Hotel Babylon is facing a takeover by Donovan Credo - infamous in the hotel trade for ousting the staff and bringing in his own 'drones'. Rebecca is to be kept on but Donovan allows her to keep only ...
The surprise arrival of the hotel chain's European Director Adrian unsettles the staff further. Only Rebecca knows he's there for more than purely business reasons - the two of them had a fling a few...
Set on a fictional Spanish island, Woody follows the fortunes of one of the UK's best undercover reporters. Woody (Novak) is forced to go on the run from the British authorities after being... See full summary »
Things are going badly for Raymond Fox. His high-powered wife, Jenny, has left him for a younger man, and looking after his teenage kids - nerdy Sara (17) and wayward Robinson (15) - and ... See full summary »
Vince is a burglar who finds himself in a difficult spot after a job and talks his old college friend Matt (who knows more than a bit about map-reading) to join him on an expedition. They ... See full summary »
John Gordon Sinclair
Besides Hotel Babylon, Emma Pierson and Max Beesley have worked together on Bloodlines (2006) and Talk To Me (2007). Every time they played together, their characters were romantically involved in some way. See more »
Five star Hotel drama somehow becomes a run-of-the-mill formulaic comedy
This show went for four seasons. The first season is quite enjoyable. The second is still pretty good, although it wears thin by the end of the season. By the fourth season, the show has become something so distant from it's beginnings that it's not even comparable, and in my opinion is barely watchable. Thus, there's plenty in the first season to draw you in... but it's probably not worth the extended stay, so to speak.
On the show's strengths --- the first season is well acted, has some amusing minor bits with a range of often unusual and often well-nuanced characters, and establishes the Hotel staff as impeccably sophisticated, and committed to remaining morally ambivalent so as to provide the best service for their clientele --- and this is what makes the show compelling; the glitz and the glamor of the Hotel is well-established with excellent sets, and everything in the first season speaks to the connection between class sophistication and discretion; what makes the show really exceed a lot of other shows which take a peek at the luxurious life of the upper class is that the sophistication/discretion theme is shown in it's worst and best lights, and the show as a whole attends a certain 'moral ambivalence' which makes it rather thought-provoking. The audience is shown exactly how much of 'class' is built on artifice, but it also makes the life of luxury look genuinely seductive.
While the writing begins to get notably weaker towards the end of season 2, it's not until Max Beesly's character (Charlie) leaves the show that it gets positively wretched and loses all lustre.
Unfortunately, by the fourth season, the show has lost all tact and elegance; it becomes a show about the blue-collar sensibilities of a sitcom staff amid unreasonably mean-spirited guests who are consistently trying to 'discredit' the Hotel. The writing gets so bad that the shows really aren't comparable. The writers no longer make the luxurious life seem tempting, but rather a filthy indulgence to be seen as a character flaw in the rich. The show also becomes more an attempt at comedy than drama. And sadly, the comedy feels horribly out-of-place; it's a slapstick, rather overacted kind of humor which might work well enough in a show about a wacky motel full of transients --- but it seems oblivious to the foundations of dry wit and subtlety that make the first season work so well. The characters all become caricatures.
All in all, rather a disappointment. Begins as enticing, but ends up being quite commonplace.
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