We’re still a couple of weeks away from the welcome return of Documentary Now!, IFC’s three-season love-letter/gentle parody of the field of documentary film-making. But if you’re really jonesing for a return to the show, and its world of weirdly good-natured takes on famous non-fiction films, you’re in luck: The network has posted the first episode of the new season, the two-part Wild Wild Country riff “Batsh*t Valley,” onto YouTube this weekend.
Written by Seth Meyers, the episode dives into the increasingly ludicrous world of the Shawbardites, an Owen Wilson-fronted cult group at war with a Pacific Northwest town, trapped in an escalating campaign that includes everything from sarcastic signs to weaponized pink-eye. The episodes boast a whole host of big guest stars—including Michael Keaton and Necar Zadegan as the cult’s sinister spokesperson—but it’s just as significant as for who doesn’t show up: Bill Hader and Fred Armisen, signalling that the show’s new season will be moving away from automatically having either SNL vet in the starring spot of every single doc. (Admittedly, they’re both pretty busy guys.) But while part of us mourns the chance to watch Hader go full-on cult leader on his followers, it’s hard to deny that “Batsh*t Valley” is still pretty great, managing to be both warmer and funnier than its source material—not that that’s necessarily hard in this particular case.