HBO’s absurdist horror-comedy Los Espookys is the funniest (and weirdest) show you’re not watching

Seeing as it’s Halloween season, there seems to be an abundance of horror-centric shows on television right now. But the brilliantly bizarre HBO series Los Espookys might be the strangest – and funniest – of them all. Ever since the first season of Los Espookys premiered in 2019, the Spanish-language series has become a sleeper hit, an outlandish fever dream set in an unnamed Latin American country. Created by Julio Torres, Ana Fabrega, and Fred Armisen, the show follows a group of millennial goth friends who turn their passion for horror into a business – by staging fake supernatural events for clients who pay them. 

Fake hauntings and monster attacks are their stock and trade. In the pilot episode, the team are hired by an older priest losing favour with his congregation to a younger cleric with great hair and glossy lips. He asks Los Espookys to rig up an exorcism to boost his reputation. But in the world of Los Espookys, real supernatural phenomena bump up against the handcrafted stuff the group creates. For example, a member of the group is possessed by a water demon whose only goal is to watch the 2010 Colin Firth film The King’s Speech (she’s disappointed when she finally does). Having accomplished her goal, said water demon abandons her parasitic ways and decides to find a job – ending up as an unpaid intern in the U.S. Embassy.

Yeah, it’s that kind of surreal. And after a three-year hiatus due the pandemic, it’s such a joy to have Los Espooky’s brand of off-kilter, oddball humor back on TV again. Amazingly, the show seems to have gotten even stranger – and funnier – in its sophomore season. Picking up shortly after the events of the first season, the gang is once again up to their old tricks. Though all different in comedic disposition, each character hits all the right notes to make for an ensemble unlike any out there. There is the more measured Úrsula (Cassandra Ciangherotti), the oblivious Tati (Ana Fabrega), the arrogant Andrés (Julio Torres), and the uncertain Renaldo (Bernardo Velasco) who have all gotten better at the horror gig. Oh, there is also the return of Tico (Fred Armisen) as well as some other new faces that prove to be rather glorious surprises. 

No gag goes to waste and every additional horror creation they make remains side-splittingly funny. It is as ridiculous as ever, though it never coasts on what we’ve already seen as it grows into something new. The story this go-around centers around all the most pressing questions of our time surrounding power, literature, and what happens after we die. There is Renaldo, who has begun being haunted by the recent winner of a beauty pageant who was impaled by a stage prop, Tati discovering a new talent for re-writing famous novels, and Úrsula finding herself involved with a political campaign. Oh, and Andrés is mostly just looking out for himself once again as he deals with the fallout of not getting married at the end of last season.

While all the characters get their moments to shine, there is one who emerges as the standout: Tati just keeps getting funnier and funnier this season. Much of this is due to how in command of every single scene Fabrega is, hitting all the lines with a sincerity that ensures every single joke and aside kills. The way she captures the obliviousness of Tati, which seems to have only grown since last season, never stops being uproariously funny. While comedic performers can often get undervalued when it comes to acting, this is yet another reminder of how a great character is only as good as the person playing them. Getting to see Fabrega find new comedic ground for Tati at every turn is joyous to behold.

Without giving away what she gets up to this season, each new path that she goes down arrives at a destination that proves to be funnier than most other comedies out there. Even if the show was just built around Tati’s journey, it would be worth watching for her alone. It’s obviously an ensemble piece, but it is Fabrega who can turn the most simple of situations funny. She is an agent of unassuming comedic chaos, making the most of every single moment that she gets and bringing us along with her as we get a closer look inside Tati’s mind. When it comes to the all-time great sitcom characters, she belongs on the top shelf.

The gang’s horror gigs also remain a highlight in Los Espookys season two. The team gets hired to create a friendly classroom monster who dies when it defies the teacher’s authority, stage an archeological dig site that proves gay men have always worn one-dangly earring, and plenty more. Each new project illustrates how much can be accomplished on a low budget with a little ingenuity, both by the fictional Los Espookys characters and through Los Espooky’s very real and very talented craftspeople. Their unconventional plans are delightful to hear, just as the singular execution is a treat to watch unfold.

Perhaps the most joyous aspect of Los Espookys, however, is the degree of surreality the comedy is able to inject into the hum-drum existences of its characters. Beyond Andrés’ connections to otherworldly figures and celestial bodies, Tati is able to parlay her glorified book transcriptions into a successful career, while Úrsula lives up to her long-established reputation of mythical incorruptibility as she attempts to block her country’s far-right president from re-election. With its idiosyncratic comedic voice, cool synth score, and unforgettably gonzo visuals, Los Espookys is exactly the kind of deliriously ludicrous and totally unique show that stands out amidst a sea of homogenous streaming content.

Rating: 9/10

Stream Los Espookys on HBO Go.