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Series / What We Do in the Shadows (2019)

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"The problems with living with other vampires are the vampires I have chosen to stay with."

What We Do in the Shadows is a horror sitcom Spin-Off of the film of the same name, airing on FX, with heavy involvement from the film's creators Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. The first season premiered in March 2019, with season 2 following in April 2020. The show has since been renewed each year, with the fifth season airing in July 2023. All seasons can be watched on Hulu, and the first three seasons can be purchased on Amazon Prime Video.

Like the film, the show is a Mockumentary which follows the lives of a group of vampires living together and their antics as they struggle to understand and adapt to the modern mortal world. Instead of taking place in New Zealand, though, the show jumps to Staten Island, New York. There are four vampires: Nandor the Relentless (Kayvan Novak), a former warlord from the Ottoman Empire, Nadja of Antipaxos (Natasia Demetriou), a Greek peasant woman, Laszlo Cravensworth (Matt Berry), an English nobleman and Nadja's husband/progeny, and Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), a day-walking psychic vampire, all living together in a commune. Assisting them is Guillermo (Harvey Guillén), Nandor's familiar whom Nandor has promised to turn into a vampire someday. Maybe.

Not to be confused with the trope What You Are in the Dark.

What We Do in the Shadows the show provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Aborted Arc: Jenna was obviously supposed to be a bigger part of the show in the first season as the gang's off-kilter vampiric progeny struggling to adjust to her new unlife. However, Beanie Feldstein couldn't commit enough time to the series, so her character just drops out of the plot. She's only briefly referenced in the second season when her college roommate joins a gang of vampire-hunters.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Laszlo and Nadja tend to call Guillermo "Gizmo".
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Arjan, Arj Barker's character, jumps out a window in Episode Three to escape the vampires. Similarily, Dave, Arj Barker's character in Flight of the Conchords, jumps out a window to avoid the police.
    • In "The Trial", the Vampire Council is populated by a bunch of actors who have previously played vampires. These include three of the vampires from the original What We Do in the Shadows film. The other actors are Tilda Swinton (Only Lovers Left Alive), Paul Reubens (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Danny Trejo (From Dusk Till Dawn), Evan Rachel Wood (True Blood), and Wesley Snipes (Blade). The allusion is especially driven home by the actors looking like their respective characters (most notable with Swinton and Reubens's hair). The vampire council also mentions Robert, Tom and Brad, and Kiefer.
    • In "The Portrait", Lazlo can be heard playing the first few notes of a certain tv series theme on the piano.
    • In " The Campaign", Nadja introduces Lazlo to the people of Little Antipaxos she has recently befriended. They end up believing he is the reincarnation of a spirit that is known for being a pompous, perverted oaf that brings good luck called "King of Pigs". Matt Berry voiced Mercimer in Disenchantment, who is a prince that gets turned into a pig and is also as much of a pompous, perverted oaf as Lazlo.
  • Actually Not a Vampire: Played with.
    Nandor: Stop it, Guillermo. Only vampires get to do that.
    Guillermo: Sorry, master.
  • Adam Westing: Donal Logue appears as himself, a working Hollywood actor who got turned into a vampire after playing one in Blade. He's an affable and somewhat daffy chatterbox who loves to paint. The vampires find him a little annoying.
  • Affably Evil: The vampires are murderous, bloodsucking monsters, but that doesn't stop them from being lovable goofballs.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: The ancient vampires have chosen for some reason to live in a middle-class neighborhood on Staten Island. In one episode, Laszlo goes into hiding in Clairton, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh.
  • All Myths Are True:
    • Based on Blade, Jenna thinks all she and Nadja have to do to watch the sun is wear a sun proof motorcycle helmet. She is wrong.
    • Guillermo initially tries to deny the existence of Van Helsing the vampire hunter by claiming that he's made up, but after thinking over it, he reluctantly comes to the conclusion that Van Helsing must have existed as correlation to his accidental vampire murders.
    • When discussing vampire traits, Colin brings up the myth of vampires being compelled to count any grains of rice that are spilled before them. Laszlo initially believes that the myth is untrue, but upon testing, he himself can’t resist counting the rice.
  • All There in the Script: If Arjan's name is mentioned in his debut episode, it's a blink-and-you'll-miss it thing. However, the iTunes subtitles consistently refer to him by name. Inverted with Chad, who is named in the episode but is credited (and, thus, likely appeared in the script) as "Preppy Werewolf".
  • All Trolls Are Different: Colin Robinson runs afoul of one while feeding through trolling online. Even though trolling him back is what instigated their confrontation in person, the troll in question ironically finds the term offensive. He looks like the conventional large, brutish humanoid, with the most notable fact being he's naked, with a head height pixelated crotch. He also turns to stone in daylight like most interpretations.
  • Almost Famous Name: Wesley Sykes, of the Leatherskins.
  • Apple of Discord: Season 3 introduces a plot where only one of them can become Supreme Leader of the Vampiric Council of the local New York area, with all but Laszlo (he immediately opts out of his responsibilities since it would take time away from sex and dismisses the others as idiots for wanting the position), vying for the seat. Nadja and Nandor are the most ambitious and scheme against each other to secure the job. Nadja ultimately wins out simply because Nandor becomes too depressed to care.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Nadja is the only vampire in the household who believes in ghosts, something lampshaded by Guillermo coming from vampires he's personally witnessed werewolves, babadooks, necromancers and zombies with.
    Nandor: (to the camera) Ghosts are the stuff of fairytales. Stories we tell children to frighten out their excess energy so that they might slumber more peacefully.
    Guillermo: Huh.
    Nandor: (to Guillermo) ...Did you say something?
    Guillermo: I'm sorry; vampires are real, but ghosts are not?
    Nandor: (to the camera) He's heard too many fairy stories from Nadja.
    Guillermo: No, I actually just want to make sure we're on the same page. Y'know, after years of working for you, a known vampire, I have seen werewolves, necromancers, a zombie, and several Babadooks... but a ghost, that's where we draw the line?
  • Artifact of Attraction: Laszlo's witch-skin hat. Simon and Laszlo can't stop fighting over it, despite the fact horrible things happen to anyone wearing it. It inspires so much obsession that Simon's entire cover story for weasling his way into the house to wrest the hat back from Laszlo, is that he was homeless and ruined from when the hat's curse caused his nightclub to blow up.
  • Artifact of Doom: Also Laszlo's witch-skin hat. Nadja mentions that it somehow caused the Irish Potato Famine, and just in that single episode, it causes Laszlo to fall through the floor and get his cape stuck in a taxi door, along with blowing up Simon's nightclub and stopping Guillermo's heart. In a later episode, Laszlo is hit by several vehicles in a row without hitting the ground while wearing the hat.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • Count Rapula says he has lived in New York for 300 years. The earliest known Asians to settle in New York City arrived in the 1830's, not even two-hundred years ago.
    • In the episode 'The Orgy', Laszlo plays one of his porno films, which is dated 1954. In it, one of his lines is 'I'm about to launch a Sputnik' despite Sputnik not being launched until 1957.
  • Artistic License – Law: In the episode "City Council," the vampires visit the Staten Island City Council, which does not exist. Staten Island is a borough of New York City, and, as such, is governed by the New York City Council, which meets in Manhattan. Staten Island also has only three members in the Council (out of 51).
    • Similarly, in "Pride Parade," Sean Rinaldi runs for Staten Island comptroller, an office that doesn't exist. The New York City comptroller's office has jurisdiction over all five boroughs.
  • Aside Glance: As traditional for a Mockumentary. Happens particularly often with Guillermo reacting to Nandor and Nadja reacting to Laszlo, though everyone gets their turn at some point.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The pilot makes it sound like the overall goal of the series is the vampires advancing the Baron's plot to conquer the New World, but after two episodes' worth of plot about their disastrous attempt to take over the Staten Island Borough Council, they mostly forget about it, and then the Baron dies at the end of episode 6 and this goal is never spoken of again.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: The Baron lost his genitals somewhere along the way. Nadja claims that he's always been like that, which is what made him such an ideal lover.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy:
    • Apparently, a number of well-known Hollywood actors who have previously portrayed vampires (including Tilda Swinton, Danny Trejo, and Wesley Snipes, just to name a few) are all themselves actual vampires.
    • Laszlo himself was Jack the Ripper.
    • Elvis is alive but a vampire.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • In episode 02x02 Nandor’s ghost speaks solely in untranslated Farsi. Approximately 90% is him demanding to know where his horse is, though he does get some digs at Nandor for no longer remembering the language.
    Nandor’s Ghost: ASPAM JAHAN
    • Also "Jahan" is a pretty epic Farsi name meaning "my world" or "my universe". It's not just the Persian version of John, which is how Nandor misremembers it.
    • Guillermo’s name in Spanish means “Resolute Protector”, which clues in the audience to his nature as a familiar. His full name is Guillermo de la Cruz, which in Spanish means “Resolute Protector of the Cross”—a nod to his Van Helsing ancestry and his budding slayer prowess. His last name isn’t brought up until the season two finale, after he slaughtered all of the vampires in the Theater to protect Nandor, Laszlo, Nadja and Colin Robinson.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the season two finale: sweet, pudgy, soft-spoken Guillermo, deducing the event the house vampires went to is a trap, leaps into action, storms a venue packed with vampires, slaughters a great whack of them and rescues Nandor, Laszlo, Nadja and Colin Robinson from certain death with his sick Van Helsing skills.
  • Black Comedy: Oh goodness yes. Special mention goes to Nadja and Laszlo killing a guy mid-air and inadvertently drenching his girlfriend below in almost a gallon of blood.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Like the original film, things such as bestiality, violence, and necrophilia are not inherently seen as wrong or right by the vampires.
  • The Bore: Colin invokes this, as he sustains himself on human boredom, and specializes in telling long, rambling, and ultimately pointless stories about either himself or very esoteric topics to his Victims. He's at his most powerful when be gets a promotion at work, rendering him too powerful to ignore.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Throughout the pilot episode, the vampires scold Guillermo to make absolutely certain that all the windows are securely boarded up before the Baron arrives to minimize the risk of sunlight getting in. Guillermo insists they’re all fine. The very last scene of the episode is one of the boards Guillermo put up falling down and letting in a beam of sunshine right on the Baron's coffin.
    • Since his introduction, Nadja has described the many ways her reincarnated lover Gregor Jeff in the modern day has been killed by beheading. The last episode reveals it was Laszlo who always kills him this way. Nadja begs for Laszlo to spare Jeff and he does. As Jeff drives away on a motorcycle, he drives under one of the unseen suspension wires Laszlo and Guillermo set up in the beginning of the episode, decapitating him again.
