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FX plays vampires for laughs in ‘What We Do in the Shadows’

They’re too old to be sharing a house.

By a couple of centuries.

All told, though, the trio of vampires at the juicy heart of the mockumentary series “What We Do in the Shadows” (10 p.m. Wednesday, FX) are living pretty well considering they have no discernible means of income and spend their waking hours — aka nights — annoying each other.

Think of the comedy as “Bram Stoker’s The Office.”

When Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi debuted the movie “What We Do in the Shadows” — which they co-wrote, co-directed and co-starred in — during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Clement was one half of the folk-comedy duo Flight of the Conchords and Waititi was a guy who’d directed a handful of episodes of Clement’s HBO comedy.

Five years later, though, as they’re about to unveil the TV adaptation of their cult favorite, Clement is still one half of Flight of the Conchords while Waititi is the guy who directed a little movie called “Thor: Ragnarok” and was thought to be in the running to helm “Guardians of the Galaxy 3” until Disney regained its senses and rehired James Gunn.

They’re still involved — Clement as the creator who wrote and directed several episodes, Waititi as an executive producer who directed three episodes including the pilot — but they’ve transported the series from suburban New Zealand to Staten Island and focused on a new group of the anachronistic undead.

Foppish Laszlo (Matt Berry) and his beloved, seductive Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) fled Europe 200 years ago to escape overwhelming prejudice.

Laszlo: “They didn’t like the color of our skin.”

Nadja: “Or that we killed and ate people.”

Laszlo: “Probably more that.”

Nandor the Relentless (Kayvan Novak), a legendary terrorizer from the Ottoman Empire, twice turned the Euphrates red with blood. Now he’s been reduced to meddling in city council matters.

In addition to the whole death-by-sunlight thing, they’re burdened by the presence of Guillermo (Harvey Guillen), Nandor’s “familiar,” the mortal who serves as a sort of besotted valet. “But sometimes he’s a little too familiar, you know what I mean?” Nandor complains in an accent so unplaceable, he seems ripe for a “Perfect Strangers” reboot. “He’s always just … there.”

The only being who causes them more grief is Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), the one vampire in the house capable of processing the culture of the current millennium. Unlike the other blood-fueled regulars, Colin’s an energy vampire — he feeds off the energy he drains from others via his insufferable chitchat.

“What We Do in the Shadows” veers from the bizarre to the brilliantly silly.

It’s blessed with absurdities such as gynecologically contoured topiaries and some very unimpressive decorations for a blood ceremony, in the form of cheap streamers, because Nandor mistook crepe paper for “creepy” paper.

Even though the blood of virgins is considered a delicacy — and Guillermo introduces the vampires to the local community college’s Live Action Role Play club — Nadja has her standards. “I don’t want these virgins,” she sighs. “They’re going to taste too sad.”

The audience for this sort of thing probably won’t be terribly large.

And there’s no telling how long FX will be able to keep cranking out delightfully nichey series like this now that Disney, its mercurial new corporate overlord, has assumed control of the channel.

But it’s going to be fun — and funny — while it lasts.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

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