It’s a common occurrence in Hollywood for a laundry list of hotshot actors to team up once or twice a year for an epic, big-budget feature film with high expectations.
What is much less common is for the A-list actors to team up for a satirical, soap opera miniseries on small, independent television network; yet that is exactly what has happened on IFC’s “The Spoils of Babylon” which concluded on Feb. 7.
Starring Kristen Wiig (“Saturday Night Live,” “Bridesmaids”) and Toby Maguire (“Spiderman,” “Seabiscuit”), “The Spoils of Babylon” is truly a unique brand of cinematography and over dramatic acting, which would normally an awful combination but creators Matt Piedmont and Andrew Steele make it work in the name of satire. The series blends several different film styles from western, noir, parody, and animation, all to create one bizarre intertwined soap opera.
At its root, the spoof heavy series is an unconventional love story between Cynthia (Wiig) and Devon (Maguire) Morehouse, a pair of step-siblings who are raised together in poverty only to strike rich with oil in Texas and move their way to corporate success the Big Apple. This odd couple has euphoric ups and dismal downs, as any good soap opera love story has. Within their story, several love triangles play out, as well as drug addiction, corporate espionage and heroism in war.
The concept of big name actors aligning for a project on one of the more obscure television networks is certainly new. However it wouldn’t be surprising for viewers to become more accustomed to it as the small screen is slowly but surely drawing audiences away from feature films as Hollywood products continue to disappoint viewers with a lack of substance while television dramas like “Breaking Bad” and “Game of Thrones” enjoy a great deal of success in viewership. Other names who appear in “The Spoils of Babylon” are Val Kilmer, Will Farrell, Jessica Alba, and Tim Robbins.
“The Spoils of Babylon” is a worthwhile watch not just for its comedic genius, but also for the plot’s absurdity in poking fun of the drama viewers are used to seeing in other programs. Satire never gets old, and this IFC miniseries proves the satire genre can be done by celebrity actors, not just up-and-comers or indie mainstays.
Brett Montana can be reached at email@example.com.