    • In season one, Laszlo, Nadja and Nandor warn of witches stealing a person's semen. Witches appear in season two, and guess what they try to steal from Laszlo and Nandor?
    • After failing to resurrect Topher properly, Wallace the Necromancer offers the gang free licence plate keychains. Collin notes that while they don't have his name, they do have some that say Condom... which Wallace admits is one of his best sellers. In the stinger for the episode, it's revealed that Wallace has been using the zombies he makes to run an underground sweatshop that makes the keychains. The zombies all repeat a single word over and over. Just as the screen fades to black, one can be heard saying "Condom."
    • Laszlo's cursed witch-skin hat is introduced in the fourth episode of season one, in which Simon the Devious attempts to steal it. Simon attempts to steal the hat again in the seventh episode of season two, in which he exploits Nadja's sympathy to worm his way into the vampires' house. Then he tries to steal the hat again in the eighth episode of season four, and stages an entire HGTV show just to get an excuse to enter the house.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Nandor invokes this when it was discovered that he burned down Nadja's village two hundred years before she was born.
  • Butt-Monkey: Guillermo is abused by Nandor and taken advantage of by everybody.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Laszlo inevitably yells out "Bat!" just before transforming.
  • Calling Your Orgasms: Played with when Nadja, disgusted with Gregor's 'weak' modern name, mocks it on camera by comparing it to a disappointing orgasm:
    Nadja: Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Jeff.
  • Came Back Wrong: After Topher the familiar accidentally electrocutes himself, the vampires, who are all extremely fond of him, take his corpse to Wallace the necromancer, so that he may bring Topher back from the dead. Instead of a straight-forward resurrection, however, he comes back as a snarling, near-mindless zombie, who climbs the ceilings, eats small animals, and attacks Guillermo. Eventually, they take him back to Wallace, who admits that he may have read the wrong incantation (he was responding to a text on his phone during the spell).
    • As of the end of season 5, Derek the vampire is also raised as a zombie after being staked, similarly mindless. However, Topher makes his return, now much happier and speaking in complete sentences, saying he's managed to overcome the speech impediments associated with being a zombie, eager to welcome Derek to the other zombies.
  • The Cameo: The main characters of the movie make several appearances throughout the series. All three of them appear as members of the Vampiric Council in “The Trial”, Vladislav appears as the host of the Théâtre dus Vampires in “Nouveau Théâtres dus Vampires”, and Viago appears in “The Prisoner” and “The Portrait” via instructional video tapes he sends to Nadja.
  • Camera Abuse: Or "Boom Mic abuse". After the Baron awakes, he eats one of the sound guys, upon which the sound starts cutting in and out and going crazy. This continues into the next scene as Nadja tries to awkwardly apologize to the camera man.
  • Canada, Eh?: Marcus the werewolf is proudly Caribbean-Canadian – specifically, he's from "Saskatoon, MOTHERFUCKER!" He later reassures Toby that they'll go on their dream trip to the city someday.
  • Cast Full of Gay: The very first episode has Lazlo admitting to having an affair with the Baron despite being married to Nadja, confirming that he's bisexual. Nadja and Nandor are also established to be bisexual, Nadja having been intimate with a previous incarnation of Gregor who was a woman while Nandor's many "wives" were both female and male. Colin Robinson meanwhile primarily only showed interest in women, but he was open to a threesome with Lazlo and Nadja before mentioning that Davy Crockett was an ex-boyfriend. And Guillermo eventually admits to being gay to his entire family, having a boyfriend in season 4. This eventually leads to Sean inviting them to take part in a Pride Parade in Season 5.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Nandor: "Fucking guy!" (Once amusingly modified to "Fucking Guide!" when The Guide annoys him.)
    • Laszlo: "You're giving me the pip!"
    • Nadja: playfully/affectionately calling someone a slut, whore or similar.
    • Colin Robinson: an annoyingly cheerful "Hello!"
  • Celebrity Casualty: Happens with some frequency.
    • 'Private School' sees Sal Vulcano of Impractical Jokers brought in to pose as child Colin's father, only to end up killed via Neck Snap when Laszlo gets annoyed by him.
    • 'Freddie' sees Sofia Coppola and Thomas Mars from the band Phoenix getting drunk to death when they order the 'Celebrity Special' at Nadja's nightclub. Nadja implies that they are not the first celebrities to fall victim to this and says there's a couple others planning to come by as well who may meet the same fate (though Jim Jarmusch manages to make it alive because he declines to order said special and just assumes the other two were pranking him).
    • Patton Oswalt is kicked off a building by Nandor in 'Exit Interview' when his attempt to encourage Nandor to forgive Guillermo angers him-only for Nandor to acknowledge he may have had a point when he feels bad afterwards.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
    • Blade is explicitly cited by Jenna as a possibility to evade being burned by the sun since the film's vampires used motorcycle helmets to do so. Later on in the same season, Wesley Snipes shows up and is revealed to have the exact same heritage and job as the character he played as a fully immersed member of vampire society. No one comments on this. Donal Logue shows up also as a vampire in the third season, but this one gets explained away by him being converted into a vampire after filming Blade (though other vampires who Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality get confused and think he's Quinn for real). Of course, being a comedy, this is mainly just Played for Laughs on both counts.
    • The fifth season episode "The Campaign" creates more subtle paradoxes, regarding previous instances of Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement reprising their roles from the movie. Nandor and Alexander visit a theater showing Eagle Vs Shark and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, two films that Waititi directed, wrote, and made cameos in; the former also co-stars Clement.
  • Central Theme: The show expands on the film's ideas of what it means to have eternal unlife and what makes life fulfilling for even the undead.
    • Nadja and Laszlo find comfort in their vampiric Unholy Matrimony, having other flings that each spouse has with others and falling out at times but ultimately still come back to each other.
    • The other vampires slowly begin to feel over the seasons thus far that their long lives aren't all they're cracked up to be in spite of their close friendships, with Nandor especially coming to realize he longs for the kind of relationships he had in his old life like romance, children, or even just having his old horse back. This gets to the point that Nandor spirals into depression at the idea of centuries of listless nothing with no one to share it with but the same people he's been with for ages, letting himself be taken into a cult and then trying to just sleep for centuries for the sake of enacting any kind of change of life.
    • Colin Robinson by season 3, on the other hand, feels like he hasn't done enough in life in various areas and ironically aims to do more right on the day he dies.
    • Guillermo on the other hand, as the only human in the group, still desperately wishes to be a vampire -partly because of all the time he's sunk into being Nandor's familiar- and frequently feels frustrated by Nandor's refusal to grant him vampirism, which becomes thematically resonant as Nandor decides that no one should live forever and claims that Guillermo should live as a human, even to implausibly long ages if he wants to see Nandor again.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Laszlo's cursed hat.
    • The roses.
    • The stress toy.
    • The page Laszlo rips out of a book in the first episode of Season 3.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • In "Brain Scramblies", one of the members of the vampire hunter group that Guillermo accidentally walks into is Shanice, Jenna's roommate from season 1, who watched her friend turn into a vampire firsthand. Lampshaded by Guillermo, who notes, "Small world."
    • In season 1's "The Trial", one of Nandor's pre-death confessions is that he misses his horse and he wishes he treated him better. In season 2's "Ghosts", it's revealed that his mortal ghost's unfinished business is wishing to reunite with his horse, and furthermore, the reason Nandor wanted to treat his horse better is because he was reduced to eating his horse under very dire circumstances and feels a little bit guilty over how good the horse meat was.
  • Clark Kenting: Laszlo can completely fool Jim the Vampire simply by putting putting on jeans, a terrible American accent and a toothpick in his mouth. It is only when his reflection is absent from the mirror that his masquerade is revealed.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Nandor began applying for U.S. citizenship in 1992 because of the national Olympic basketball team... then failed to finish the process once the Macarena became popular (he was too busy doing the dance to do anything else). He thinks piñata husbandry is a thing—and a respectable profession, at that.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Guillermo drops one in Episode 8.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Guillermo. He seems to balance it pretty well, despite one (being a vampire's loyal familiar and indeed wanting to become a vampire himself) being in direct conflict with the other (being genetically a Van Helsing and frighteningly good at killing vampires even when he's not actually trying to).
  • Contrived Coincidence: It took Jim 167 years to hunt down Laszlo and catch up to him at the house, but after Laszlo ran away from the duel, it took just a week before he was lucky enough to happen to wander into the bar he was hiding out in, in a completely different state, explicitly searching for him.
  • Continuity Nod: A visual one. In 3x01, Guillermo easily leaves the cage in the basement whenever he wants. In 3x08, when he reveals he's put Nandor in the cage, it's clearly been made more secure. Either he did this on his own, or the vampires learned about his easy escapes off-screen and had it done.
    • In 'The Roast' Colin Robinson mentions he has recurring dreams where he is a child and Laszlo is his father. Colin Robinson might not consciously remember his time as a child but he does remember.
  • Council of Vampires: The, uh, Vampiric Council.
  • Crapsack World: Vampires happily kill innocents without any fear of consequences, it's made clear that the vampires seem to control everything, other supernatural monsters also exist to feed on humans, and familiars are treated like dogs who exist to do nothing but serve and entertain their vampire masters. Overall, the world is a dark and terrifying place for humanity.
  • Creepy Doll: The ghost of Nadja's former human self is funneled into a handy doll in 'Ghosts'. Far from becoming murderous and trying to kill people, it mainly hangs around Laszlo and Nadja's chambers, providing bon-mots and inserting itself into conversations.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: After having spent so much time around vampires and under the protection of the main cast, the camera crew fall prey to this. After Guillermo saves most of the Mosquito Collectors from the house of vampires, the camera crew is left stranded in the attic... having followed Guillermo up there to keep filming the action. They quickly realize their mistake when the vampires turn towards them menacingly.
  • Dangerous 16th Birthday: Dangerous 100th birthday. Colin Robinson died on his 100th birthday, as apparently all energy vampires do.
  • Dark Secret: Guillermo is a descendant of Van Helsing, which is awkward when you live in a house full of vampires. He's racked up a lot of kills over the course of the show; some by accident, some in the defense of the house from assassins sent by the Vampiric Council, and some actually vampire-hunting with the Mosquito Collectors. Unfortunately, the Council is certain that the Staten Island vampires are responsible for all of it..
  • Day Walker: Colin, being an "energy vampire", rather than a "real" vampire, is able to go out during the daytime. Wesley Snipes, being a half-vampire, can also tolerate sunlight. When Guillermo becomes a vampire, he is also a daywalker, and his sweat can be used as a sunscreen that allows non-daywalker vampires to walk in the sun without harm to their skin (aside from a normal sunburn).
