Monday, September 19, 2011

New TV Roundup - Death Valley

Now here's a series with a concept I can get behind. From MTV comes Death Valley, a new comedy series that plays as a mockumentary of a COPS style reality show. This time though it's about police officers in LA hunting down vampires, werewolves, and zombies.

And with the call "Now lets go out there and kill something", Death Valley just eviscerated its way into my heart. I have to say I was apprehensive of this show when I first heard of it. Sure it covers some ground that I enjoy with monsters galore, but I honestly wasn't sure the comedy would work, especially when paired with some seriously excessive gore. Generally I like my horror to be serious and scary, and its the rare case, like with Shaun of the Dead, when I think adding comedy works. Thankfully this show really does work, and for my money it's the strong writing that does it. The performances are decent, notably the police captain in charge of the UTF (Undead Task Force) played by Bryan Callen has some fantastic delivery. The writing though, is what makes this show really tick. The characters are drawn to extremes but aren't cartoony, they're just eccentric. They're all likable though, which is significant since at least for the first few episodes there isn't too much continuing story to latch onto; and while it looks like perhaps later in the season there will be some ongoing story threads this seems like a character driven show.

It is gory, with a few effects that fall flat (obvious CGI, or obvious makeup) but the tone is so darkly silly, not unbelievable, just extremely silly that it doesn't matter. It's also pretty crude at times, with some raunchy, violent, or just kind of distasteful graphic humor, but in the context of the show I think it works. When one of the cops actually punches through the head of an oncoming zombie you can tell the show has some pretty broad sights for where they're willing to take the comedy, and that's brave. Edgy comedy is always interesting, even if it passes what I would normally like.

The show airs Monday on MTV and the first 3 episodes are up to watch on their website now. This certainly isn't for everyone but if you like twisted, dark, and bloody comedy check it out.

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