HOTEL BABYLON: SEASON TWO is an interesting 8 episodes to tackle. Rather than continue existing storylines --- which there weren't many to begin with --- "Series Two", as they call it in UK, ups the ante in almost every way. If you were unsure about whether HOTEL BABYLON was a comedy or a drama, you'll find out very quickly.
To me, the 1st Season was a fairly realistic portrayal of the insanity of luxury hotel work. Believe me, I work in a hotel, and there is no glamour in it whatsoever. But in true TV fashion, HOTEL BABYLON just exaggerated the details a bit, so that we could enjoy ourselves. Well, actually the show's VERY exaggerated, but there's a degree of truth and conviction underneath the silliness. The Second Season pretty much drops most of the dramatic arcs, and sort of becomes a parody of itself. If you can imagine this, think it like a British live-action SIMPSONS --- nothing is off limits, the comedy is both broad & subtle, and the attention to detail is in the background as much as the foreground.
Is this change of pace a good thing? To me, the season takes an episode or two to get off the ground. I never disliked HOTEL BABYLON's sudden turn to even wilder adventures or more outlandish scenarios. It's just that SEASON TWO's first few episodes are bit tame compared to rest of the incredible bunch. In other words, the concept was always spot on, but the greatest episodes are saved for last. We begin with silly stories like a college friends' reunion (you know where that one is going, right?). But later, we get some very touching stories. There's a betrayal from receptionist Ben's past, concierge Tony's desperation after a deal gone wrong, and Emma finally becomes less of a caricature. Oh, and if you thought the 1st Season's finale was too unbelievable for your tastes, I promise you this one is much more grounded and (in my opinion) stronger.
Once you accept how little HOTEL BABYLON takes itself serious, you can enjoy yourself a lot more. One of the best bits --- and don't worry, it's early in the Season --- is a poker game that's shot in a style that would make Sergio Leone laugh hysterically. Speaking of style, the photography, music, casting, and production remain absolutely perfect. The show's main theme is a tad silly, but again, so is the entire show.
So, does "Series Two" satisfy my needs, or do I feel its service was unsatisfactory? Like any vacation, HOTEL BABYLON: SEASON TWO gets off to a rough start, but then doubles its efforts to make me a happy guest. Sorry for the hotel cliches --- I figured since the series series threw traditions out the window that I could use them.
HOTEL BABYLON is on an excellent roll, 16 episodes and running. Can't wait for the Third Season to reach the States.