  • Dead End Job: One of the first gags in the pilot is Laszlo and Nadja's familiar, an unnamed old lady, being unceremoniously killed and eaten by the Baron as soon as he wakes up. Laszlo and Nadja rapidly burning through familiars becomes a Running Gag through the series, culminating in the tragic death of their beloved Topher, after which they end up just treating Guillermo as being their servant as well as Nandor's (to Nandor and Guillermo's annoyance, although Guillermo was already having to pick up the slack for their familiars all the time anyway).
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Played for laughs. When Laszlo loudly accuses one of their vampire friends of being a thief, Nandor says to cut his hands off, but not embarrass him in front of everyone (that's just rude).
  • Depraved Bisexual: Laszlo, Nadja, and possibly Nandor too, though he's a more ambiguous example. Confirmed in 2x09 and brought to center stage in 4x02.
  • Description Cut: Inverted. Guillermo and the Mosquito Collectors getting their asses handed to them on their first raid, cutting to the infinitely more mundane and less-dangerous situation of Colin Robinson draining Laszlo and Nadja by explaining to them how Internet mailing lists work — and then cutting back to the raid.
  • Dirty Coward: Celeste immediately tries to throw all her friends under the bus to save her own skin.
  • Discreet Drink Disposal: Jim the Vampire and Jackie Daytona at the bar at Lucky Brews, trying to convince each other they are a perfectly normal human enjoying a human alcoholic drink, each awkwardly dump their drink when the other is distracted.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: Guillermo tries to claim he isn't a murderer, he just finds people who are easy to kill and lures them into a situation where they'll be murdered. It's totally different.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The relationship between Nandor and Guillermo at times feels like an elderly retiree being looked after by his handler; a younger man who takes care of the needs of an older man who mourns the excitement of his youth and has a shaky grasp of the present (including trouble with modern conveniences like computers) and does things for him like cleaning, grocery shopping and generally looking after his health. While Nandor acts like a grouch and gives Guillermo a hard time, Guillermo looks after him regardless and relishes the small, legitimate moments between them.
    • The show draws much more emphasis in how familiars work in this world and it is incredibly telling. Being a familiar is portrayed as a back-breaking, thankless job that involves a lot of groveling and overtime with no pay other than a few workplace benefits (and they had to unionize for that to happen) - sometimes for years at a time - under the assumption that all of their hard work will allow them to become a vampire, much in the same way that working class people will do thankless jobs - including unpaid internships - so that they could one day become members of the higher social group that they work under. As the series goes on, it becomes more and more obvious that the vampires have no intention of siring their familiars, stringing them along with the illusion of meritocracy before discarding them at a later time or just flat out killing them. Averted by Nandor when he makes his old familiar Benji a vampire without telling Guillermo ('Just keep driving, look ahead'), but that was in all likelihood just a clumsy Nandor solution for getting rid of Benji again, and not a true act of benevolence.
    • Many people, including the writers and actors themselves, have compared Guillermo's secret heritage and career as a vampire slayer to a closeted gay man having to hide a major facet of who he is in a homophobic society. (It's multilayered, since Guillermo is literally gay.) It helps that Guillermo literally lives in a closet, and his final scene in Season 2 where he reveals his true name comes off a lot like a triumphal coming out scene.
    • The vampires are associated with many different Animal Motifs — bats, most obviously, but they also turn into dogs and rats — but the vampires remind many viewers of cats, in particular (hence the memorable scene of Vladislav imperfectly becoming a cat in the original movie). The loud hissing at each other whenever they feel threatened, the fastidiousness over their own appearance while being huge slobs about their living space, the Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!, etc. Guillermo, likewise, makes a great portrait of a harried fed-up cat owner. It adds some resonance to the Fur Against Fang Fantastic Racism against werewolves, who are very obviously a joke about humanoid dogs.
    • The Season 5 arc deals with Guillermo finally giving up on waiting for Nandor to turn him into a vampire and finding another vampire to do the deed for him, which everyone treats as an act so dishonorable they're positive that Nandor would kill Guillermo if he found out. The whole thing's very similar to cheating on an abusive partner.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Two very different ones from cast member Matt Berry, who is also a Singer-Songwriter as well as an actor and comedian. The ending of "Collaboration" has a Call-Back to Laszlo and Nadja's "human music act" from the episode with their deliberately crappy love song, "Up and Down", while the ending of "Witches" has a very Played Straight example with the extremely not crappy song "Gather Up" from Berry's 2013 album Kill the Wolf.
  • Elvis Lives: Season 2 casually reveals that Laszlo made Elvis a vampire in the 1970s, with the latter occasionally using their basement to record music.
  • Emotion Eater:
    • Rather than feeding on blood, Colin feeds on the negative emotional energies humans emit when they are bored or angry, and has therefore specialized in being both as insufferably boring and extremely annoying to his victims as possible. He is apparently also capable of feeding on the negative energies of vampires.
    • Evie (E.V.= Emotional Vampire) from Episode 3 is one of these, moreso than Colin. The difference is that she feeds on attention and sympathy.
  • Ending Theme: Every episode has one that reflects the theme of the episode in some way. A special Shout-Out to "Let's Go Sunning" by Jack Shaindlin (a song written for the 1954 film Garden of Eden promoting nudism, known to most people nowadays as an ironic reference from Fallout 3) playing at the end of "Baron Night's Out", right after the Baron is burned to death by sunlight.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: A core theme of the show.
    • Laszlo and Nadja love each other immensely. Nadja will forsake everything to rescue Laszlo, and Laszlo will kill you in (almost) all of your reincarnations if you make Nadja sad.
    • Nandor can be a huge Jerkass to Guillermo, but he does love him in his own vampiric way. It's to the point where Nandor will turn himself and his nightwalker roommates over to death to save Guillermo.
      • Laszlo and Nadja care about Guillermo, too, even if, like Nandor, they "have a funny way of showing it". They treat Guillermo like their own familiar (something Guillermo lampshades in one episode), and Nadja has shown some genuine respect for the human. Laszlo goes so far as to get rid of his beloved hat when he sees it's making Guillermo flatline in Episode 4.
      • In season 2, Laszlo and Nandor both tell Guillermo to flee the absurdly souped-up Colin Robinson so at least one of them can live while the three vampires slowly expire away from being drained by Colin.
      • Nandor also argues against killing Guillermo at the beginning of season 3, claiming that the warrior's code dictates they reward him for saving their lives with gratitude and mercy.
      • In episode 4 of Season 3, the vampires ask Guillermo some personal questions about himself for probably the first time, and seem genuinely interested in what he has to say. Laszlo even gives him some sincere advice to be more open with himself and with others.
      • Although it may not seem like it at first, in the season 3 finale, Laszlo trusts Guillermo enough, both as a bodyguard and as a person, to have him shipped off to England with Nadja in order to keep her safe while he stays with Colin Robinson. He even tries to make being crammed into a wooden crate for several months as comfortable as possible, remembering to provide him with some food and to drill a hole into it so he can still breathe.
    • Nadja cares about Jenna's wellbeing a lot, and she is exceptionally proud when Jenna discovers her secret power.
    • Nandor is thrilled to learn he has a living descendant in Staten Island—he even buys her a teddy bear! Similarly, he is devastated when he kills Madeline by accident.
    • The fact that Nadja and (with extreme reluctance, admittedly) Laszlo attend Madeline's funeral, which is held in a church, shows they care about Nandor. The latter's confession in Episode 7 shows that the feeling is mutual.
    • Colin Robinson. Hoo boy, Colin Robinson. Despite being The Friend Nobody Likes, he gets a lot of love.
      • He hooks up with another psychic vampire in Season 1 Episode 3 — mostly to hunt, but there are feelings between them all the same.
      • In S1 Episode 7, he saves the nightwalkers when they've been condemned to death. If Nadja's inebriated comment in the previous episode is anything to go by, they love Colin, too. That or the 'E's these days actually have MDMA in them.
      • In S1 Episode 10, Colin tries to provide emotional support to Nandor as he visits Madeline for the first time, even though he equates it to self-cannibalism. The fact that he showed up at all shows he has some care for Nandor.
    • In the season 2 finale, despite quitting being Nandor's familiar, Guillermo still loves his ex-master (and the other housemates) enough to dive into a packed theatre filled with hundreds of hostile vampires to try and single-handedly rescue them all from execution.
    • Laszlo and Colin privately confess that they've started hanging out by taking pity on the other's perceived loneliness in season 3. In Laszlo's case, this is later revealed to be because he is the only one who knows that Colin Robinson is dying - he doesn't have the heart to tell him or the others, so he instead chooses to spend as much time with him as possible and make his last few months of life enjoyable.
      • Even though Laszlo claims to have done this purely for Colin Robinson's sake, it's clear that he does end up developing a genuine affection for him, as he is transparently upset through his passing, won't let anyone enter the basement or touch his body, and is unable to bring himself to do so up until the very last minute.
      • The Season 3 finale makes the authenticity of their relationship clear; when Laszlo finds the baby that has burst from Colin Robinson's body, he immediately chooses to abandon his journey with Nadja in order to stay and protect it.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • The vampires win the fight against the werewolves in Episode Three, but Nadja and Laszlo are dismayed over how they won it—and Nandor, who won the fight for them, isn't exactly proud of himself, either. They respect the werewolves' wishes for space afterward and are quick to leave the scene.
    • Nadja is opposed to flying away from the fight on the basis that Guillermo—or, as she called him, Gizmo—would be left alone with the werewolves.
    • Vampires in general have something of an aversion to hurting kids. A baby being turned is a terrible crime. Laszlo did it because he was bored and has been ducking responsibility ever since.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Jemaine Clement and Paul Simms have confirmed that everybody in the show is bi/pan.
  • Exact Words: Done in an especially lazy and hackneyed manner by Nandor; to weasel out of making Guillermo a vampire as promised, he paints a portrait in which Guillermo is portrayed as a vampire and treats that as if it's the promised reward.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
    • Colin Robinson's flamewar with an internet troll escalates into a physical confrontation. When they meet face to face, he discovers that his foe is an actual troll.
    • The Vampiric Council.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama:
    • At the start of Episode One, Nandor tries to dramatically rise from his coffin, only for the latch to get stuck, forcing him and Guillermo to jostle the coffin around a bunch to get it open.
      • This particular example is revisited and subverted in the season 2 finale when Guillermo, who has quit being Nandor's familiar, isn't there to help Nandor with the latch this time. It's a little heartbreaking.
    • The Baron's dramatic speech about taking over America gets awkwardly interrupted when he notices the documentary crew and has to have their presence explained to him.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink:
    • Vampires, werewolves, witches, ghosts, gargoyles, zombies, fairies, demons, orcs, Valkyrie, garden gnomes, wraiths, a possessed doll, a necromancer, a hellhound, a troll, a siren, a genie, and The Babadook are just a few of the many supernatural beings who are revealed to live secretly in New York City alongside the main cast, who are all vampires.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Parodied when Laszlo and Nadja say they left Europe because of prejudice against vampires. Mortals didn't like the color of their skin, or the fact they killed and ate people. Probably more the latter, as Laszlo concedes.
