“This What We Do in the Shadows Spin-off Deserves More Love”
The series released four seasons up until 2020, but was then impacted by the COVID pandemic. In addition, Clement and Waititi told Entertainment Weekly in 2021 that they were working on a new project “unlike they’ve ever done before,” and Wellington Paranormal would not see another season.
Wellington Paranormal vs. What We Do in the Shadows
Despite this news, Wellington Paranormal is still well worth the watch. The series follows three New Zealand police officers that appear in the original film, known as Sergeant Maaka and Officers Minogue and O’Leary, who specializes in paranormal phenomena in the Wellington area.
Wellington Paranormal has a relatively simple premise but has a goldmine of humorous material. While What We Do in the Shadows specializes specifically in the lifestyle of vampires, Wellington Paranormal touches on demons, aliens, werewolves, ghosts, evil clowns, and zombies. There are plenty of other goodies in the series as well that, like the duo’s other projects (Flight of the Conchords, for example), are lovable and fun.
Wellington Paranormal perhaps had bad timing but still deserves praise and maybe even a spin-off. Here is why Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s series Wellington Paranormal deserves more love.
Wellington Paranormal Stars a Talented, All-Kiwi Cast
Being associated with the What We do in the Shadows franchise has helped these three Kiwi stars make a name for themselves in their home country; it doesn’t hurt that all of their characters are named after them. Mike Minogue, known as Officer Minogue, was originally involved in the production area of multiple films, including Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and Avatar, before he pursued acting. When he auditioned for What We Do in the Shadows, it was his first acting role that helped him get on to Wellington Paranormal and eventually Taika Waititi’s film Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Karen O’Leary, known as Officer O’Leary in the series, was originally a teacher and early childhood educator before she started acting in Wellington, New Zealand. O’Leary was encouraged to audition for the part in What We Do in the Shadows which led her on to Wellington Paranormal and the 2018 comedy The Breakeruppers.
Lastly, Maaka Pohatu was an actor and musician before he came across Wellington Paranormal. He is the founder of a Modern Maori Quartet. It is unclear how he landed his role on Wellington Paranormal, but he had gained major acting experience in the 2012 film Two Little Boys. Together, the three actors portray three excitable but lovable cops with unusually lax reactions to the paranormal.
Wellington Paranormal’s Mockumentary Style is Endlessly Funny
Like the What We Do in the Shadows film and TV series, Wellington Paranormal is also shot in a reality TV format. Although the show includes the same kind of wobbly camera action as its predecessor, Wellington Paranormal feels like a comedic version of Cops, where we follow the two officers to their mysterious calls. Some of the best conversations captured between officers O’Leary and Minogue are in the police cruiser via their dash camera. In one instance, the partners discuss what they’ll do if they are fired as officers and consider being ambulance drivers or Dancing With the Stars contestants as an alternative. It’s this kind of lackadaisical hangout humor that makes the show unique.
The funniest part of the O’Leary and Minogue duo is their naive perspective on paranormal events and their tendency to overlook obvious things. This was prevalent in their appearance in the What We Do in the Shadows film when they don’t react to the levitating vampires or barbecued flesh smell in the vampire residence.
Wellington Paranormal is Set in New Zealand’s Capital
Wellington is the perfect setting for this series because the city has its fair share of real paranormal activity. A Stuff article by Tom Hunt, for instance, details several supernatural hot spots in the area. The majority of the series is also filmed in Wellington, where one cast member, O’Leary, grew up, making the story closer to reality. It also helps that the three stars maintain their real names in the show, and that some interactions are improvised with a loose script. At times, Wellington Paranormal has actually been mistaken for a true story, according to Ciemaholic. The characters were so well-loved in New Zealand that the cast worked with the New Zealand police to make a video, starring Wellington native O’Leary, on COVID-19 guidelines.
Although Wellington Paranormal has concluded, it does not mean that we won’t see O’Leary, Minogue, and Seargent Pohatu again. They are an excellent comedic team, and it is unlikely Clement and Waititi will exclude them from future projects. Wellington Paranormal is currently available for streaming on HBO Max and CW.
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