‘Documentary Now!’ Returns with a Journey Into ‘Batsh*t Valley’

GameStop, Inc.

Documentary Now! Batsh*t Valley

It has been over two years since the last new episode of the IFC series Documentary Now!, the wide-ranging spoof of documentaries featuring Bill Hader and Fred Armisen. Finally, Documentary Now! returns for its third season, though there’s just something a little different this time around. In the two-part season premiere, neither Hader nor Armisen appear (likely due to their busy schedules). But their absence actually opens up Documentary Now! for the future as the show can continue to mock the many iterations of non-fiction filmmaking with a rotating cast of guest stars and familiar faces. The two-part season premiere, a spoof of Netflix’s Wild Wild Country entitled Batsh*t Valley, proves there’s a lot of life left in Documentary Now! beyond it’s two original stars.

In the 1980s, a spiritual guru and his followers moved to the quiet little town of Chinook, Oregon. The Shawbardites were led by Father Ra-Shawbard (Owen Wilson). Their unusual rituals, such as eating vegetables from their garden but only after the veggies have given consent, threw the locals for a loop, though it mostly remained peaceful between the two disparate groups. That is until a local shop put up a sign gently mocking the Shawbardites’ beliefs. This sets off a bitter rivalry between Chinook’s mayor Marge Middleton (Deb Hiett) and Ra-Sharir (Necar Zadegan), who has quickly climbed the ranks of the Shawbardites becoming the spokesperson for the group and personal assistant to Ra-Shawbard.

As the tensions between the Shawbardites and the locals escalate in a number of wild, unexpected ways, Ra-Shawbard appears to be losing his grip on reality and his underling in Ra-Sharir. Little did anyone realize that the FBI was monitoring the situation. There’s more to situation in Chinook than on the surface, and the details of the story are recounted by FBI agent Bill Doss (Michael Keaton). Amidst all the twists and turns it’s easy to get lost in Batsh*t Valley.

Written by Seth Meyers and directed by Alex Buono, Batsh*t Valley is a triumphant return for Documentary Now!. Meyers writes a hilarious dissection of Wild Wild Country, lampooning the cults fashioned after westernized versions of eastern religions. The episode steadily escalates in absurdity before reaching its conclusion. Every little detail that unfolds is funnier than the last. As he’s done in previous episodes, director Alex Buono deftly captures the look of the source material. Meticulously staged recreations captured on VHS camcorders gives the archival footage the look of something from the ‘80s while the modern day testimony is as glossy as the Netflix show.

Batsh*t Valley doesn’t suffer from the absence of Hader or Armisen because the episode’s cast is so perfectly assembled. Owen Wilson was born to play a drugged-out cult leader, and he really gets some amazing scenes as the phony guru. Necar Zadegan relishes the role of the villain and her escalating battles with Deb Hiett’s Marge keep the comedy escalating in increasingly absurd ways. Michael Keaton brings a bit of credibility to his over-eager FBI agent, and it’s nice seeing Keaton going all-in on comedy once again. Documentary Now! regulars Gary Kraus and Van Epperson also appear in bit parts that further populate this off-kilter world in the Pacific Northwest.

I can’t think of a better way for Documentary Now! to debut its third season than with the hyper-insanity of Batsh*t Valley. It so clearly illustrates what draws people to this show with its intricate recreations of the source material, writing that honors the source material while cranking up the insanity, and a robust cast that brings the absurdity to life. Batsh*t Valley has so many unexpected twists (even if you’ve seen Wild Wild Country) that I’ve omitted a number of these moments as to not dilute their impact. If Batsh*t Valley is any indication, the third season of Documentary Now! is a show in transition but the behind the scenes changes haven’t affected the output as this is just another incredible episode of an incredible show that simultaneously honors and spoofs documentary filmmaking.

Documentary Now!
  • Batsh*t Valley


A hilarious two-part premiere for Documentary Now!’s third season, Batsh*t Valley perfectly lampoons Netflix’s Wild Wild Country with great guest appearances by Owen Wilson and Michael Keaton in the tale of a cult gone wrong.

Anytime Costumes

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Annabeth Gish & C. Thomas Howell Talk About Their New Modern Western, ‘Ride’ – Interview

Annabeth Gish and C. Thomas Howell Discuss Their Roles in the...

Exclusive Clip from Roku’s ‘Fight Inc.: Inside the UFC’

Exclusive Clip from ‘Fight Inc.: Inside the UFC‘ now streaming exclusively...

‘D.I.Y. Duck’ Honors the Legacy of Donald Duck on His 90th Birthday – Review

Disney Legend Mark Henn and his team of artists honor Donald...

Event News Event Reviews
‘The Old Man and the Old Moon’ at Mission San Juan Capistrano – News

‘The Old Man and the Old Moon‘ at Mission San Juan...

‘Holmes & Watson’ Solve the Case at the Laguna Playhouse – Review

Jeffrey Hatcher’s ‘Holmes & Watson‘, Enthralls Audiences in a Magnificent twist...

‘Disney’s The Little Mermaid’ Enchants Audiences at La Mirada Theatre – Review

‘Disney’s The Little Mermaid‘ Enchants Audiences with a heartwarming performance now...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Oscar De La Hoya Partners with El Rey for ‘Friday Night Fights’ – Interview

The Golden Boy himself chatted with us about Golden Boy Promotions...

Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley ‘On The Road to Paris’

Team USA Olympic Runner, Colleen Quigley is On The Road to...

Paralympian Swimmer Ahalya Lettenberger On The Road to Paris

Team USA Paralympian Swimmer, Ahalya Lettenberger is On The Road to...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents – Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse! Blood on the cactus pt 1

It was really bloody, limbs hacked, heads torn off etc

Cultural Junk Drawer – The trial of Bluddgore the Obliterator

Wrech Cohvlid takes the stand providing testimony corroborating Cockmiester’s. He also...

Fantoy Comics Presents – Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse – We’re Demons pt2

You go on ahead, I'll be there in a jiffy!

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs & Sketches’ – Interview

Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs &...

Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her Career in the Arts

First Generation Assyrian-Chaldean, Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her...

Louden Swain Headlining Los Angeles Show at The Echo

Press Release – Louden Swain are headlining Los Angeles show at...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Gameplay Trailer

The first Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League gameplay trailer was revealed during...

Wonder Woman Game
Wonder Woman Game Announced By DC and WB Games

Wonder Woman game will feature the iconic hero in a 3rd...

MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Gary Morgenstein Talks ‘A Dugout to Peace’ the Final Installment of his Trilogy

Gary Morgenstein Talks About ‘A Dugout to Peace‘ the final installment...

Chris Clews Is ‘Raised on the 80s’ and Shares Those Life Lessons

Chris Clews was ‘Raised on the 80s‘ and Shares Those Life...

Roye Okupe Brings Authentic African Representation to HBO Max and Cartoon Network

Nigerian-American, Roye Okupe brings authentic African representation to HBO Max and...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand Demo

The new ‘Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand‘ is ready to ship...

Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the ‘Good Flour’

Canadian Super Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the...

Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...