    • Played straight with the rivalry between the vampires and the werewolves. It does take a turn toward real racism when Nadja asks if "all [the] werewolves are Indians" (i.e., Native Americans), à la Twilight. She is quickly corrected, though, and it's not an issue again. In the end, though, Nadja and Ange come to something of a grudging, tense understanding, and Laszlo and Nadja aren't impressed with Nandor choosing the squeaky toy to defeat Toby.
  • Faux Flame: The torches on the walls in the corridors of the Vampiric Council's lair all have LED flames. Otherwise, the fire marshal would have a fit.
  • Fictional Counterpart: Two Valkyries at the Night Market run a stall modeled after an IKEA store.
    Nadja: To the Valkyries I gave the vase, and then they gave me their rarest delicacy- the little meatballs in the brown water. I don't know why Valkyries sell meatballs and furniture, but I'm not going to criticize the ways of other cultures.
  • Fictional Country: Nandor used to rule Al Quolanudar (in modern-day southern Iran) but it was dissolved in 1401. Al Quolanudarese is just contemporary Farsi.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: All of the vampires, but especially the Baron, who doesn't seem to grasp how large America is or why it would be so difficult for the vampires to take it over.
  • Five-Token Band: The werewolves. Nadja asks if they're all "Indian." Their leader Arjan curtly informs her that he is half-Indian, the Asian kind, and it turns out all the members are of different backgrounds. Even the two black members, one is African-American while the other is Caribbean-Canadian.
    • The main cast themselves are an example. Nandor is Middle Eastern, Nadja is Greek, Laszlo is British, and Guillermo is Hispanic. Colin is "100% white" per his DNA test, however he's a minority within the vampires, being an energy vampire instead of a blood vampire.
  • Flash Step: One of the many cool powers that vampires generally seem to have but forget about at many points when they'd be useful. Lampshaded by Vladislav in the Season 2 finale where he gets a round of applause for doing this and says, "You're too kind, we can all do that, we're vampires".
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The Stinger in Episode 1.
    • In Season 2 episode 8 Celeste claims to be a familiar turned vampire and vapes blood, yet the smoke from it makes Nandor cough. Turns out she's faking being a vampire while her masters are away.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: On the Lego video that the child-Colin posts in "The Grand Opening", there are two comments written by Guillermo under the handle Guillermo_the_De$troyer92.
  • Freudian Slip: Nadja claims early on that her former human lover Gregor was killed in battle with enemy soldiers. Later, when talking to the man she believes is Gregor reincarnated, she gets so excited that she lets slip that what really happened was that she went crazy while having sex with him and cut his head off. Gregor has died by beheading many many times, so it's possible she's talking about two separate incidents however.
  • Freudian Trio: Among the vampires, Laszlo is the id, Nandor is the ego, and Colin is the superego. Nadja slips between being the ego (more chaotic but also more moral and kind) and the superego (being genuinely kind and supportive of others).
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Colin Robinson openly pesters his housemates while they are stuck in their coffins and has a habit of feeding off of both their victims, making those victims' blood less nutritious, and them directly. (Colin refers to hassling them in their coffins to feed off their annoyance as his 'morning cup of coffee'.) The other vampires hate him and only put up with him because his job pays for their considerable rent and because they're true companions.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Subverted; the vampires are friendly, lovable doofuses most of the time, but they still kill and eat people for food without any particular care for the morals of it. It's even suggested that they don't have to kill their victims but they do it anyway.
  • Frozen Fashion Sense: Much like in the film, most of the house vampires are firm traditionalists in the wardrobe department, heavy on the old-world, old-century formalwear. Nandor has even worn his armour around the house on occasion. Only slightly averted with Colin Robinson's bland mid-20th-century look, and Simon the Devious and his coterie do seem to favour more modern if somewhat flamboyant garb themselves.
  • Full-Name Basis:
    • Colin Robinson is nearly always referred to and addressed by his full name, even when he's talking about himself.
      Colin Robinson: Hey dudes, it's me, Colin Robinson, your roommate.
      • Colin Robinson even prefers to be addressed by his full name:
      Colin Robinson: Hellooooo Joanna.
      Joanna: Hi Mr Robinson.
      Colin Robinson: ... Colin Robinson.
    • Jim the Vampire's name is only ever spoken fully.
  • Fur Against Fang: The Staten Island vampires and werewolves have a long-standing rivalry, including a document signed by both parties dictating rules for resolving disputes.
  • Game Changer: Season 2's "The Return" has Nandor discover Guillermo's talent at vampire slaying, with their relationship made much more tense out of the need to hide the latter's murder of Carol from the other roommates and Nandor's budding fear that Guillermo could be actively invested in further vampire slaying activities.
  • Ghostly Animals: When the vampires summon their own ghosts and attempt to finish the business left over from their human lives, Nandor's ghost reunites with the ghost of his beloved horse, Jahan (aka "John"). In life, Nandor had been forced to eat Jahan, and felt guilty because the horse was actually quite tasty.
  • Glowing Eyes: Colin Robinson's eyes begin to glow electric blue whenever he receives a substantial amount of negative energy. Particularly noticeable when he's power-tripping after his promotion.
  • Hand Wave: In-Universe: Jenna questions what happens to vampires' clothes when they transform into bats. They get flustered by the question at first until Laszlo says it's best "not to get bogged down in the details".
  • Half-Arc Season: The show generally takes this approach as each season has an overarching plot that pops up in a few episodes, but is otherwise in the background as the main characters go about their lives in Staten Island.
  • Happily Married: For all their bickering, Laszlo deeply loves Nadja and it is fully reciprocated by her.
    • Laszlo passionately and sincerely extols his wife's virtues at any available opportunity. Nadja reacts with aggressive and nearly hysterical panic when she believes Laszlo to be in actual danger, and is distraught when she thinks she's been permanently separated from him.
    • A witch who seduced Laszlo (though it's a pretty open marriage) did so by deliberately making herself look like Nadja, "a form [she] knew he could never resist". Though Nadja points out that she's still visibly a different person, and it turns out that Laszlo mistakes anyone with long, dark hair and an accent for Nadja, including Nandor.
  • Healing Factor: The vampires have one. The werewolves do too but it's much less effective or at least it seems to take longer to kick in. Arjan is still pretty beat up after his first encounter with the vampires even though he claims he's "already healing" it seems to be all a bluff, but by the time they attack the vampires home again he seems to have fully recovered. After Toby jumps off the ceiling, we can see the other werewolves caring for his mangled body and trying to reassure him that he's already healing (though that doesn't seem to be the case).
  • Holy Burns Evil:
    • Play straight with vampires and Christian imagery at least, to the point that when Nandor tried to say God his mouth caught on fire.
    • Then, in Episode 10, the vampires catch on fire during Madeline's funeral.
    • During Laszlo and Jim's brawl in Lucky Brew's, they simultaneously break pool cues in half and form offensive crosses. Both of them begin to char and emit smoke under the holy influence.
    • Colin Robinson doesn't have this weakness, and occasionally refers to God and Jesus as off-the-cuff swears or as an object of discussion, causing Laszlo to sizzle and wince in pain.
  • Homage: Guillermo, the rotund and bespectacled Mexican, is an obvious reference to Guillermo del Toro, the rotund and bespectacled Mexican horror film director who has made two vampire movies so far (Cronos and Blade II).
  • Home and Garden: In "Go Flip Yourself", Laszlo starts watching a Show Within a Show called Go Flip Yourself about home renovations. He even hails it as a masterpiece because the renovators truly understand their trade. Everyone else is of the opinion that Go Flip Yourself suffers a bad case of Strictly Formula.
  • Hugh Mann: When they take him for a night of fun and karaoke, the roommates dress the monstrous, decrepit Baron in a baseball cap and normal clothes. No one notices, even when he tells bystanders he's a vampire.
    • Cranked up to the point of parody in Season Three when the Baron is revealed to have survived his immolation. Nobody seems to find it strange that a legless, blackened corpse with an arm fused to his chest and a rolling coat rack for a bottom half is running an Airbnb.
  • Humans Are Morons: Every human the cast meets is stupid to the point of parody and they handwaved all the supernatural things the vampires do as just "quirky Europeans".
  • Hypocritical Humor: Viago communicates with Nadja on Vampiric Council matters through the absurdly tedious process of sending her VHS tapes through international mail, yet also demands that she respond to them as quickly as possible, since “vampires hate waiting”.
  • Idle Rich: Vampires Are Rich, but we have no idea how Nandor, Laszlo and Nadja have maintained their wealth over the centuries. They seem to have no interest in making or maintaining their wealth or have any idea how to pay bills or make purchases. In the pilot, Nandor tries to make a purchase at a retail store with an ancient coin before Guillermo intercedes. It's implied that Guillermo does all the money management, but what money is he managing? Word of God is most of the bills get taken care of by Colin Robinson's office job.
  • I Do Not Drink Wine: Vampires cannot eat human food and projectile vomit when they try. This happens to Nadja when fed a piece of popcorn. The Baron ate a single bite of pizza and vomited so hard it caused him to fly through the air out of control; however, he saw it as being Worth It just for the experience of pizza.
    • A "reformed" vampire claims to be able to consume food and drink as part of a wellness program. In reality, she's just able to hold it down for long enough to excuse herself to leave the room.
  • I Love the Dead: Nadja admits to Jeff that she accidentally killed his past incarnation, Gregor, mid-coitus and continued banging the corpse. He still offers to give her his number and meet her again.
  • I Never Told You My Name: In 'On the Run', Laszlo (disguised as as Jackie Daytona) bids Jim the Vampire farewell by name when the latter departs Lucky Brew's. Jim spins around and invokes this trope, whereupon Laszlo points out it's on the business card he gave him (which literally reads 'Jim the Vampire'). Impossibly subverted by Jim already being suspicious of Laszlo's identity but being thrown off by his Paper-Thin Disguise.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: When Nandor complains about how he's treated by the other vampires:
    Nandor: You mock me, you disrespect me. You contradict me!
    Nadja: No we don't!
    • In the same argument Nandor complains that Nadja openly mocks him during his romantic troubles; Nadja has to stifle her laughter just at the mention of it.
  • If It's You, It's Okay:
    • Jenna says that she has a boyfriend, but doesn't seem to mind the prospect of being seduced by Nadja.
