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Hotel Babylon Season 4 Review

Howdy people of the internet, time for another TV review and today I am return with my review of the 4th and final season of Hotel Babylon. Now as I stated before, I loved season 1, really liked season 2 and wasn’t so keen on season 3, and now I’m returning to the final season which I never saw the whole way through back 2009. So how does this season fare? Well read on and find out.

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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 ties to past seasons. 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.

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Story-wise season 4 starts off with a bang and it definitely has some interesting ideas, but overall the plot elements are just a bit over-the-top, silly and delves into the realm of fiction. This season deals with geek culture, family domestics, gambling, both a fake wedding and funeral, the fallout and reforming of relationships and a few other issues. It is at this point that Hotel Babylon starts to show signs of fatigue, it was noticeable in season 3 but here its much worse. There are also a lot of repeated themes like:

  1. The will they or won’t they scenario, with Sam and Juliet (which was done before with Charlie and Rebecca, and Charlie and Anna in previous seasons)
  2. People pretending to be someone who they’re not, that’s been done many times by now
  3. The hotel being in trouble, whether the hotel’s having inspection issues, financial problems or being bought out, it’s all been done by now

While there are still moments of humour, drama and intrigue, none of it compares to what’s come before. It feels like the writers just gave up and created a soap-like drama with little to none of the style and panache this show was known for in the past. And at several points the stories felt repetitious or cliché as hell whether be the dialogue or scenarios that have been played out in previous seasons or other TV shows. And is it me or has the moment where the two main characters spilt, one goes after the other and later meet in an exterior part of London happened before? I swear that’s become a thing since Charlie did it with Rebecca at the end of season 2.

I also love episode 3 because (SPOILERS) it brings back Max Beesley as Charlie Edwards, a character who besides Rebecca Mitchell who was quintessential to this show until last season when he left. Even though the episode’s a little cheesy, silly and unrealistic, there’s something sweet about Anna and Charlie’s reunion, the birth of Anna’s child and her exit from the show. Unfortunately this also marks the last spark greatness for this show as it’s mainly downhill from there onwards. Oh and after seeing this show straight til the end, I can say that the ending was one of the most lazy and unsatisfactory conclusions I have ever seen. Sure the show got cancelled, but to not even conclude one of the major storylines and leave it open, that was handled terribly.

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When it comes to the cast they are good, however some do better jobs than others. The returning cast do well while the new members are a bit hit and miss. So start with Nigel Harman as Sam Franklin and Anna Wilson-Jones as Juliet Miller. These two are the new hotel owner and general manager and honestly they’re no Charlie and Rebecca that’s for sure, but they’re alright. It took me a while to warm to them, but I grew to like them. Sam’s the more interesting character because of he’s ambitious, cocky and risk-taker even if he’s annoying and troublesome to the hotel functions. and even though Harman’s good it is hard to see him and not see Dennis from Eastenders (yeah I remember stuff like that). Juliet is interesting, but isn’t a team player and has certain character traits that make her a bit bland.

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As for the returning cast Dexter Fletcher is still as charming as Tony Casemore and I liked the material Fletcher was given this season. Emma Pierson is the same as ever as Anna Thornton-Wilton, this season gives her some nice and funny moments. Martin Marquez and Ray Coulthard once again do well as Gino Primirola and James Schofield, both of them have really interesting and strong individual moments (Gino and his short-term lover and James with his old intern), and obviously together they’re the same bickering pair that they’ve been beforehand which is both humourous and tiring. Oh and Alexandra Moen as Emily James, wow. I don’t know why I’ve not noticed before, but she was absurdly gorgeous in this season, I loved just looking at her and Moen just oozed hotness at several points in the season. Also unlike last season when I found Emily annoying, she was actually quite engaging. Michael Obiora has some interesting moments as Ben Trueman, Danira Gović has some funny moments as Tanja Mihajlov, but I didn’t really care for her character becoming part of the main cast. Oh and finally Amy Nuttall as Melanie Hughes was an interesting late addition as the new receptionist, but I don’t feel like she fit into the show properly.

And the guest appearances are pretty good. Like I said before it was great to see Max Beesley as Charlie, but it was also cool to see Kelly Osbourne, Michael Winner, Honor Blackman, Tony Robinson, Frances Barber, Denise van Outen, the awesome Hugh Dennis and Ruby Turner.

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The presentation for the show is still quite nice. The visual style, cinematography and shots of exterior shots of London at day and night continue to look lovely, and the soundtrack by Jim Williams and John Lunn is still smooth, sleek and wonderful on the ears, however, like last season some of the better themes and jazz-focused elements from previous seasons isn’t around and that still sucks.

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In conclusion season 4 of Hotel Babylon is alright and has some nice moments, however when compared to what’s come before it is a massive step down. This was the point when my beautiful show well and truly died and became quite average and dull, the cast are still fun and there’s enough in this season to make it watchable, however, it just wasn’t enough. There is a reason only season’s 1 & 2 of Hotel Babylon existence in my mind, because the next two don’t measure up. Nuff said.

