Nominated in the Best Series category at the 2016 German Television Awards, The Valley has premiered in the US, Canada, UK, and Ireland.
Weird and deadly things can happen in small towns, especially when they’re on the side of a mountain and shrouded in fog.
Set in the (fictional) Kaltenzell, a Twin Peaks-ish place located in the German wine region of Ahr, The Valley (Weinberg) revolves around a stranger in town and the mysterious murder of a local teenager.
Said stranger is no ordinary guy. Well, he might be, if he knew who he was. He awakens in a vineyard with blood on his face and no memory of his identity or life. If amnesia isn’t bad enough, the first thing he sees when he opens his eyes is the body of a dead girl slung over the vines.
Dazed and confused, the stranger manages to blurt out what he saw and to concoct a name for himself — Johannes Fuchs (or, if you will, John Fox, played by German Television Awards nominee Friedrich Mücke, Friendship!, Alles ist Liebe, Tatort) — the latter after Mayor Zepter (Arved Birnbaum, Tatort, In the Face of Crime) demands to know his identity and what the heck he’s talking about.
The thing is, when Fox, the mayor, and a small group of locals arrive at the site in the vineyard, the body is gone.
The girl isn’t dead.
Sophia Finck (Sinha Melina Gierke, Happy End?!), the Wine Queen for this year’s Kaltenzell wine festival, is definitely alive but not well. She’s afraid of something or someone and, upon recognizing Fox, asks him for help.
Putting aside for a sec the question of how she knows him, Sophia’s fears must have been well-founded, because she is later found dead in the exact spot where Fox had seen her.
What the what?!?
There’s no Log Lady in Kaltenzell, but there are Bärbel (Anna Böttcher, About: Kate), the hairdresser with “a natural gift” plus charms to ward off evil spirits, and Elisabeth (Helga Boettiger, Rough Road Ahead), a wizened longtime resident who announces that “evil has crept out of its hole.”
Coming from that context, could Sophia have died at the hands of the Krappenmann, the evil, mythical monster that drags victims off by fishhooks?
Um, maybe. But that doesn’t explain why various townspeople and Fox are having vivid, frightening, and utterly real-seeming hallucinations, why young Adrian Donatius (Jonah Rausch, Bettys Diagnose) won’t speak a word to anyone but Fox, and how Fox came to be in Kaltenzell to begin with.
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Two episodes in, I’m hooked and anxiously awaiting the third.
Created and written by Arne Nolting (The Last Cop), Jan Martin Scharf (Wilsberg), and Philipp G. Steffens (Deutschland 83), the six-part miniseries features Christina Große (Bukow and König), Ronald Kukulies (Marie’s Mind for Murder), Gudrun Landgrebe (Homicide Unit Istanbul), Yung Ngo (Einstein), Rainer Sellien (Donna Leon’s Commissario Brunetti), Laura Tonke (Tatort), Antje Traue (Berlin Station), and Victoria Trauttmansdorff (Hannah Arendt).
The Valley premiered in the US, UK, Ireland, and Canada on August 3rd, exclusively on Shudder, where new episodes will be shown every Thursday through September 7th. (Viewers in the US can also access the program on the Shudder Channel on Amazon.)
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