    • Inverted with Nadja and Laszlo. They are perfectly happy to have sex in and outside of their marriage, but both have an exception: for Nadja, it's the witches; for Laszlo, it's Jeff/Gregor.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: After Nandor goes off to the documentarians about Guillermo's incompetence, he adds this:
    Nandor: I don't like saying this kind of thing in front of him, of course.
    (pan out to reveal Guillermo standing in the corner)
    Nandor: Sorry, Guillermo. I don't like saying this kind of thing in front of you.
    Guillermo: It's okay, master.
  • Immortality Promiscuity: All of the immortal vampires really, really get around. Married couple Laszlo and Nadja are extremely proud of it and have zero issues with it. A bi-annual blood orgy is one of the routine expectations of vampire high society.
  • Immune to Fire: In "Gail", Colin Robinson sets himself on fire with gasoline to prank Laszlo, revealing that he is in fact immune to it.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Guillermo throws a pile of garden stakes across the atrium in one big pile. Each one manages to strike a portrait of his housemates on the wall through the heart. He performs a similar feat later, headshotting three vampire dummies with a crossbow, despite having no experience with the weapon.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Laszlo telling Jim the Vampire he's 'fired'. Probably also counts as a Bond One-Liner.
    Jim the Vampire: That doesn't even make any sense! I don't work for you. (Laszlo sprays a spectacular gout of flaming alcohol at him from his mouth) Oh, fire! Now I get it.
    • Played absolutely straight when Laszlo, Nadja and Nandor are panicking and making up email addresses to forward the chain email to, to stave off the curse of Bloody Mary (yes, really). They're terrified when they see the bounceback messages are from 'mailer daemon'.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Downplayed, but Jenna is quite eager when she thinks Nadja wants to have sex with her, and immediately tries stripping naked for her transformation lesson with Laszlo.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Played with: while Nadja has no love lost for the werewolves, her "Indians" comment does seem to come from a place of genuine curiosity. When she is called out for it, she quietly accepts the corrections.
  • Insurance Fraud: Nadja makes an especially inept at this after closing down her nightclub. She douses the place in gasoline in full view of the security cameras, and the next day, it turns out she never even got any insurance on it, and in fact doesn’t actually know what “insurance” even is. Furthermore, she neglected to take the club’s blood fountains into consideration, which immediately put out the fire everywhere except for her office, where she was squaring away cash. Her whole scheme achieves nothing beyond losing her even more money.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Nadja starts a secret relationship with Jeff Suckler, a mortal man, because she believes that he might be the reincarnation of her dead lover Gregor. She's right, and she has had many relationships with Gregor's various reincarnations—including once as a horse.
    • A horse once "started making love" to Laszlo. He does not consider that a bad thing.
  • Invaded States of America: So, so subverted. This is what the Baron has directed the Staten Island vampires to achieve. So far they've conquered their street and Ashley Street.
  • Invisible Introvert: Nadja intends to feed on a college student named Jenna who's revealed to be a bit of an introvert and somewhat ignored. Instead, she takes pity on Jenna and turns her into a vampire. After the change, Jenna develops the ability to turn herself invisible.
  • iSophagus: Laszlo swallows a harmonica after failing to lure The Sire with its sweet tunes. Every time he speaks for the rest of the episode, the harmonica plays too.
  • It's Personal:
    • Shanice's motivation for joining the Mosquito Collectors.
    • Nadja becomes pissed when she realizes that the reason for her village no longer being so Arcadian long before her birth was because of Nandor.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Most, if not all, of the vampires:
    • Colin may be a Troll who feeds on people (including vampires) when they're at their lowest, but he will also deceive the Vampiric Council in order to save the nightwalkers from execution.
    • Nandor can be a real jerk toward Guillermo, but he will defy the Vampiric Council and turn himself in (along with Nadja and Laszlo) for killing the Baron (something they didn't even do) so that Guillermo won't get killed.
    • Nadja gets into a fair amount of fights (both verbal and physical) with Laszlo, but if he needs her, she'll be there—even if it means forsaking passionate sex with the newly-awakened Gregor-Jeff.
    • Laszlo refuses to kill Sean when he gets brain scramblies, on the basis that he's Laszlo's best friend. He also goes out of his way in season 3 to get him out of debt, with no benefit to himself. More broadly, Laszlo has been shown to care about his wife more than anything, going so far as to kill Gregor for hurting Nadja—except for the one time Nadja asked Laszlo not to.
  • Kayfabe: In promotional and BTS footage for the series, Jemaine Clement is insistent that it's a real documentary series with real vampires. While he does occasionally downplay or drop the act, he's just as quick to pick it back up, insist that what he just said was a joke or a hypothetical, and remind you that it's a real documentary with real vampires.
  • Kick the Dog: Simon the Devious invites the Staten Island vampires over to his club to discuss joining forces with them, only to humiliate them and force Laszlo to hand over his hat, which Simon had long coveted. Then the club explodes after they leave.
    • The vampires "kicking" Guillermo — whom Nandor seems to literally treat like a pet dog — with pointlessly cruel or dismissive remarks is a hilariously consistent Running Gag from the pilot onwards, and leaves you begging for the moments when The Dog Bites Back.
    Nandor: Vampire comments only, Guillermo.
  • Large Ham: Jim the Vampire. Double bonus points because it's Mark HAMill.
    Jim the Vampire: CRAVENSWOOOOORTH!
  • Leeroy Jenkins: On their first vampire hunt, the Mosquito Club gleefully storm a house they claim belongs to a vampire family, which a skeptical Guillermo believes are just humans; they ARE vampires, and immediately turn the tables on the hunters. Only Guillermo's skills keep them all from being slaughtered.
  • Looks Like Orlok: Just as Petyr in the film, the Baron has this appearance too, in stark contrast to the other vampires. Also like with Petyr, it is implied to be a result of his advanced age. The Sire is even older and resembles a gargoyle more than a man.
  • Loophole Abuse: Vampires need to be invited into places before they can enter. However, Nadja is capable of hypnotizing people into granting her (and whomever she wishes) entrance.
  • Lured into a Trap: The housemates are invited to a very prestigious vampire social event. However, it's been hijacked by the Vampiric Council in order to stage the most spectacular and elaborate kangaroo court ever, to try them for all the vampire murders committed over the past two seasons — by Guillermo, unbeknownst to them. They're quite confused when the Council plays a memorial slideshow of a bunch of dead vampires the housemates have never seen before (excepting the Baron and Carol).
  • Magical Native American: Conversed. Nadja asks the Five-Token Band werewolf crew if they're Indian, in reference to The Twilight Saga. One of them actually is Native American, but it's definitely not an ethnic thing.
  • Magical Queer: Guillermo is the Only Sane Man of the main crew, and he is, by actor Harvey Guillén's words, openly gay, being somewhat attracted to his master Nandor and, later on, openly (to the audience) dating a man. Ironically, he's the only Muggle of the main cast.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Nadja can't bear to refer to Jeff by his name, thinking it sounds pathetic compared to the name of his previous life, Gregor. She cycles through a number of misnomers before eventually settling on "Jesk.".
  • A Man Is Always Eager: In 'Witches', Nandor and Laszlo aren't too worried once it's revealed why the witches abducted them (for, ahem, semen extraction) and are in fact quite puffed up about it. Once Colin Robinson finds out, he straps himself into a spare extraction table.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • This incarnation of Nadja's lover Gregor is named Jeff Suckler.
    • Laszlo's last name is Cravensworth. He's a Dirty Coward.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Laszlo rips a page out of a book and when Colin Robinson asks why, Laszlo implies it is more pornography. In truth, it is a page from Edmund Wheelwright's Compendium Vampirium, that states energy vampires will die on their 100th birthday. Laszlo didn't want Colin Robinson finding the truth.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds:
    • Laszlo caused the Irish Potato Famine because of his hat.
    • Guillermo killed the Baron while getting roses at Nandor's request.
  • Mirror Character: Ange the werewolf and Nadja are both bloodthirsty lady beasts who are tired of their men's squabbling and mismanagement, preferring to go straight to fighting. They come to grudgingly recognize this in each other during the big showdown.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: A recurring trope on the show. Normal vampires are often revealed for what they are by not appearing in mirrors at all, whereas Colin Robinson the energy vampire shows up in mirrors with a disturbing blue skin tone (possibly indicating true vampires are The Soulless while energy vampires have a soul but it's not a human one). When Jenna is undergoing the "transition" from living to vampire one of the things that happens to her is her reflection going out of sync with herself, smirking at her when she turns her back on it.
  • Mockumentary: This series leans into the Fridge Logic of this genre, frequently acknowledging the fact that there's a film crew following around supernatural creatures as they murder people. It only rarely occurs to the main cast that the camera crew might get in the way. Other supernatural groups are also perfectly willing to be filmed. In season two, the witches invite the camera into their secret ritual, and the Theatre des Vampires even hand the crew press passes. more than even the original film did. The question of why, exactly, the vampires would be letting a bunch of humans follow them around and film all their secrets when there's a Masquerade to preserve was an issue before, but now you have the characters letting the documentarians film them committing capital crimes.
  • Monster/Slayer Romance: Guillermo is a modern-day descendant of the Van Helsing clan and the long-suffering but devoted familiar of vampire Nandor the Relentless.
    • The Guide reveals she has an erotic fixation on vampire slayers, which ends up including Guillermo, much to his chagrin.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • The Baron is under the deeply mistaken impression that Staten Island is a major political center for America and that by taking it over, the vampires can take over all of America. The others are too polite/scared of him to correct him.
    • Colin uses a patio umbrella to save the main trio from execution by sunlight exposure.
    • It seems that Laszlo and Nadja are actually the composers of Kokomo, and the Beach Boys merely covered it.
  • Mundane Object Amazement: Both Laszlo and Jim the Vampire believe the Billy Bass is a priceless and powerful artifact.
  • Must Be Invited: Like in the original film, vampires need to be invited into mortal dwellings; otherwise, they're essentially stuck outside by an invisible force field.
  • Necromancer: The vampires take the recently-deceased Topher to one named Wallace, who, in addition to raising the dead, also runs a gift shop selling trinkets such as personalised name-plate key-rings. Topher reappears later having overcome the apparent speech impediments and other downsides associated with zombiism, retroactively justifying the necromancer's skill.
  • Nerds Are Virgins: Guillermo finds a group with a high concentration of virgins for the vampires to feed on — a LARP group.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer for Episode 4 frames Nadja finding Simon as a surprise. Truth is, Simon was the reason the Staten Island vampires went to Manhattan, and while Simon is caught off-guard, he was also aware the main trio (and Colin) were coming. Nadja's surprised tone comes from her finally finding him in the crowded nightclub.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: Season 5 would have Nandor acknowledge that it is now 2023, but would also have Guillermo mention how he's been a familiar for 13 years, meaning In-Universe only three years have passed since season 1 and the show began in 2020 instead of 2019.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Nadja, like the other vampires, can turn into a bat and is excellent at hypnosis, but she is also capable of wall-crawling and brings back Gregor's memories at first with a touch, then more so with a kiss.
