With Stranger Things, the world has made known its appetite for the deliciously spooky. SBS On Demand offers international scares in the form of Jordskott and Angelby, as well as a bunch of other quality supernatural works, and now brings you Germany’s flagship cable series, The Valley.
The show, originally titled Weinberg, concerns a small-town murder mystery with an uncanny German sensibility that knows when to confound as much as it knows when to astound. Something we don’t get enough of these days.
Here are merely a few reasons why it's one to move to the top of your must-watch list...
Protagonist Johannes Fuchs/John Fox (Friedrich Muecke) wakes up in a vineyard next to a dead woman (as you do) with no earthly idea who he is, then wanders into a deceptively peaceful rural town — one whose inhabitants initially come across folksy and affable, but as time goes by prove more and more unsettling.
It's Germany's stomping arrival in the international televisual market
Germany, like most Western countries, revered the US-lead, UK-followed TV renaissance of the 2000s, but hasn’t exactly settled into the age of Netflix, with shows such as House of Cards and Downton Abbey attracting minimal local viewers.
Partly due to the proliferation of Scandi noir, the nation’s producers have taken what they love about modern US cable drama and catered to a growing lust for homegrown content. The Valley is only the second major series commissioned by TNT Germany, behind the successful comedy Add a Friend.
Its bold sense of mood, time and place
Instead of opting to produce The Valley in popular South Africa, which is where many creators choose to shoot-for-Germany without having to deal with the relentless dark, fog and ice of winter, producer Jan Kromschröder took the hard route in the name of authenticity, and the results speak volumes.
It’s hella spooky, much like German fairy tales
German fairy tales are some of the most sinister and often brutal short stories, and Kromschröder confirms that The Valley plays with old tales that made expert use of woods, rivers and “bizarre mystic figures”.
It’s made by huge fans of Twin Peaks
Not that anyone would recommend anyone else model their series on something as distinct as Twin Peaks, but Kromschröder speaks of he and his creator’s unabashed love for Lynch’s classic drama.
He tells dramaquarterly.com: “At that time I was still a journalist but I loved that series. Those characters could only live and survive in US shows, but now we are trying to invent those types of characters ourselves in a German style. That’s something that really intrigued us with The Valley.”
The entire series 1 of The Valley is available on SBS On Demand. Watch the first episode right here: