Season: 1 Episode: 4 Network: MTV
US Air Date: 19 September 2011
UK Air Date: 20 February 2012
Starring: Bryan Callen, Charlie Sanders, Bryce Johnson, Caity Lotz, Tania Raymonde, Texas Battle
Despite the brain’s higher functions screaming in profanity-laden protest, MTV’s Death Valley is following in the groove set by E4’s Misfits to become one of those programmes that you struggle to describe to others without it sounding a bit, well, you know, rubbish.
Flashy music video editing, loud music, and rapid fire one-liners, Death Valley bathes the eyes and ears in entertainment candy floss, spoiling your appetite for heavy fare and leaving you slightly overstimulated.
Episode 4 is the best of the series so far, with a richly comedic setting – a porn actor transforms into a werewolf mid-scene. It’s typically crass MTV territory, that doubtless scores high with its target demographic of sniggering teenagers, but it proves fertile soil for a barrage of puns and quotable punchlines as Billy Pierce (Bryce Johnson) and John Johnson (Texas Battle) respond in predictably lecherous fashion, Joe Stubeck (Funny Or Die regular Charlie Sanders) flits between shock and disapproval, and Carla Rinaldi (Lost‘s Tania Raymonde) is stuck playing the tightly wound straight man to the whole sorry bunch.
Meanwhile, the over-earnest Kirsten Landry (Mad Men‘s Caity Lotz) is dispatched to check registered werewolves are in compliance with the city ordinance on keeping them locked up in full moons, and ends up chasing down someone’s escaped husband (“He might have gone down to the freeway to chase the cars,” admits his wife hopefully).
It’s the first episode so far where werewolves have taken centre stage, and the mid-transformation makeup (“I look like an elderly Italian woman,” moans a stricken porn star) is effective and minimalist, but full-on wolf-out remains well out of Death Valley‘s ability to depict on a cable budget.
Not that this is anything to be ashamed of, full-on wolf-out was beyond Twilight: Breaking Dawn‘s ability to depict convincingly too and that film was as bankable as a solid gold urinal filled with diamanté droplets of weewee.