It must always be a dark and stormy night in New Zealand because the guy who brought us vampires in "What We Do in the Shadows" is at it again. Only this time he's tracking the cops as they pursue the elusive paranormal. With ghosts and spirits afoot, who ya gonna call?
Series creator Jemaine Clement, 47, whom we remember from "Flight of the Conchords," says he meant his show, "Wellington Paranormal," to be really frightening. But something happened in the translation.
"The first episode, which is [about] the possessed girl, was kind of scary when we first made it," he recalls. "And then we did the second episode, which was about alien plants, and the plants looked so silly when they moved, you just couldn't make them scary. And we leaned into that and made it sillier.
"And when we were editing them, I noticed that I could show my kid the 'aliens' one and not the 'possession' one. So we went back and tried to edit the 'possession' one to bear a bit more light. And that set the tone for the rest of the show, which is kind of lighter than we originally intended. And quite a good family show."
The CW has imported the series (which already played in New Zealand), airing it Sunday nights.
"Wellington Paranormal" is part "The X-Files" and part "Monty Python," layered with that skewed Kiwi sense of humor. There's something about the New Zealand character that lends itself to parody, Clement says.
"I think New Zealanders find it very difficult to emote, and that's kind of naturally funny to watch people struggling to say how they feel. The understated replies that we have all the time in this show are quite true to the New Zealand character, I think," he adds.
The Mulder and Scully counterparts on "Wellington Paranormal" are Mike Minogue, as Officer Minogue, and Karen O'Leary, as Officer O'Leary.
Both of them have transmogrified from "What We Do in the Shadows." O'Leary never acted before "Shadows" and in her "civilian" life is a kindergarten teacher.
She didn't even audition for the series, she says. "I had no idea what I was even doing. In fact, I don't even think I knew it was an audition at the time. It was just because one of the parents at my work was the casting director. So she got me to have a chat with a casting agent, and it turned out it was an audition," she says.
She thinks it worked in her favor and maybe even helped the show as she had no idea what to expect.
"So I went in with very low expectations. And they were all easily met because they were so low," she says, laughing.
Minogue was what the New Zealanders call a "runner." "I would drive a car and go and get things. So I've done it for about five years and then suddenly, somebody at my work asked if I wanted to audition for a movie, which I didn't want to do," he says.
He had never been interested in acting. But when he auditioned and got the role, he just went from there.
"I did a very serious role in an anti-apartheid police drama, which Jemaine saw. And it was a dramatic role. And Jemaine saw that and he goes, 'Oh, this guy's funny!' Even though I was doing my best dramatic performance," Minogue recalls.