AMBOS NOGALES — Last June, MTV made the official announcement that it would be going ahead with MTV studios, a new production studio that would produce content for outside platforms like Netflix. Among the announced programming were remakes and reboots for MTV classics like Daria and The Real World, as well as the live-action reimagining of the action packed animated series, Aeon Flux. There is a lot of excitement about the high profile shows MTV studios has planned to release over the next couple of years, but there is one show they’ve announced that comes with a different kind of hype.
The Valley (working title) is described as “a timely coming-of-age docuseries in the spirit of The Hills and Siesta Key which follows a group of young friends growing up in the Valley town of Nogales, Arizona, a city split in half, with one side in the United States and the other in Mexico,” as reported by Deadline.
The show’s title is assumingly derived from the Santa Cruz River Valley, where Ambos Nogales is located. Aside from the initial MTV Studios announcement and a casting call announced late in 2018, very little is known about the show, and MTV has kept the details under wraps thus far.
A local Nogales resident whose daughter is a main cast member on the show was willing to share a few details, while avoiding giving away any spoilers.
“It’s kinda surreal. I mean, we’ve got cameras in our house, and drones hovering over our coffee table recording us while we talk with the other parents,” the man told Latino Rebels. “It’s great, though. The world needs to see what life here is really like. That it’s not like they make it look on the news. It’s going to be great.”
This show comes at a time where border communities like Ambos Nogales are thrust to the
forefront of the national immigration debate, due in large part to the immigration and border policies of the current administration along with President Trump’s own demands to have a “huge” wall built to secure the nearly 2,000 mile stretch of land separating the United States and Mexico.
The debate became even more heated following the arrival of thousands of asylum seekers from Central American and Caribbean countries who came up through Mexico. Nogales itself was brought into the spotlight when Mayor Arturo Garino and the City Council made the official declaration to condemn the razorwire installed by the military on sections of the fence that exist in populated areas.
There is no evidence to suggest whether immigration or border policy will be among the show’s focal points. From the brief description given, it appears The Valley will focus more on the personal lives of cast members and how they are affected by living in a border community that is essentially split in half by a 20-foot steel fence. Time will tell if MTV handles the unique, sensitive issues border communities face on a daily basis with the respect and care they are warranted, or if all we’re getting is yet another shallow, sex and party-driven “reality” show.
According to one crew member, principal photography for the show began in early 2019. We
will likely see the first promotional material late in the summer, with The Valley airing as part of the Fall 2019-2020 season.
Joseph Paul Wright is a freelancer journalist based in Nogales, Arizona. He tweets from @joewrightwrites.