  • No Fourth Wall:
    • Aside from cast members speaking directly to the camera, they also make references to a 'documentary crew' and The Baron at one point kills the sound technician, causing glitches in the soundtrack for a few minutes afterward.
    • After Colin Robinson becomes extremely powerful in 'Colin's Promotion', with a mere nod at the cameraman they're drained so hard they simply fall to the floor, leaving a cockeyed view of the office hall from floor level.
    • Nadja uses her special vampire voice when she feels she's being ignored, causing electronics and glass to explode nearby. This always includes the documentary crew, who stagger, but notably also includes audible hearing damage to the sound quality.
  • Not Hyperbole: Recounting the time he first set eyes on Nadja's beauty, Laszlo says, "I was hypnotized," and Nadja adds, "I used hypnosis on him."
  • Not Quite Dead: The eyes of the Baron glow as the remains are being buried, implying this. He did in fact survive, and is able to revive himself on the blood of the many murdered victims buried in the yard.
  • Obliviously Evil: Laszlo killed a bunch of raccoons and left them on a Councillor's front steps. He thought he was doing her a favour, as he knew she didn't like the raccoons rummaging in her garbage. At the next council meeting, though, the Councillor is understandably shaken.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Guillermo's reaction to accidentally killing the Baron.
    • And Guillermo's reaction to accidentally killing Carol. Jeez, Guillermo.
    • And Guillermo's reaction to finding out his ancestry includes a direct blood line to legendary Vampire Hunter Van Helsing. He realizes that he accidentally killed two vampires previously with precision (and nearly killed Nandor with holy water), and in anger throws the garden stakes he just bought in the atrium. They land precisely in the hearts of the vampire portraits on the walls.
    • At the end of 'The Return', Colin Robinson has a typically subdued Oh Crap moment when the troll he'd just finished boring/draining straight through the night to sunrise (whereupon it turned to stone), suddenly grabs his victoriously-raised arms as he's leaving. Realizing he's now trapped until sunset (or forever, maybe, since all trolls are different) unless he can somehow wriggle free, he utters a mild 'Shit.'
    • After Guillermo saves the last member the Mosquito Collectors from the vampire house, the camera team is left in the attic with the remaining vampires, who almost immediately turn on him. There's a muffled "shit!" before they remember that these particular vampires never agreed to not eat them and run out panic swearing.
    • Guillermo has this reaction when he learns that any familiar turned by a vampire other than their master is to be killed immediately.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: The camera crew seems suspiciously able to be wherever they need to be to follow the action. When the vampires are desperately chasing the animal control van that just picked up Laszlo in bat form, we cut directly to a cameraman sitting in the passenger seat of the van and doing a talking head interview with the driver.
  • Once More, with Clarity: After Laszlo reveals Colin Robinson is dying, all of their most recent interactions are shown. The entire time, Laszlo was spending time and befriending Colin Robinson since he knows Colin Robinson will die on his 100th birthday. Laszlo found evidence of this in the Compendium Vampiirium, the page of which he ripped out earlier in the season.
  • One Curse Limit: Subverted with Gail, who is turned into a vampire by Nandor despite already having been turned into a werewolf. She is then shown taking the shape of a disgusting wolf-bat thing that can barely fly.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted and lampshaded by the Leatherskins, who have three different Vlads, not to mention the Vlad on the Vampiric Council. Very popular vampire name.
  • Only One Name: Nandor and Nadja both seem to actually have Only One Name, which isn't that strange for someone born in the Middle Ages, especially a peasant like Nadja. (Nandor should, in fact, have a much longer form of address than just "Nandor", as a monarch, but it's been established he's forgotten almost everything about his original culture.) What's hilarious is that everyone just assumed Guillermo had Only One Name, and in the ten years he lived with them as their servant never even asked what his surname might be, and don't even know if it's his first or last name. (And when asked to guess, come up with ideas like "Guillermo Buillermo".)
  • Our Genies Are Different: Nandor and Guillermo find a Djinn lamp lying around in Nandor's treasure hoard in season 4. It turns out lamps can only unlock the Djinn inside if it's rubbed counterclockwise, not clockwise. While Nandor's Djinn does fulfill Nandor's exact wishes with no drawbacks and has seemingly unlimited power by casually resurrecting 37 dead people fully clothed and healthy in the house with no issues, he also interprets certain mundane requests made of him to count as a wish like when asked how many wishes he has. The Djinn himself cautions Nandor on the danger of burning through wishes on too many banal requests and doesn't openly act like a Jackass Genie, but is openly annoyed when Guillermo acts as an advisor for Nandor's wish for a bigger penis, during which the djinn is specifically told to avoid cursing Nandor or anyone else in the world through highly specific wording.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Though the others besides Guillermo and Nadja initially dismiss the idea of ghosts as mere fiction in season 2, it's eventually quickly established that they do exist as spirits left behind with unfinished business to resolve before they can move on to some kind of afterlife. Nandor, Nadja, and Laszlo realize that since they're all undead, it's possible they left their "mortal" spirits behind in the world when they became vampires. They turn out to be right and end up having to figure out how to resolve their unfinished business.
  • Our Sirens Are Different: Appearance-wise, they appear as the more traditional part-bird version of them, with a human top half and a chicken-like bottom half. Colin and Laszlo end up briefly getting stuck on an island due to them following one of them, named Sheila, singing.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Much like in the movie, the series elaborates how vampires operate in this world one fact at a time.
    • On top of being repelled by crucifixes and being burned by holy water, in "Citizenship" vampires cannot say "God" without their mouths catching fire and in "Ancestry", they cannot enter holy ground (like a church) without bleeding from the eyes and catching fire.
    • Vampires can consume garlic in very small quantities. It's uncomfortable on top of eliciting the same reaction as other human food, but it can be done.
    • Nandor claims hypnosis as a vampire power works the same as real-life hypnosis and is unable to make anybody do something they don't want to do, hence why all of his on-screen attempts at hypnosis tend to fail. Nadja and Laszlo do not seem to have this issue, Laszlo routinely wiping people's memories with it and Nadja forces hosts to invite her (and whomever she wishes) into their building, so it is possible that Nandor only makes this claim because he has personal issues with this ability. In "Brain Scramblies", if two vampires try to hypnotize a person at the same time, it leaves them with full-on amnesia and symptoms of brain damage (or "brain scramblies" as they call it), and another man suffers a massive stroke after being hypnotized hundreds of times in one night.
    • Nadja claims that all vampires have their own unique ability special to them, boasting that wall-crawling is her special skill. It is possible that their special skill acts as a Personality Power, the routinely-ignored Jenna developing invisibility.
    • Season 2 reveals that when a vampire is created, their human souls exists independently from the newly created vampires as ghosts. This leads Nandor, Nadja, and Laszlo to meet the ghosts of their human selves back when they were killed.
    • It's established in season 3 that the existence of vampires in the first place can be traced back to The Sire, the oldest living vampire in existence and the one who spread vampirism to many humans. He is The Unseen, resting in the Vampiric Council building behind locked doors. His existence is plot-relevant in his focus episode as the possibility of the chain reaction of killing a vampire will kill anyone turned into a vampire by them is brought up and the main trio fears they'll all be dead if the Sire dies. It's left ambiguous how true this is as Laszlo points out that this could have applied to Nadja and him if the Baron is dead, but as the Baron is Not Quite Dead, it goes unproven.
  • "The Casino" establishes that vampires do need to bring the soil of their homeland with them, as otherwise they can't sleep in a coffin and lose most of their powers.
    • Exactly how "vampiric" energy vampires are is left a little vague. Colin seems to be a lot more like normal people. He goes out in the day, eats food, can enter churches, and has a job. When asked if he's undead, Colin only gives a shrug. In "Baron's Night Out", Colin implies that energy vampires are mortal. In "Colin's Promotion," it's revealed that energy vampires gain all sorts of new powers and undergo physical transformations if they're extremely full of energy. Even Colin wasn't aware of this. Colin states in season 3 that he thought he was born an energy vampire, but neither parent seemed to be one, leaving him confused on how he even is an energy vampire as he doesn't know. Energy vampires are apparently all doomed to automatically die when they reach the age of 100. In the finale, an identical baby version is revealed to have emerged out of Colin Robinson's corpse. Over the next several months, the baby grows into an adult until he's compelled to seek out Colin Robinson's diaries, which he reads and internalizes until Colin Robinson is returned to full life, overwriting the personality and memories of the child.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The Staten Island werewolves don't need an actual full moon to transform; they just need to "picture" one. It's implied that Toby's the only one of the pack who can do this successfully, though.
  • Out with a Bang: How Nadja's ex-lover Gregor actually died. Apparently she occasionally gets so worked up during sex that she just slices her partner's head off for no particular reason.
    • Subverted with Laszlo's ghost. He almost died this way, but never actually got to finish on account of Nadja turning him into a vampire just before climax. This ends up with him essentially on the verge of orgasm for a couple hundred years until he's given some assistance by his vampire counterpart.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: On the run from a deadly vampire with a grudge, Laszlo assumes the identity of "Jackie Daytona, regular human bartender," which consists of wearing jeans and keeping a toothpick in his mouth (he also claims to be from Tucson but does nothing to hide his thick English accent). It not only fools all the humans he meets, but even his enemy and Nadja. Taken up to 11 when a covering is taken off a mirror while 'Jackie' is shaking up a martini, revealing his lack of reflection to his rival. Jim hisses, recognizing another vampire, but still doesn't see past the disguise until Laszlo takes out the toothpick. Cue an astonished 'IT WAS YOU THE WHOLE TIME!'
  • Parental Substitute: Nadja becomes like a mother to her new progeny Jenna, her 'stupid little baby.'
  • Platonic Declaration of Love: Nandor gives one to Guillermo while the latter is in the hospital. Nandor is quickly embarrassed by it, though, so he hypnotizes Guillermo into forgetting right after.
  • Poverty for Comedy: Nadja claims that before she became a vampire, she was a Romani whose family was so poor that they could only fuel their campfires with donkey dung. When the dung ran out, they burned the donkey.
    Nadja: So yes, I do know what it is like to be mocked, and teased, and to cry myself to sleep at night by the light of a burning donkey.
  • Punch-Clock Villain:
    • Played with: the main trio are fine with killing humans and committing other acts of vampire-based villainy, but they're only trying to conquer Staten Island under penalty of execution.
    • The Vampiric Council. None of them (except maybe for Deacon) are that concerned about getting justice for the Baron (none of them really liked him), but they're obligated to do so anyway. (They might not have even followed through on that obligation had Deacon not pointed out they were obligated.)
