FAR EAST, SOUTH ASIA AND AUSTRALASIA
This month’s quick TV review comes from New Zealand. I’m always trying to find things to watch with my teenagers, as they are inclined to hole themselves away in their room or to sit in silence with headphones on, deep in their phones. So I was over-excited to learn that a spin-off of Taika Waititi’s 2014 vampire mockumentary feature What we do in the Shadows, recently adapted for TV in the UK (with great performances by Matt Berry and Natasia Demetriou), was about to be serialised on NOW TV.
Wellington Paranormal retains the mockumentary format, as hapless cops Minogue and O’Leary are filmed carrying out their roles as part of Wellington’s covert paranormal unit. The really quite small city of Wellington seems to be the most supernatural and spooktastic place in the world, as the police find themselves embroiled in cases involving aliens, werewolves and demonic possession, as well as straightforward hauntings. However, their increasing wealth of experience doesn’t seem to improve their ability to identify supernatural phenomena, and they are more likely to hand a parking ticket to a zombie than launch straight into chop-its-head-off mode. The deadpan acting is quite an achievement in itself, carried off with aplomb by the two leads, played by their namesakes Mike Minogue and Karen O’Leary, and there are plenty of laughs as a result.
Although created by Waititi and Jemaine Clement, Waititi was not directly involved in the writing and directing of the series, which was written by Clement, together with Paul Yates, Melanie Bracewell and Jessica Hansell, and directed by Clement, Jackie van Beek and Tim van Dammen. It’s silly rather than properly creepy, but might be scary for under-12s. The show, which currently runs to three seasons, is entertaining rather than outstanding – but I’ll take that.