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What We Do in the Shadows has lessons to teach, if The Munsters reboot has ears to hear them

1313, the James Wan-produced "re-imagining" of Universal Horror monsters living together, can be both dark AND fun

Image credit: FX, CBS

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What We Do in the Shadows is the spiritual successor The Munsters. Sure, they're different in tone - The Munsters is the Dick Van Dyke Show to What We Do in the Shadows' The Office - but their premise is the same: a TV comedy about established monsters living under the same roof. You could have said that WWDITS is the "modern" version of the Munsters but, very soon, that's going to change.

James Wan and Universal Studios recently announced they were partnering for 1313, a dark reimagining/reboot of the Munsters headed to TVs soon. Just as WWDITS picked up the baton from the original Munsters, this new show has the opportunity to do so with FX's hit vampire comedy. In doing so, there are some helpful lessons The Munsters reboot could learn from What We Do in the Shadows; here are the most important.

Don't Be Afraid of Being Scary

Image credit: CBS

Before I start, let me clarify: I love the Munsters. So as I'm offering this advice, don't think I'm dissing one of my favorite favorite retro TV shows. That said, for a show that's about monsters, the titular family in that show never does anything particularly monstrous.

On the other hand, What We Do in the Shadows repeatedly reminds its viewers that the main characters are murderers - no buts about it. We've watched Guillermo make some really uncomfy moral decisions, and yet, we still ended up loving him and the monsters he lives with. The monsters of 1313 should similarly not be shy about their natures.

Don't Be Afraid to Worldbuild

Image credit: FX

A lesser vampire show would have relied on the already voluminous lore surrounding creatures of the night, but What We Do in the Shadows decided to do something more. Along with establishing character backgrounds and episode premises, it build a world of its own, with rules, hierarchies and histories that stayed consistent throughout its five seasons.

And I'm not just talking about recurring gags like Laszlo's cursed hat. I'm talking about Nadja's ghost becoming a doll becoming a full cast member. I'm talking about getting to know Guillermo's family as Van Helsings. I'm talking about the biology of Energy Vampires.


Related: The Addams Family and the Munsters aren't the same thing... except, maybe they kind of are?


The old Munsters show was never that rich. Again, that comes back to the fact that it wasn't written for longer story arcs. But with 1313, The Munsters have the opportunity to become part of a larger mythos, one that changes how we think about vampires, werewolves, or Frankensteins (of course I count them as their own species). Not only would this make for more modern TV, but it would increase the chances of an eventual spinoff.

I'm just saying, I'd be down for a Grampa prequel.

Don't Be Afraid of Roommates

Image credit: FX

Alright, this last piece of advice may be a bit blasphemous. However, since I doubt that The Munsters fanbase is into doxxing, I'm going to go for it.

One thing that What We Do in the Shadows does very well is establishing a bond between people who are very much unrelated by blood (well... in the traditional sense). It makes for a unique dynamic - there are no familial structures to either rely on or spoof, but at the same time, the vampire crew aren't bonded in the same way that workplace sitcom characters are.

So hear me out - something What We Do in the Shadows proves is that the new Munsters don't necessarily have to be a traditional family. There are plenty of ways they can connect beyond that, and with the nuclear family becoming less of a part of everyday American life, some of those ways could even be more relatable.

I mean, a group outcasts that lives by night and fears the church sounds like every New York roommate situation I know.


In the immortal words of Danny Elfman, "Life's no fun without a good scare." We couldn't agree more, which is why we think you should check out horror aficionado Greg Silber's list of the best horror movies of all time. Or, if you've already seen those classics, check out our list of the most underrated horror movies from the past couple years. And if you've already seen all of those, Let us tell you what to look forward to (or dread) in Popverse's list of upcoming horror movies.

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