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Why the Long Delay for More 'Los Espookys'

The creators of HBO comedy Los Espookys
(From l.): ‘Espookys’ creators Fred Armisen, Ana Fabrega and Julio Torres. (Image credit: HBO)

Season two of HBO horror comedy Los Espookys (opens in new tab) is finally back Friday, Sept. 16. Fred Armisen, Ana Fabrega and Julio Torres created the show, about a group of horror fans who make horror their business. 

Los Espookys premiered way back in June 2019. The series shoots in Chile, and that nation’s strict rules about COVID-19 were the prime factor in the delay. “Their COVID protocols were a lot stricter than they were here, and so we were just kind of waiting to see, when will the border open, when will they allow people to leave their neighborhoods, when will people be allowed to gather in enclosed spaces?” Fabrega told B+C. “There was a lot more we had to monitor before we were able to go back.”

When Los Espookys was first announced, HBO described it as a “primarily Spanish-language show [that] follows a group of friends who turn their love for horror into a peculiar business, providing horror to those who need it, in a dreamy Latin American country where the strange and eerie are just part of daily life.”

Horror-movie aficionados, the main characters set up horror spectacles for those who want or need it, whether it’s someone hosting a haunted house, a quinceañera or some other get-together. 

Armisen initially envisioned the show set in Mexico City, and the creators were adamant that it be a Spanish-language show. Fabrega mentioned the frustration of seeing a show with all Hispanic characters, speaking English. She said there was “no pushback” from HBO at any point about language.

Torres added that the show was acquired “out of a very playful curiosity from HBO,” along the lines of, “we don’t know what this is gonna be, but it sounds like it could be fun.”

It helps having Lorne Michaels as an executive producer, which is typical of a comedy starring a Saturday Night Live alumnus such as Armisen. The producers say Michaels is pretty hands-off. He’s given it his “blessing,” said Torres, “and lets it be what it wants to be.”

Bernardo Velasco and Cassandra Ciangherrotti are in the cast along with Armisen, Fabrega and Torres. Armisen plays a valet parking attendant whose parking skills are the envy of many. 

Season two reviews don’t seem to have yet landed, but season one did well. The Guardian said: (opens in new tab) “Plenty of new comedies aim for originality, but few reach the heights of individuality than the charming Los Espookys (Sky Comedy) does in its debut. This Spanish-language series is an HBO import which feels quite unlike anything else on television, and it inhabits its own oddball skin so easily that it takes a moment to realise just how slyly surreal and clever it is.”

The creators are pleased with how season one was received. “People responded to it well and it got a nice little following,” said Fabrega. 

Torres said the pandemic saw a lot of people find a quirky older show they missed the first time around. Los Espookys too may find a broader audience down the road. “Many years from now, long after the show is shut down, people will be like, Oh my god, I stumbled onto this show and I really love it,” he said, mentioning the “quiet cult-following quality” of Los Espookys

Torres described the show as playful and surreal. Fabrega likens Los Espookys to “a live-action cartoon.”

“It’s very silly and leans into that,” she added, “without being self-serious.” ■

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.