Friday, September 14, 2007

Sleek, Stylish and Deadly?

This week's episode of Hotel Babylon was somewhat different than the others that have aired thus far. Instead of the usual sex and luxury focus, this one was all about the hotel late at night. The major plot was whether a guest murdered his wife. Anna was freaked out by working the night shift and convinced herself and Charlie that Mr. Johnson killed his wife, cut up her body, put it in his suitcase and stored her in the trunk of his car. The show had the typical moments of stupid actions that are standard in situations like this. Anna used her key card to gain access to Mr. Johnson's room. When she walks into the room she put her key on a table rather than back in her pocket. She opens a zipped up bag, finds rope, gloves and tape in it. Then of coure Mr. Johnson is heard at the door coming in and she hides so as to avoid detection. When she leaves the room, she naturally forgets her key. Very typical. However, the the twists thrown in were wonderful.

The episode starts with a guest laying on the patio off his room, face down, unconscious, surrounded by broken glass. The show then backs up to 8 hours earlier to reveal what happened. The unconscious man is Mr. Johnson. Finding out how he got there was fun, despite the standard schtick like Anna's key.

After watching this episode I realized what it is that makes British shows generally better than American versions of the same show. For example Coupling. This is a great show in the British version, but the American one, despite using the EXACT same script was horrible. So, it is not the writing that is the difference. British actors often have this dispassionate was of acting and speaking. It is not a deadpan, but it is not "acted." That is the key. The way the actors deliver their lines makes these shows wonderful. They let the writing do its own work, and just deliver the lines, trusting in the script. Obviously they are acting, but it is much subtler than on American shows.

Next week's Babylon promises to be back to the standard sex and luxury type of episode. I cannot wait.

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