Minor spoilers for season one of Brimstone Valley Mall
Brimstone Valley Mall is a fiction podcast directed, written and produced by Kristen Dimercurio. The first season premiered in December 2019 and follows a group of demons (from Hell!) who work in a shopping mall, and who are also playing in a band called Mall Rat. It takes place in December 1999, and the series starts off when the lead singer, Hornblas, goes missing a few days before their big show. They’re supposed to be opening for “the Reckoning”, at a massive New Year’s Eve party in Hell, where all the demons will be celebrating “the end of the world” (otherwise known as Y2K).
While there is currently only one ten-episode season out at the moment (with only twenty minutes per episode!), the second season is currently in production! Brimstone Valley Mall is a hilarious show that utilizes dialogue perfectly and creates really rich characters within the approximate total of three and a half hours run time. In this podcast, no word is wasted, whether it’s to further character development, push the plot along, or to make witty jabs at the culture of capitalism.
Like I mentioned previously, every word of dialogue spoken in this show serves a purpose. The story is told only through dialogue and sound effects, so the words spoken need to be witty and entertaining, but also make up for the fact that there is no visual aspect to the show. Not many fiction podcasts use this method, as it is very difficult to pull off (usually there is some form of narration of what is happening). The use of monologues with the voicemails that play at the start and end of each episode help set the scene and the tone of the episode, but each message is under a minute long, so the monologues have to be short and sweet.
Every so often in the show, the “mall announcements” (voiced by Kristen Dimercurio) play. These don’t serve a huge purpose, other than to poke fun at the consumerist nature of malls, but they’re funny as heck.
This show has some of the best characters I’ve ever seen (or heard, I guess) in a while. The members of Mall Rat have such good chemistry and the local mall teens are the perfect mix of hilarious and melodramatic.
Misroch (played by Elliot Gindi) is probably my favourite character. They’re a type-A, perfectionistic chef, who owns a restaurant called Weiner World (yes, you are supposed to laugh at that). The hot dogs served there are made of human flesh, but you don’t need to worry about that. Misroch’s character arc was probably my favourite of the season, because while they start off pretty coarse and kind of unlikeable, they open up over the course of the series. Misroch is a demon who cares a lot about their friends, and uses sarcasm and anger to cover up their insecurities. Watching the way that they connect with the rest of their friend group and the humans working with them is really heartwarming and sweet (well, as sweet as a demonic line-cook can be).
Belzagor (Susannah Wilson) is an inventor from Hell who used to specialize in blood gutter design (yeah, gross), but while on Earth works at Gadget Hut, selling tech by day and working on demonic inventions by night. She starts off working on her most demonic invention, a robot toy called the “Furbaby”. She doesn’t change too much during this season, but she seems to serve as the backbone of the group, keeping everyone together while they search for their missing friend.
Asmoriaus (Mark Wolf Roberts) is the lead guitarist of Mall Rat, with a day job running the mall’s carousel. He is probably one of the funniest characters in the show, and 80% of his lines are some kind of innuendo. He really helps diffuse the tension of the show, and he also has a really sweet romance arc with Trent (Christopher Trindade), the local prep working at Hot Topic.
The last character I’ll talk about is Xaphan (Isa Braun), a demon who has been working down in the bellows of Hell for thousands of years, and who has just been sent up to Earth to replace Hornblas. Over the course of the season she goes through a crash course on all things human, including friendship. Her character arc mostly centers on building friendships and learning to find where she belongs.
Brimstone Valley Mall is one of my favourite fiction podcasts of all time. The premise, dialogue, humour and character development are executed perfectly and really come together over the course of the ten episodes. I absolutely can’t wait to see what they do in the second season.
is a young writer from Ottawa, Canada. When he isn’t in school, he enjoys reading, writing, crochet, and playing with his two cats. Their favourite genres are horror and fantasy, and they enjoy all things strange. You can find him on Instagram at @nate_fahmi.