  • Really Gets Around: The Baron, despite the fact that he doesn’t have genitalia anymore. Nadja claims it somehow makes him a better lover.
  • Rebound Best Friend: In the episode "Collaboration", Nandor's old familiar Benjy returns after many years away, and Guillermo learns that Nandor had made Benjy the same deal Guillermo was offered - vampirism in return for ten years of service - but had cheated Benjy by erasing his memories and dumping him in a parking lot. Realizing that Nandor is never going to make him a vampire, Guillermo quits and pledges his fealty to Celeste, a new vampire who offers to turn him after less than a year. Nandor, incensed by the betrayal, takes Benjy back as a familiar to spite Guillermo. However, Benjy is too old and out of shape to keep up with Nandor's demands, and while Celeste is actually a good Mistress, she also turns out to be a fraud - she's actually a familiar pretending to be a vampire while her own Mistress is away - and her Mistress is pissed when she finds out about Celeste's activities, forcing Guillermo to flee. In the end, vampire and familiar are reunited, with Nandor promising to turn Guillermo into a vampire some day.
  • Reincarnation: Nadja believes that Gregor, a knight she loved in medieval times, has been reincarnated as a guy named Jeff Suckler, whom she begins stalking/trying to kindle a relationship with. She was right.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Nadja and Gregor have met many times, her immortal, him reborn. Their relationship apparently tends to hit a snag when Gregor invariably manages to somehow get decapitated.
  • Reinventing the Telephone: Nandor complains in "The Trial" that the Vampiric Council should've just phoned them about their meeting instead of using ravens, a communication method that none of them had any familiarity with.
  • The Renfield: Guillermo, for Nandor. While he's a bit of a bumbler, he's not as much of one as his master, and is much more in touch with the modern world.
  • The Reveal:
    • Season 1:
      • Not only does Laszlo know about Nadja's centuries-old romance with Gregor's various reincarnations, he's also the one who's been decapitating them all every time.
      • Guillermo is a direct descendant of legendary monster killer Van Helsing, and innately possesses the skills to track down and kill vampires.
    • Season 2:
      • Nandor was the warlord who razed Nadja’s village.
      • "My name... is Guillermo de la Cruz."
    • Season 4:
      • The Guide has had numerous sexual ventures with the majority of the Van Helsing bloodline throughout the centuries. Hence, the reason behind her infatuation with Guillermo.
      • The reality renovation show, Go Flip Yourself, and its host, Bran Daltry, who have been making numerous appearances throughout the season are a convoluted ruse by Simon the Devious to, once again, claim Laszlo’s Witch’s @$$hole Hat for himself.
    • Season 5
      • Colin Robinson’s real name is Arthur Simon Santino. And Davy Crockett was his ex-boyfriend.
      • The Guide fabricated the hex and planned the imprisonment of the Roommates as vengeance against them for shunning her from their social circle.
      • Guillermo’s transformation into a vampire is so glacial because his vampire-hunting genetics/lineage is fighting against it.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: "Gizmo" actually is a nickname for "Guillermo" in Spanish-speaking countries (e.g. singer-songwriter Gizmo Varillas), although our Guillermo being from the US would obviously dislike the connection with the English word "gizmo" and in any case has the right to object to an Embarrassing Nickname he didn't ask for. In any case, it becomes pretty clear in the S2 finale that the vampires had no idea about this — their first guess for a plausible last name for a Mexican-American man named "Guillermo" is "Greenberg".
  • Running Gag: Nadja and Laszlo's familiars tend to get killed off in various accidents, much to their annoyance.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Invoked. The Vampire Council considers a vampire killing another vampire to be a horrible crime that has to be punished by death. However, if you are credited with killing 35 of the most powerful vampires in North America, the other vampires treat it as Klingon Promotion and figure that you are now the one in charge of the regional Vampire Council and you get to decide which rules apply to you.
  • Screw Yourself: When the vampires summon their own ghosts Laszlo's unfinished business was that he wasn't able to "climax" before Nadja killed him, but his ghostly hands are no good for satisfying himself. Vampire Laszlo's hands on the other hand apparently did an amazing job taking care of a centuries old unsatisfied ghost from the aftermath we're shown when Nadja walks into the room covered in white... ectoplasm.
  • Self-Immolation: In "Gail", Colin Robinson sets himself on fire with gasoline to prank Laszlo, revealing that he is in fact immune to it.
    "Just kidding. I'm fine. I'm fine. Just a little fire".
  • Shared Universe: With the original film (and, by extension, Wellington Paranormal). Viago, Deacon and Vladislav are shown to have become prominent members of the Vampiric Council in the time gap between the film and show. At the start of season 3, it's Viago who, via VHS tape, promotes Nandor, Nadja, Laszlo and Colin Robinson to heading the regional Vampiric Council for the Eastern Seaboard.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of the photographs of Laszlo and Nadja during the opening credits mimics the cover art of "This Corrosion", the goth rock anthem by The Sisters of Mercy.
    • The well that Nadja, Laszlo, and Nandor are stuck in by the Vampiric Council for daylight execution looks a a lot like the one used for the same purpose in Interview with the Vampire. They've not even cleared out their skeletons.
    • "Well then, what the fuck is Persian Frank Zappa doing on a horse?!" - How Nadja presents artistic evidence (a painting) for Nandor razing her village 200 years before she was born.
    • Laszlo mentions that he once travelled to a crossroads in California to make a Deal with the Devil for better guitar playing skills. However, the fabled crossroads where Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul to Satan is in Mississippi, meaning Laszlo was off by a few thousand miles.
    • Nandor used to believe that the Earth was on the backs of four elephants, supported by a giant turtle until Colin Robinson sets him straight.note 
    • The Vampiric Council headquarters are located in an ordinary office building alongside several low-rent businesses, much like the New Zealand consulate.
  • Show Within a Show: In the time between season 3 and 4, Laszlo becomes enamored with a Home and Garden tv show called Go Flip Yourself as his main source of entertainment. Other characters don't understand the appeal given how formulaic the show is and often turns out the same result every time, but Laszlo insists that the hosts truly understand home renovation and are people to aspire to. It's revealed in the spotlight episode featuring the crew of that show coming over to the vampires' house in Staten Island that it was actually a long con by Simon the Devious to infiltrate their house and steal Laszlo's cursed hat. Simon keeps making more episodes, even after completing his goal by stealing the hat.
  • Signature Sound Effect: Colin Robinson sometimes gets a rattlesnake rattle when he's engaging in draining.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Laszlo has a very inflated ego and seems to think of himself as a sexy, badass super-vampire. He’s really a bumbling loser.
  • Sock Puppet: In "The Return" Colin Robinson picks up the habit of feeding through trolling across various sock puppet accounts. He doesn't get much from each argument but makes up for it by volume.
  • The Soulless:
    • Implied by the ghosts of the vampires being summonable. Also by their general lack of empathy.
    • Nandor is unable to hypnotize the immigration officer during his interview. He suspects it's because all government workers are soulless husks.
  • Spanner in the Works: The Vampiric Council would have been completely successful in killing the nightwalkers had Colin not come by with a patio umbrella, allowing the others to transform into bats and escape.
  • Spiked Blood: When the housemates take the Baron out on the town.
    Nandor: (to the camera, wearing a traffic cone on his head) We drank the blood of some people, but the people were on drugs, and now I am a wizard.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Nadja, upon seeing the reincarnation of her old love Gregor, or 'Jeff' in modern day. She mentions she's 'seeing a man.' But he doesn't see her because she sneaks around behind him.
  • Status Quo Is God: Deconstructed. No matter what the vampires do or what new hobbies or life goals they pursue, they're inevitably shafted back to square one with no progress ever made in their immortal lives. The more the show explores the roteness of immortality, the further this is deconstructed. By the fourth season, the biggest change to the status quo—the death of regular cast member Colin Robinson and his subsequent reincarnation into a younger version of himself—has been undone, leaving Laszlo (who spent the entire season raising baby Colin as a surrogate parent and the entire season before that preparing for Colin's death) wordlessly devastated. Furthermore, Nandor's repeated efforts to stimulate himself have so thoroughly alienated himself from his once-loyal familiar Guillermo, causing the latter to realize that "nothing will change unless I change it," resulting in him betraying Nandor in the season 4 finale.
    Swiftly flow the days...
  • Stealing from the Till: After Nadja’s nightclub opens, she and Guillermo both begin siphoning off cash from the daily earnings. Guillermo gives the money to his family, whereas Nadja - considering how she owns the club in the first place - doesn’t seem to have any motivation beyond the thrill of it.
  • Stealing the Credit: After Guillermo discovers the exit to the witches' door maze, Colin Robinson repeatedly claims it was his expert puzzle-solving skills that led them out. Played with in that he was probably trying to annoy Guillermo in order to grab a quick snack. Subverted when the witches demand to know who figured out the door maze, whereupon Colin Robinson immediately starts saying it was him (mentioning he's somewhat of a puzzle solver) while Guillermo keeps confirming it was him who found the exit. They strap him in anyway.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Nandor is chatting up a sexy lady vampire when Colin butts in to kill the mood. Nandor berates him for interrupting, only to turn around to see that the woman is gone. When he turns around again, Colin is also gone.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Councillor Lazzaro did not appreciate Laszlo's gift of dead raccoons—or know that they were from him.
    • Guillermo is obviously traumatized over killing the Baron.
    • Jenna's roommate has been traumatized over seeing Jenna dead due to her being turned into a vampire.
    • After Colin drains the energy from almost ALL of his coworkers, the company collapses into financial ruin due to no one doing any work.
    • In 'Witches', Nandor and Laszlo are horrified (OK, only slightly put off) to learn that the witches' semen extraction will not be in quite the way they expected: 18th-century surgical instruments and unspeakable pain instead of the handjobs they assumed would be involved.
    Nandor: Ewww.
    Laszlo: ...Shit.
    • The Staten Island housemates seem to blithely assume that because they escaped their initial execution by the Vampiric Council the Council will now just let the matter rest and let them go about their unlives in peace... probably because Guillermo has been ruthlessly dispatching the endless series of assassins the Council has sent to take them out all year and lying to them about it so they won't know he's from a proud lineage of vampire hunters. As a result, when the Council sets a blatantly obvious trap for them at the Nouveau Théâtre des Vampires, they walk right into it.
  • The Tag: Some episodes have them, some don't.
  • Take That!: Episode 3 opens up on Twilight with both barrels when the Staten Island Werewolf Support Group is infuriated by the politically incorrect suggestion that they're all "Indians," with the sole werewolf who's actually Native American saying that he's not a werewolf "because he's a Native American. It's not an ethnic thing." This is a direct reference to the fact that Stephenie Meyer wrote all the werewolves as Quileutes.
