MMT Quick Review of P-VALLEY premiering July 12 on STARZ

(left to right) Elarica Johnson as Autumn Night, Shannon Thornton as Miss Mississippi, and Brandee Evans as Mercedes in P-VALLEY, premiering July 12 on STARZ.

I was blessed to preview the first four episodes of P-VALLEY, the new Starz series premiering Sunday night at 8pm, and am ecstatic because I’ve found a very well-written, and raw, replacement for Power – another Starz show which aired its series finale earlier this year. Now, it’s not that the shows are similar in content but the “watchability” factor is equal, and P-Valley is absolutely addicting.

Like its predecessor, P-Valley is created and ran by a woman, the award-winning playwright Katori Hall (Tina: The Tina Turner Musical) and adapted from her play Pussy Valley (the network amended the title, for obvious reasons). In addition, every episode is directed by a woman – giving viewers a look into the world of exotic dancing and the lives of its characters through a female gaze.

So here’s the synopsis: Down deep in the Mississippi Delta lies an oasis of grit and glitter in a rough patch of human existence where beauty can be hard to find. This Southern-fried, hour-long drama tells the kaleidoscopic story of a “little strip club that could” and the big characters who come through its doors — the hopeful, the lost, the broken, the ballers, the beautiful and the damned. Trap music meets film noir in this lyrical and atmospheric series that dares to ask what happens when small-town folk dream beyond the boundaries of the Piggly Wiggly and the pawnshop. 

The show has a interesting mix of main characters, who present with and face various issues including domestic violence, post-traumatic stress, dysfunctional family relationships, classism, racism and homophobia. Four episodes in, there is so much I can’t wait to see resolved that I’m watching again with captions – so I don’t miss a thing!

And speaking of captions, the dialect, like almost everything else in P-Valley, is authentic and heavily Southern influenced. Shoot, I have Southern family members and still need to ensure I understood everything before the last four episodes – so I’m not kidding, I’m watching again today with captions. 😉

It’s also visually reminiscent of others like Insecure and Atlanta – succeeding in making the locale a character, while displaying its beauty as well as its brokenness.

And I was genuinely impressed with the choreography and agility displayed. I thought Jennifer Lopez was fabulous in that scene in Hustlers, showing those doubters of the 40-plus crowd a thing or two. But when you see the women in this show, one word – WOW.

Shouts out to the actresses who took pole lessons and had to adhere to some rigorous requirements, according to Ms. Hall – and shouts out especially to Brandee Evans (Mercedes) and Shannon Thorton (Mississippi), you will see, as well as the stunt women used because the physicality displayed is no joke.

A gripping series, by way of trap music and Southern sensibilities, P-Valley provides a fictional look into the lives of everyday people struggling to survive in the adult entertainment industry. Personally, I cannot wait to see what’s in store for owner and self-proclaimed “HBIC” of The Pynk Uncle Clifford (Nicco Annan), and all the characters introduced. I rate it 4 out of 5 on the MMTrometer.

P-Valley premieres tonight, July 12 at 8pm ET on Starz. You can watch a teaser below and get additional information at the official website here.

Until next thought, Thomasena


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