Roush Review: Laugh Till You Scream in ‘Wellington Paranormal’

Wellington Paranormal CW Minogue SergeantMaaka O'Leary
Stan Alley/The CW

Attention, all Slayers: New Zealand is calling. The clueless coppers of the hilarious horror spoof Wellington Paranormal—from the creators of What We Do in the Shadows, using a similar Cops-like mock-doc format—obviously need Buffy-level help.

This becomes evident almost immediately in the first episode, which brilliantly mixes the banal with the bizarre as Officers O’Leary (the deadpan Karen O’Leary) and Minogue (jittery, malaprop-prone Mike Minogue) encounter a growling teenage female who’s apparently possessed by the demon Bazu’aal and blandly conclude: “She’s really unwell.”

Was the spume of sulfuric vomit maybe a clue?

Taking the girl in for interrogation, where she literally and freakishly climbs the precinct walls, they offer her a lozenge and a bad-cop act that goes little further than, “Stop that, it’s a bit scary.” They can’t quite grasp the fact that the demon can hop between bodies, including into her dad, whose neck does one of those Linda Blair-like Exorcist swivels, prompting his wife to cluck, “Your neck is going to get really sore and I’m not massaging it tonight.” And thus does Wellington Paranormal make the abnormal normal.

Before long, the officers are indoctrinated into their squad’s top-secret paranormal unit, led by pompous Sgt. Maaka (Maaka Pohatu), who humble-brags in a later episode amid an infestation of zombie cops, “I happen to know a lot about the walking dead…from watching The Walking Dead.”

Invariably outmatched by the supernatural forces they encounter, the bumbling heroes plod on from mishap to misadventure, reacting to an invasion of plantlike aliens by wondering: “If we identify a UFO, does that just mean it’s an FO?”

Wellington Paranormal Minogue Extraterrestrial Flora O'Leary

Stan Alley/New Zealand Documentary Board Ltd

Whatever the menace—be it partying ghosts from the 1970s, a she-wolf or vampire—their matter-of-fact ineptitude is a goofy glory to behold.

Wellington Paranormal, Series Premiere, Sunday, July 11, 9/8c, The CW