  • Ten Paces and Turn: Presented with the option of repaying Jim the month's rent he skipped out on in San Diego, or duelling him, Laszlo opts for the latter. Trope option A (leg it) fulfilled when Laszlo's measured paces turn into a rapid walk and then...
    Laszlo: BAT! -poof-
    Nadja: He's not coming back, you know.
  • Time Skip: Every subsequent season after the first moves the show along a certain amount of time and the documentary makers check back in on the group. Season 2 takes place after summer has passed, season 3 after a month, and season 4 is the longest skip with a year.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: Laszlo has a feud with Jim the Vampire, from San Diego.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Season 2 begins by showing that Guillermo has become one as, in addition to his usual household duties, he's constantly having to fend off and kill vampire assassins sent to dispatch the main trio. He mentions that he's killed at least 10 such assassins, and is shown taking out a couple more as the episode progresses. Of course, given the season 1 reveal that he's descended from the legendary Van Helsing, this really isn't that surprising. This comes to a head in the season 2 finale, when Guillermo is a one-man wrecking crew at the vampire social; he's assembled quite the arsenal of vampire-killing gadgetry..
    • Also in season 2, Colin Robinson begins overloading on power from his coworkers and exhibits superhuman strength, flight, and the ability to copy himself, becoming so powerful he can throw people through walls with his draining power and weakening his housemates with his mere presence. While he loses these abilities by the end of the episode, he seems to have done it simply out of losing interest.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Laszlo, of all people. In season 2 he fixes a painting to make Nadja happy, tries to protect Guillermo from Colin Robinson's new powers, and gives Sean a good last night after he gets 'brain scramblies,' proclaiming him his best friend. His time as "Jackie Daytona" is largely spent befriending his tavern's staff and customers, and supporting the local women's volleyball team.
    • In Season Three, Laszlo befriends Colin Robinson and tries to help him research his vampiric nature for no reason other than to be nice.
  • Torment by Annoyance: Colin Robinson's morning cup of coffee. Throughout the series Colin Robinson also gets in jabs here and there on his housemates for a bit of a topup. They all expect this now, but seem to not consciously rein themselves in to discourage it.
    • After The Trial, Guillermo is carrying the three defendants in bat form, in a covered box. Colin Robinson can't help but torment them for a quick hit by smacking and shaking it.
      Colin Robinson: You guys awake? -taptap- Helloooo? -shakes box- Ohh no, a roller coaster for vampires!
  • Troll: Aside from boredom, Colin can also feed on feelings of anger, so when he is not attempting to bore people out of their skulls, he deliberately tries to be as huge of a nuisance to them as possible.
  • Trash Talk: None of the Vampiric Council believes Guillermo could have killed the Baron, and they let him know it. They really let him have it (although they don't know he's watching) when as part of the show in the kangaroo court, a child playing Guillermo attacks a vampire and is held off by the classic outstretched-hand-against-their-forehead-while-they-impotently-swing-at-the-air gag; the vampire audience laughs derisively.
  • True Companions: Colin may be The Friend Nobody Likes, but when the nightwalkers are sentenced to death by sunlight exposure, Colin shows up with a patio umbrella to save them—and Guillermo, too, who was running around terrified in the woods. Per Nadja's intoxicated comment in the previous episode, the sentiment is very much reciprocated.
  • Understatement: Nadja's rant about the Baron in Episode 2.
    Nadja: This is too much to ask. What a big, bloody, cheeky jerk, coming here, telling us to take over the whole of Staten Island just by ourselves, while I bet he's having a lovely bloody nap up there! ... Silly boy!
    • In Episode 6:
    The Baron: You know, this is going to sound odd, but I was thinking of killing you all tonight.
  • Unfortunate Search Results: Attempting to find prey for his masters, Guillermo searches "virgins in my area". The results are blurred but are implied to show porn. He remarks, "I don't know what I was expecting".
  • Unnecessary Roughness: Encouraged by Jim the Va— er, Jim Coach when he takes over coaching the volleyball team.
    Jim the Vampire: Don't be afraid to draw blood!
  • Vampires Sleep in Coffins: Although they prefer to sleep in coffins, typical vampires seem to be able to slumber anywhere as long as they aren't in direct sunlight and they have soil from their native land scattered around them. Without soil from their native land, they can't slumber properly and end up suffering the equivalent of heavy sleep deprivation in only a few hours. Psychic vampires don't have this limitation.
  • Vampire Procreation Limit: In this shows universe, humans bitten and drained by a vampire for food simply die. In order for them to become a vampire, they have to be actively sired by the vampire that bit them by being fed the vampire's blood. Many familiars to the vampires became a familiar in hopes of one day getting sired by their master (which most never do, despite promising otherwise).
  • Vampire Vannabe:
    • This is generally how vampires convince their familiars to serve them. Nandor got Guillermo to serve him by promising to make him a vampire, something Guillermo direly wants. Later, Guillermo is talking with other familiar, some very elderly, who have been waiting decades to be turned and are still entirely faithful that they will be, even though they've never heard of any familiar being made one.
    • Later averted with Nadja and Laszlo's new familiar, Topher, who mentions to Guillermo that he has no real desire to become a vampire, and just seems to enjoy hanging out with them.
    • Special mention goes to Celeste in Season 2, a familiar seemingly turned by her master who is building a 'community' that entices Guillermo. Turns out she's just faking it, her Master was never going to turn her and she just wanted to live the life for a bit.
  • Vampires Are Rich:
    • Played with. The housemate vampires act like misplaced European aristocracy, but they don't have access to modern currency and apparently depend on Colin Robinson to pay their rent.
    • Laszlo didn't buy Lucky Brew's — he only murdered the previous owner and took it over. It's not mentioned how he paid for his snazzy new pickup though.
    • Averted with Derek, who works at a convenience store for a paltry wage.
  • Vampires Own Nightclubs: Simon the Devious is the king of the Manhattan vampires and rules from a nightclub. Well, he did own a nightclub, until he also owned a cursed witch-skin hat.
    • Nadja later opens her own nightclub, which also eventually goes under.
  • Vampire Variety Pack: Most vampires in the setting look like regular people with vampire tells and powers. However, Baron Afanas, an older vampire, Looks Like Orlok, and the Sire, the forefather of all the vampires, is a winged, gargoyle-like creature who walks on all fours.
  • Verbal Tic: Nadja has a bloody punny one.
  • Villain Protagonist: While the vampires seem nice enough, they do kill people for food and keep future victims locked up in their basement.
  • Villains Out Shopping: In the first episode, Guillermo and Nandor go out shopping for party supplies like glitter and construction paper to prepare for the Baron's arrival. Nandor tries to pay for it all with centuries-old coinage and orders Guillermo to stab the cashier when he refuses to take it.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: The idea that vampires greatly prefer the blood of virginal victims from the film comes back in a big way in the series and drives the plot of several episodes. As opposed to the vampires in the film, who gamely accepted it when Jackie blatantly lied to them about the victims she lined up being virgins, these vampires can apparently smell and taste virginity and find the difference between virgin and non-virgin blood to be like the difference between wine and water.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Sean and Laszlo. The vitriol is almost entirely on Laszlo's part, though.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Vampires will violently vomit if they eat human food, even a tiny amount. One bite of pizza is enough to make Baron Anas vomit so hard he hovers in the air. At least he says the taste was worth it.
  • Werewolves Are Dogs: The werewolves pee on their territory, sniff each others' crotches, and are easily distracted by anything being thrown like a game of "fetch".
  • Wham Episode: The Season 2 finale is a moderate one, but still significantly changes the paradigm of the series. Guillermo outs himself as a vampire hunter to the Roommates when he infiltrates the Théâtre des Vampires to rescue them… and massacres every vampire patron in attendance apart from Vladislav.
  • Wham Line:
    • Season 3 Episode 9:
    Laszlo: "Colin Robinson is dying."
    • The last line of Season 4, and how.
    Guillermo: You're going to turn me into a vampire.
    • Season 5 Episode 1: After Guillermo hypothetically asks what would happen if a familiar were to be turned into a vampire by someone who is not his master.
    Nandor: If that were to happen , Guillermo… then, I will kill you.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Season 3 Episode 9: Nandor doesn't believe Colin Robinson is dead, as they have pranked him before. Nandor taps Colin Robinson's face, which collapses in on itself, with Nandor's entire hand going through Colin Robinson's face.
    • Season 3 finale: Laszlo goes into the basement to say his last goodbyes to Colin's body, and discovers that a baby version of Colin has torn itself out of his body.
    • Season 4 finale: When young Colin enters a closet full of journals and lots of familiar suits...
  • What a Drag: Played for laughs when Laszlo, because of his insistence on wearing a cursed hat, gets his cape caught in a taxi door. It drives off, stops, then keeps driving some more.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Jenna appears in the Cold Open of Episode 4, and we see how she's been doing since being turned in Episode 2. They don't appear outside the opening. We eventually see much more of them in Episode 8.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Nandor suffers from this, having become tired with his immortal life. He even joins a vampire exercise cult in an effort to feel more human and alive again.
  • Wizard Duel:
    • Colin and Evie end up in a energy vampire duel, with them trying to drain each other's energy (Colin by spouting boring facts, and Evie by telling melodramatic sob stories). When it ends in a draw, Colin suggests that the two should try to work together instead.
    • Nandor and Colin start to have one at Animal Control before the deskman interrupts them.
    • Laszlo and Simon the Devious engage in a running duel over possession of Laszlo's witch-skin hat in 'The Return'. The hat has about the effect on the duel one would expect.
  • Women Are Wiser: Downplayed. While Nadja displays this on occasion, being the only vampire to take issue with Laszlo's cursed hat, or the only one to think openly plotting the Baron's murder is a bad idea, she pretty much is just as off-kilter as Laszlo and Nandor.
  • Worth It: The Baron, drunk on a night out on the town, decides to give pizza a try despite vampires going into violent bursts of projectile vomiting if they consume human food; the slice (complete with a "hint of garlic") is enough to send The Baron careening off the ground and bouncing off buildings into the sky for about 30 seconds from the force of his vomiting, but, after a crash-landing, he still declares this trope for the pizza.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: During his fight with Nandor, Guillermo does an impressive Frog Splash off of Nandor's coffin (though he yells "PLANCHA!" as a Shout-Out to lucha libre).
  • Your Head Asplode: Exaggerated - when an already-turned vampire is attempted to be turned again, the end result is his entire body bursting like a water balloon.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): What We Do In The Shadows


Colin Robinson

Colin explains the creation of the universe to Nandor, a 750-year-old vampire who initially thought reality was created by giant elephants and a turtle.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheSmartGuy

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