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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that since this racy British drama follows the wealthy, self-indulgent patrons of a fictional five-star London hotel, topics like drug use, drinking, prostitution, and extramarital affairs are common. What's more, because plenty of scenes focus on the staff's efforts to promote their guests' lavish lifestyles -- all in order to increase profits and tips -- the show glorifies greed. Strong language (including "s--t"), prevalent sexual content (including brief partial nudity, with short glimpses of breasts), and mature issues like suicide and gun violence are typical fare. Bottom line? It's a guilty pleasure waiting to happen ... for grown ups.
What's the story?
Based Imogen Edwards-Jones' novel, the British drama HOTEL BABYLON centers on a five-star London hotel where high-paying guests are given the royal treatment -- and staff members pull out all the stops to make sure their every desire is satisfied. What the patrons say goes -- their favorite foods magically appear on the room-service menu, and, most importantly, their reputation-ruining secrets are handled with the utmost discretion. Heading up the hotel's capable staff is General Manager Rebecca Mitchell (Tamzin Outhwaite), who is willing to sacrifice almost everything -- even her marriage -- for her share of the Babylon's profit. Deputy Manager Charlie Edwards (Max Beesley) is hungry to rise to the top, but he's hampered by a complicated past and strong morals that sometimes puts him at odds with guests and his peers. Other characters include gold-digging receptionist Anna Thornton-Wilton (Emma Pierson); tips-obsessed concierge Tony Casemore (Dexter Fletcher); star-struck receptionist Ben Trueman (Michael Obiora); and the hardworking head of housekeeping, Jackie Clunes (Natalie Mendoza).
Is it any good?
If you're looking for a new guilty pleasure laden with sex, lies, and the possibility of hidden videotape, then Hotel Babylon is probably worth a reservation. But since it's full of drug use, drinking, illicit sex, and illegal activity, save it for when the kids (even teens) aren't around.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether series like this are just intended to be guilty pleasures, or whether they're trying to make a larger statement about society. What do the characters value? How would you describe their personalities? To what degree does our society value fame, fortune, and power? How do we explain our obsession with celebrity? Why is money so important to us? Have you ever witnessed a person's quest for money or fame override their own moral judgment? What do you think of that?