DEATH VALLEY “Pilot” Review

DEATH VALLEY “Pilot” Season 1 Episode 1 – From the pilot, I can’t tell if MTV’s new show Death Valley is supposed to be a comedy, a miniature horror flick or some weird amalgamation of the two, like Zombieland only shorter. Or maybe my confusion comes from the fact that the show itself doesn’t seem to know what it is, although the actors, at least, are leaning towards the side of comedy.

The basic idea is that a year ago, the San Fernando Valley (which happens to be my current home), was invaded by zombies, werewolves and, of course, vampires. But not the sparkly, virtuous kind; these vampires just want blood. And sex. And bloody sex. The police officers of the Valley have dealt with this supernatural population spike by becoming jaded slayers of the undead…who for some reason let a COPS-style camera crew follow them around.

Hey, they say the best way to survive the zombie apocalypse is not to run faster than everyone else, but to surround yourself with people who are slower than you.

I really like the concept, especially given the current teenage obsession with anything paranormal. MTV is the perfect network to carry a show like this, with their target demographic and willingness to push boundaries. The actors are fresh and probably funny, although a bit young and pretty for your typical Valley cop. But you gotta figure the older donut-downers were probably killed off early on, leaving the next generation to step up to the plate.

Some of the effects would be cheesy on the big screen, but for TV quality, they’re not bad. So I think my major problem with the show was the writing. Such a high concept needs better dialogue. It felt very canned and obvious. There were a few chuckle-worthy moments, but not enough for me to say that the writers put their best foot forward straight out of the gate.

The target audience doesn’t want to waste time waiting for a show to find it’s comedic stride. They want instant laughs or they will flip to one of the other three hundred channels available to them. Me, I’m willing to give Death Valley a chance to find its footing. I like some of the characters, in particular the newbie, Kirsten, who plays golf and single-handedly took down a zombie in the middle of the station. It’s also always fun to see familiar landmarks and cities; I look forward to any call-outs to Reseda.

Let’s hope the writing picks up next week.

What did you think of the episode? Would you rather be a werewolf, a zombie, a vampire or something else entirely? And Choco-Tacos: good or evil? Let me know below!!