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REVIEW: 'What We Do in the Shadows' returns with big swings

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When last we saw the folks from “What We Do in the Shadows,” they were in a heap of trouble.

Thanks to Nandor’s familiar, Guillermo (Harvey Guillen), they were targeted by members of the Vampiric Council for killing “37 or 38” of their own.

To make sure Guillermo wouldn’t turn on them, they locked him in the basement and fed him raw chicken.

Little did they know he’s much smarter than they thought. Guillermo had a way out of the cage and ample time to watch “Gilmore Girls.”

In the third season of “Shadows,” there’s plenty to embrace, including promotions for everyone. Since the Vampiric Council is short on leaders in the tri-state area, Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Laszlo (Matt Berry), Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) and Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) get the nod (via VHS tape, no less). To thank Guillermo for sparing them, the four name him the vampires’ bodyguard – a dubious honor. “It’s a big bloody step up from familiar,” Nadja insists.

And then? It’s a matter of adjusting to the new roles.

In the season opener, writer Paul Simms sets the table nicely, letting others serve up some delicious plots in the ensuing installments.

By episode four, the gang is up for a road trip and, sure enough, Atlantic City (and all its charms) proves a real winner. Nadja thinks she’s reconnecting with the Rat Pack; Guillermo is given a world-class assignment.

Guillermo, though, isn’t as enamored with his employers as he used to be. Now with more than Nandor to consider, he’s willing to speak up. It’s a credit to Guillen’s skills that Guillermo can transition from patsy to vampire slayer.

To complicate matters, a Vampiric Council representative (Kristen Schaal) hangs around longer than her new bosses would like. She has a direct line to the supreme leader and isn’t afraid to use it.

Schaal is a great addition – and a nice foil for Demetriou. Just when you think she’s back at headquarters, she turns up.

While Berry isn’t given as much to do in the first handful of episodes, Novak has his hands full at an all-night gym and a potential love interest.

“Shadows” thrives on its characters’ inability to keep pace with the times. Like the VCR, they’re stuck in another era and convinced they’re state-of-the-art.

Novak and Demetriou are priceless reactors; Robinson (the “energy” vampire) is everyone you can’t stand in your office. Toss in Berry and Guillen and the trick is making sure there’s enough for everyone to do.

Luckily, Simms (who’s also an executive producer) isn’t afraid to take big swings. He bats with the best of them and comes away with a series that scores inning after inning. “What We Do in the Shadows” is a clear comedy league leader.

"What We Do in the Shadows" airs on FX.

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