Rating: 5.5/10 (A tragic conclusion to this show)

So have you seen Hotel Babylon and if so what did you think of it? Thank you for checking out my reviews on this show and whatever your thoughts are drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya whenever I do my next TV review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2015 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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Hotel Babylon Season 3 Review

Howdy people of the internet, time for another TV review and today after a long break I am returning to Hotel Babylon with my review of season 3! Now I loved season 1 and season 2 was just as good if not better, now I am returning to the third season for the first time in 7 years! And I’m curious to see if my thoughts have changed or remained the same. So how does this season fare? Well read on and find out.

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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 are mainly episodic, however there are arching storylines over the course of the 8-episode season and there are also some ties to the previous two seasons. Each episode features one or more storylines to do with the staff and/or guests of the hotel and sometimes they crossover too.

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Story-wise with season 3, you get a feeling of familiarity with the characters, setting and plot format, but also because of the passing of time and new situations presented with the guests and hotel staff. Some of the strong themes of season 3 are love and relationships, change, trust and loyalty. The show doesn’t hold any punches when it comes to issues relating to fashion and child labour, deceit within the hotel staff, a guest dying of cancer, prostitution, and a man struggling with weight loss. HB is still sleek, sexy and dramatic, and not only presents the characters and audience with ethical and moral dilemmas, but it’s also incredibly fun, humourous and engaging…

That being said, one of the issues I have with storylines in season 3 is that they don’t seem as well thought out as before and some of the new scenarios feel a little haphazard just for the sake of change rather than feeling like a natural progression of the series. It’s hard to describe without giving you an example, but you can tell that there’s a dip in quality as this season goes on and while it still has its moments the show doesn’t feel as compelling and fun as it was before. There is a moment where the show peeks at episode 5 and it is at that point where you see the talent of the writers at work as they are able to create some really tension-filled, dramatic and heart-breaking material for you to watch. It is awesome and yet so sad at the same time… Unfortunately it is that point the season takes a huge loss and it never seems to recover from it and those who have seen the show will know exactly what I mean. Another aspect not as strong as before was the season finale, while the last two were brilliant, this one felt a little over-the-top, crowded and not as satisfying as it could have been, and I think it was primarily due to the impact of episode 5 which was much stronger.

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When it comes to the cast they are all pretty good, the returning cast do a good job while the new additions add to the show in an interesting way. So start with Max Beesley who was solid as Charlie Edwards. I wasn’t keen on the way Charlie was handled, he’s more Rebecca (the former manager) than himself and while that comes with the job title, I feel like he lost a little charm and humanity. This season focuses a lot at first on Charlie taking on the role as general manager and changing up his attitude towards his coworkers/friends as he starts making choices that aren’t ethical or moral for the sake of business over the more humane decisions he used to make. That being said when push comes to shove Charlie comes through. Dexter Fletcher is still good as Tony Casemore. As head concierge and most senior form of staff he knows his coworkers and the hotel pretty well, but also has to get with times and change things up, he had plenty of moments to standout whether it was because of personal issues or aspects that related to his coworkers/friends. Emma Pierson once again does well as Anna Thornton-Wilton, while her character traits are familiar, she has a lot more dramatic moments and time is dedicated to her relationship material as well.

Natalie Mendoza comes back and does well as Jackie Clunes. Here she’s just as sassy, fun and gorgeous as ever, but she doesn’t have as big of a presence as before. Martin Marquez is good as Gino Primirola and this season we get more dramatic moments for him which was welcome. Ray Coulthard again does well as James Schofield and has some time to shine with scenarios relating to his restaurant and wine collection, and while there’s no proper development for his character he is still fun to watch. Michael Obiora is good as Ben Trueman, but he’s not nearly as noticeable as his coworkers. New members to the main staff include Emily James played by Alexandra Moen and Jack Harrison played by Lee Williams. When it comes to Emily at first she’s quite annoying and mischievous, and doesn’t really fit into the main staff’s dynamic, however she eventually started to show loyalty and humour that made her more relatable and likeable, and Moen does well in her role. And when it comes to Jack he comes in as a bit of a know-it-all, has no sense of flexibility and totally lacks the human touch at first, but eventually he becomes a tolerable character. And finally there are some great appearances from Jon Culshaw, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Paula Abdul and John Barrowman (who was looking very much like Tom Cruise for some reason).

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When it comes to the presentation it is still very nice. Visually the show still has good cinematography and camera work used throughout the hotel and across London too. The soundtrack by Jim Williams and John Lunn is once again one of the best aspects of the show, however the music wasn’t as strong as before and had less of a jazz focus which was a real shame for me.

In conclusion by the time season 3 of Hotel Babylon is over you feel like there’s certainly been bumps in the road, but overall it is still pretty good. There is still a lot of heart and fun to this show, it is just unfortunate that it lost some key characters and had lacklustre stories. I’d like to say that things get better in season 4, but alas that’s not true.

Rating: 7/10 (Good, but a substantial step down from previous seasons)

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 4. 😀

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2015 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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