‘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
Disney Announced Live-Action and Animation Slate at D23 Expo

ANAHEIM, Calif. (Aug. 24, 2019) – The Walt Disney Studios—including studio leaders...

Disney Channel Greenlights Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur

Laurence Fishburne and Helen Sugland’s Cinema Gypsy Productions, Marvel Animation &...

The Banana Splits are Back and This Time They go Bump in the Night

I was introduced to The Banana Splits as a child during...

Event News Event Reviews
Adam Rocha Celebrates the Silver Anniversary of the San Antonio Film Festival

The San Antonio Film Festival (SAFilm) is celebrating 25 years of ...

Legion M President, Jeff Annison Talks about All the SDCC 2019 Festivities

Legion M is the only fan owned film studio that brings...

Viz Media SDCC 2019: Seis Manos and more!

Announced earlier this year (click here), Seis Manos is an upcoming...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Super Girl Gamer Pro Returns for an All Female ESports Tournament in Oceanside, CA


Taco Bell Xbox
The Newest Taco Bell Box is an Xbox – Your Chance to Win a Taco Bell Xbox

Taco Bell and Xbox are partnering up to give fans a chance...

Exclusive Track Premiere from Madden NFL 19!

(July 26, 2018 – Los Angeles, CA) – Lakeshore Records today...

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
Neon Future Interview with Founder & Writer

A few months ago at WonderCon 2019, I had the honor...

Blue Bastion
Help Bring the World of Blue Bastion to Life

Live now on Indiegogo, help bring the rich and wondrous world...

impact theory
Impact Theory Founder – Tom Bilyeu

Tom Bilyeu is the CEO and co-founder of Impact Theory, an...

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
Blue Yeti Nano Microphone Review

We have been playing with the Blue Yeti Nano for a...

Wrestle Crate Pre-Christmas Unboxing

    Welcome to our first unboxing of Wrestle Crate, this...

Eagle Eyes
Protect Your Eyes with Eagle Eyes Glasses – Eagle Eyes TV Kit Review

Eagle Eyes TV Kit review – Feel the difference and get...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Ken Shamrock Shows His ‘Valor’ With VBK 1 This Fall

The Most Dangerous Man in the World, Ken Shamrock is a...

‘Pitbull’ vs. Archuleta and Machida vs. Mousasi Headline Bellator’s Return to L.A. on Sept. 28

  LOS ANGELES – The opening round of the Bellator Featherweight World...

UFC Featherweight Contender, Brian Ortega Talks about Health and Recovery

Brian Ortega is one of the baddest fighters in the UFC....

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 Emissary of Death/ The ghosting of the Dark Lord Pt:2

The John Wick; Defense against the dark arts teacher story arc...

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Emissary of Death subcategory: The Ghosting of the Dark Lord

Snape is ghosting The Dark Lord.

Fantoy Comics presents: Harry Potter and the Emissary of Death. Kill the messenger Pt: 3

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Coastal Commoners Ep. 9 Happy Thanksgiving!

This week the Commoners discuss some race baiting issues that bothered...

Coastal Commoners Ep 8 – Saying Farewell to Stan Lee

This week the commoner’s say farewell to Marvel Comics legend, Stan...

Coastal Commoners Ep 7 Mid-Term Elections!

Oh the headaches of elections and what can go wrong. We...

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
James Maslow ‘Rush’es the Stage to Perform at Super Girl Surf Pro on Sunday

James Maslow is an American singer, actor and songwriter best known as the star of...

Jason Lazarus Talks about Composing the Music for ‘Teen Titans Go! vs Teen Titans’

Jason Lazarus is a Los Angeles based composer for film, television, and...

Twin Peaks: Limited Event Series Soundtrack
Dealth Waltz Recording Company’s ‘Twin Peaks: Limited Event Series Soundtrack’ is Absolutely Perfect

There are certain collaborations between directors and composers that bring out...