Death Valley Episode 101
Written By: Curtis Gwinn and Eric Weinberg
Directed By: Eric Appel
Original Airdate: 29 August 2011
In This Episode...
Welcome to the San Fernando Valley. Those of us who grew up here know it as a pit. For the officers of the Undead Task Force, it is Death Valley. One year ago, vampires, zombies, werewolves, and all other manner of ghouls and fiends invaded the suburban enclave of Los Angeles, and it is up to the UTF to keep the streets safe.
Let's meet our UTF officers, shall we? Carla Rinaldi is serious, by-the-book, and tough as nails. Her partner John "John-John" Johnson is lighthearted and goofy, but protective of Rinaldi - especially if it means bashing zombies with his baseball bat. Joe Stubeck is slow - both physically and mentally, but means well and is devoted to the job. Stubeck's partner, Billy Pierce, is a bit of a wise-ass and loves the camera. Rookie officer Kirsten Landry is young and cute, but isn't as naive as she looks. Rounding out the group is Captain Frank Dashell, a hard-talking authority figure who rarely leaves the comfort and safety of the station house.
In the pilot episode, Stubeck and Pierce bust a vampire prostitute, and Pierce gets kidnapped after he kills her vampire pimp. Stubeck goes to Griffith Park to trade the body of the vampire pimp for Pierce. Things go smoothly, but only after Stubeck pulls a gun he hid on the vampire's body, and hits the daylights on the cop car. Rinaldi and John-John bust up some zombies, and the sound guy gets bitten. "It's the Valley, man," Rinaldi tells him. "There are lots of sound guys." Boom, he's dead. The captain is keeping Landry "safe" at the station house, and takes no notice when a zombie wanders into the station and she beats the unliving crap out of him.
Dig It or Bury It?
It was a fun, strong showing for this single-camera sitcom. The characters are likable and the script is funny. I just worry that the series is a one-trick pony. It feels like there is no over-arching story, no stakes that will keep viewers tuning in regularly.
Surprisingly, this episode wasn't particularly gory. But we did learn something about the zombies in Death Valley - they have both slow zombies and fast zombies. The fresh zombies move fast; as they rot, they slow down. Makes sense.
Undead Tee-Hee Force
Stubeck: "I don't speak vampire." Pierce: "That was Spanish, idiot."
Ummm... monsters will get the shit kicked out of them?