yes, after the shapeshifting), Nadja is the one to rescue them. She’s ruthlessly honest, incredibly sarcastic, and caring in her own way. When the male vampires don’t listen, almost everything turns out as she predicted.
One of the best parts of her gumptious personality is her past, and Nadja isn’t afraid of talking about it. Demetriou’s character is of Romani heritage. Her life wasn’t luxurious at all; on the contrary she was impoverished. The woman openly admitted that she and her relatives “had to burn donkey dong and then donkey, too,” to stay warm. It’s the most ludicrous story you’ve ever heard. But the serious tone of Nadja and her stoic attitude while telling the story has the audience laughing at all times.
Every scene or monologue she delivers is spot-on and hysterical. In one episode, she looks for the necklace that apparently contains her mothers’ screams. Said jewelry was supposedly stolen from her by older lady Joan. Now Joan now lives next door. During the Super Bowl (Or Superb Owl as the vampires call it), the neighbor instantly recognizes Nadja. The vampire tries to play it off in front of the other guests. Still, when the camera team is alone with Nadja, the truth resurfaces:
Oh yeah, everything she’s saying is completely true. Sean’s mother, Joannie, grew up right here in this house. We used to have so much fun together. I used to pin her to the ceiling for hours.
Another great part of her character, which makes Nadja one of the best protagonists, is her relationship with Laszlo. As we all know, a lasting marriage needs a little variety from time to time and, if you live with someone a long time, the arguments justhappen. I live for the bitter rows between Laszlo and Nadja. They have a variety of marriage quarrels and then complain about it to the camera. Their bond and uniqueness have a feeling of Santa Clarita Diet‘s Sheila and Joel (zombies, vampires, marriage).
Nadja talks to Laszlo about anything and everything. The topics are various, like babies, for example:
If Laszlo and I were to ever have a child, I wish he’d look like him (points to baby armadillo). Small and hard.
Or sex life:
Do you remember that first time we made love? It was so passionate, I accidentally cut off your head.
The pair even formed a band together. In the episode “Collaboration,” we discover that the songs we all know were actually written long ago by Nadja and Laszlo. Their repertoire includes “Chum on Irene” (1852), a tribute to Laszlo’s local fishmonger’s wife, which we all know as “Come on Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners.
Nadja is an independent, multi-dimensional character. Although called “lady wife” by her spouse, Demetriou’s role is so much more than that. She is an integral part to each episode. Nadja has her own style, own way of life, and unique ventures. She equally stands her ground amongst the male vampires. The undead woman is never diminished or patronized. Her story is as valid as others. And as we have seen many vampire-themed stories, I have never experienced vampires portrayed so humanly. Nadja adds flavor to What We Do In The Shadows. Demetriou is unquestionably remarkable in this role, almost as if she was born to play Nadja.
If you’ve never seen What We Do In The Shadows, and you want to watch the characters’ lives like in The Office, but with fangs, you can’t miss it any more. Especially if you like gothic themes, Victorian style, and vampires. Don’t forget about the vampires.