Thursday, September 8, 2011

Death Valley - MTV

Don’t tell MTV that horror is passé. The success of their summer show Teen Wolf has prompted them to dive headlong into the genre with the reality/comedy/horror mash-up Death Valley, premiering this Monday, August 29th.

The show is based on the premise of an overt supernatural threat: werewolves, vampires and other creatures of the night arising in the San Fernando Valley. In response to the new danger, the LAPD creates a specialized squad – the Undead Task Force – to fight the monsters. A documentary camera crew follows them around a la Cops and records their various cases.

The show takes its cue from a number of other pop culture touchstones, incorporating elements of True Blood, George A. Romero and The X-Files in addition to Cops. The tone remains resolutely tongue-in-cheek, however: continuing the backlash against Twilight-style pretense with doses of self-referential humor. It also promises fair amounts of gore, as befit its 10:30 PM start date, and high-end make-up and visual effects designed to appeal to long-standing horror fans.

High concept - full retard in the execution. Just read the premise and watch the video at THIS site. Again, THE MAN has made it too hard to find a embedded file that could be watched from Canada. For those of you scoring from home that is twice now that I can't share a trailer of the show I have written about. I am most annoyed because this one is great and deserves to be enjoyed by a large audience like my audience.

The show owe's alot to the Naked Gun/Airplane type of comedy. Some slapstick but also there is strong influence from the improv stylings of 'Reno 910'.

The first episode also combined everything from 'Cops' to 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' to 'The Wire' to 'Scooby Do' but does it in an environment of ultra realism that a strong make-up and effects department can run wild in.

There must have been 20 different creatures in the pilot episode alone and each had to be 'dealt with' in their own way. I liked all the fun slicing and dicing and crushing and shooting and beating with an aluminum bat and all the bones cracking and the gallons of oozing fluids. I liked the cartoon mayhem and the clear lack of any inspirational messages.

The insanity that would be generated in any person serving as a cop in this situation is played for broad comedy that usually concists of funny and gruesome ways to kill the freaks. Jumping and punching and kicking and smashing and shooting is just another day at the office.

The relationship between all the character and the blase or psychotic way they deal with this special cop beat is the strongest part of a strong pilot. I immediately sympathized (or didn't) with several of the characters but none more than the sound guy who has the worst first day on the job.

The film crew is always in the way and more of a threat to everyone than a help. I hope there is a running joke about sound guys getting killed at ridiculously high percentages. The numbers of boom mike operators who were living after a full month on the job would be very low and would make this more dangerous an occupation than even Bering Sea crab fisherman .

The make-up is particularly gruesome and gushy but perfect for this fictional world. They try to do a lot in the first episode and it worked for me 95% of the time. I appreciate the whole goofy vibe this program projected.

The zombies are either the slow or fast ones and you never know. The choreography of the fight scenes are slick and exciting.

There is ONE arrest of a guy getting caught being a werewolf during a full moon after said guy is pulled over, that is one of the funniest things I have seen this year. If you laugh at that scene then you will like the entire satiric tone of this script. I hope they maintain this high quality as the series moves along.

Death Valley has great potential to be a fun show if they adhere to my number one entertainment adage - the higher the concept, the more full retard you have to be with the execution. So far the creators are following my advice to the letter.


And for those of you who need both sides in your debate. Here is a review I randomly found on line from a person who HATED the show I just gushed about. Vive le Internet.

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