Flight of the Conchords mined a lot of humor about New Zealanders being extremely behind on pop-culture trends. Looks like the joke is on us: This week, US audiences will finally lay eyes on Wellington Paranormal, a three-year-old spinoff of Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s 2014 hit vampire rockumentary What We Do in the Shadows. The show will air weekly on the CW beginning Sunday, July 11, with episodes hitting HBO Max the next day.
Unlike the also-beloved FX spinoff starring Matt Berry — which takes place in the same universe as Clement and Waititi's squabbling vampire roommates but is set in Staten Island — Wellington Paranormal is centered on two supporting players from the original film: Mike Minogue and Karen O'Leary.
In the 2014 film — which played like The Real World: Wellington, but with ancient vampires in place of horny coeds — Minogue and O'Leary portrayed two cops dispatched to the vampires' home for a welfare check. In one of the more memorable bits in a film filled with them, they are hypnotized by the vampires and unable to see the carnage in front of them, cheerily chatting up the undead murderers as if they were just called to a noise complaint.
In the spinoff series, Minogue and O'Leary get big promotions. Not only do they get actual names — Officers Minogue and O'Leary, as it were — but also a new assignment: The pair plays Mulder and Scully in a police procedural about the macabre underworld that reportedly plays out like a cross between The Office, Cops and The X-Files.
Along with the vampires and werewolves introduced in What We Do in the Shadows, the first season introduces a vast local mythology of creatures for the bumbling cops to interact with, among them a particularly possessive demon confronted in the pilot episode, plus zombies, ghosts, aliens and murderous clowns.
Wellington Paranormal is already a critical and audience hit in New Zealand. It is executive produced by Waititi and Clement, with the Flight of the Conchords star also serving as writer and director of several episodes.
So far, Wellington Paranormal has aired three six-episode seasons in New Zealand, plus a web series, COVID safety videos and a Christmas special in which Satan poses as a mall santa. It's currently unclear whether the CW/HBO Max run will include all three seasons or stick to the original season 1 release of six.
What We Do In the Shadows has proven extremely enduring for a micro-budget New Zealand indie. The film launched Waititi into the directorial stratosphere, paving the way for Thor: Ragnarok and the Oscar-nominated Jojo Rabbit. The Emmy-nominated FX series returns for a third season this fall, while a second spinoff focused on Rhys Darby's rowdy lycan — titled We're Wolves — is reportedly still in the works.
Wellington Paranormal debuts Sunday, July 11 on the CW, with episodes streaming on HBO Max the Monday after each airing.
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