Howdy people of the internet, time for another TV review and today I am returning to Hotel Babylon with my review of season 2. Now I really loved season 1, it was just an addictive bit of telly and introduces you to this sexy and lavish hotel lifestyle, and just like last time I watched season 1, I moved on to season 2 almost immediately (especially because of the gripping season finale). So how does this season compare to the last? Well read on and find out.
So what is the show about? Well, Hotel Babylon is a fabulous five-star hotel in the heart of London, it is a fairly expensive establishment, however, if you have the money to afford a visit you will find your stay very comfortable in a lavish, beautiful and well-organized hotel where you can have anything you want, for the right price. This show introduces you to the world of how a hotel works and shows you the stories from not only the perspective of the staff but of the guests as well.
The show’s premise primarily focuses on the lives of the hotel staff, however an equal amount of time is given to the guests of the hotel as well. The stories in this show are mainly episodic, however there are arching storylines over the course of the 8-episode season and some connections to season 1. Each episode features one or more storylines to do with the staff and/or guests of the hotel and sometimes they crossover into each other too.
Story-wise season 2 gives you everything you loved about season 1, but ups the stakes and shakes a few things up to keep the stories fresh and unexpected. This season the staff deal with a lot not only in their own lives, but also with each other and the hotel guests as well and it’s interesting to see how they handle some of these new challenges as some of them are physically and mentally demanding. This season deals with all things new and focuses heavily on change and transitions with a lot of themes relating to love, friendship, addiction, uncertainty and trust. The show has always dedicated a lot of screen time for Charlie and Rebecca, however, each of the other characters have their moments to shine, Tony for instance definitely has a bigger part to play, while other members of the main cast get their episodic moments like Jackie, Anna, James, Gino and especially Ben. Something I have to mention is how much I love the relationships in this show. Whether they are like siblings or friends or lovers, this main group are a family and I love seeing their character dynamics and them coming together to help each other out or fight against a common enemy. Because of the events of the previous season and these new stories, you feel genuinely attached to these people and it hurts when bad things happen to them. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is how emotional this show gets me, now I know that’s weird to hear coming from a guy in his 20’s, but this show really does tap into the kind of dramatic storylines that I like that deal with relationships about love and friendship and when it gets tested, strained, fall apart or rebuild.
When it comes to the cast they are once again amazing and because we’ve had a whole season to get to know them already, their wonderful performances as these characters only feel stronger. Because of the stories, we also get to peel away the layers of the characters and get to learn more about them on a deeper level.
Let’s start with Max Beesley who returns as one of the show’s show main characters, Charlie Edwards and he’s still awesome. This season Charlie has to deal with a lot, being the deputy manager means that even though he is friends with his co-workers at the same he has to be firm and act with authority which does put him in some awkward moral dilemmas. Add on top of that some of the new scenarios he has to deal with when it comes to certain guests and staff and it makes for great character development for him. The other major performance comes from Tamzin Outhwaite as Rebecca Mitchell is who is simply incredible in this season. Because of her position as general manager, Rebecca has always been a bit cold, unfair and hard to relate to from an outsider’s perspective, however, as a viewer you can see it is just part of the job. And behind closed doors you can tell she would like to bend the rules if it were possible and would like to be more friendly with her staff. This season Rebecca has one of, if not the most biggest story arc of all the characters, she has to deal with her love life, staff insubordination and choices about her career and it’s really dramatic and difficult for her this time round.
Dexter Fletcher is still great as Tony Casemore. As head concierge the man is still responsible for sorting out what guests want and in this season he still does a good job of that, however there are times when his choices aren’t always the right ones and get him in trouble. What I’ve always liked about Tony is he is older than the other staff, so he’s got more experience and wisdom to give out, and since he’s so easy-going he has a great rapport with other staff members, especially with Charlie. Emma Pierson is once again great as Anna Thornton-Wilton, this woman is still obsessed with all things rich and expensive and looks down on those who aren’t worthy in her eyes. That being said she can be really bubbly, funny and behind the bravado she is a woman with a heart who just wants to be loved and is looking for the right person.
Natalie Mendoza returns as Jackie Clunes is still a great actress and a beautiful woman. This season Jackie isn’t as present as she was before, however, she still has a her moments to shine when it comes to dealing with certain guests, co-workers and her housekeeping staff. We learn in this season that Jackie can be sweet and adventurous, but also vulnerable and naive. Martin Marquez once again fun as Gino Primirola, we get to see more of his personality and emotional side in this season, but he is still one of the best sources of humour from the cast. Ray Coulthard definitely steps up as James Schofield. Last season he just came across as a bit of a snob with not many likeable traits, and while he hasn’t changed much, this season really gives you a better insight into who he is and why you should care about him. James sees some low times and it is those moments that make him relatable. And Michael Obiora has his moment to shine as Ben Trueman. While Ben is mainly just hanging around with Anna having fun banter, he does have some very critical moments in this season that develops him as a character and gives you insight into his world before working at the hotel.
One new member to this crew is Paul Telfer as Luke Marwood, he’s the junior concierge working under Tony and while he may be handsome, smiles a lot and talks the talk, the guy can be incredibly shady, cocky and likes to get ahead for his own gain. He’s a tricky one. Sometimes I like the guy because of his cheeky nature, but I like him more when he’s working as part of the team, otherwise he’s a dodgy guy who should be avoided and Telfer did a great job with this role. There are also some great appearances from Danny Dyer, David Walliams, Mark Heap, Jennifer Ellison and Kelly Brook.
Once again the presentation of this show is fabulous. Visually the show looks great with good cinematography that illustrates the beauty of London, there are also more locations used in this season beyond the interior of hotel like hotel balconies, other hotels and the streets of London too which makes the show feel a lot bigger and part of the busy city. Also the show moves at a good pace thanks to the swift editing and scene transitions too. And then there’s the music, that gorgeous music. The soundtrack composed by Jim Williams and John Lunn continues to be one of the shows’ highlights as it has such a good sound. The reworked into theme song sounds great with a more dance-like sound introduced and overall this season, even though it still has a jazzy feel, definitely employs some more beats and things that sound like it belongs in the dance genre.
In conclusion season two of Hotel Babylon is still great. This season gives you more of what you loved in the first, however it presents enough new scenarios to make it feel fresh and exciting. The writing is very strong resulting is some great dialogue from character narrations to people in the show specifically and whether the stories involve rude footballers, politicians, angry bell boys, cults or hotel take-overs, there’s always something new to see and it’s smartly handled with good amount of realism. While some of the stories aren’t as strong as last season, this season still has so much heart and drama that it’s hard to not get addicted.
Rating: 9/10 (Still on fire)
So have you seen Hotel Babylon and if so what did you think of it? Whatever your thoughts are drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya next time for the review of season 3. 😀