• Network: IFC
  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 9, 2014
  • Season #: 1
Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 26
  2. Negative: 1 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Jan 8, 2014
    100
    These first two episodes are gut-busting, non-stop fun.
  2. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Jan 7, 2014
    88
    The Spoils of Babylon is an entertaining and spot-on spoof of the overdone potboiler miniseries of the 1970s and '80s.
  3. Reviewed by: Melissa Maerz
    Jan 3, 2014
    83
    The real laughs come from seeing so many famous people in absurd situations waxing nostalgic for the age of the melodrama, hen the romance was good, the green screens were bad, and the fashion was even worse. [10 Jan 2013, p.67]
  4. Reviewed by: Tim Molloy
    Jan 15, 2014
    80
    This is silliness for its own wonderfully ridiculous sake.
  5. Reviewed by: Marlow Stern
    Jan 10, 2014
    80
    While Episode 1 is a bit of a bore, the second episode is flat-out hilarious.
  6. Reviewed by: Terri Schwartz
    Jan 9, 2014
    80
    The new comedy delivers on its crazy promise.
  7. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Jan 9, 2014
    80
    [A strange, zany, funny, and very star-studded six-episode series.
  8. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Jan 8, 2014
    80
    If the first two installments are any indication, Spoils of Babylon will be a short-lived but entertaining hoot, an ideal addition to the IFC "Always On. Slightly Off" comedy brand that includes "Portlandia," "The Birthday Boys" and "Maron."
  9. Reviewed by: Michael Starr
    Jan 9, 2014
    75
    It’s all in good fun, lets us in on the joke and--save for one dumb plot device--is well done and believable in its contextual universe.
  10. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Jan 8, 2014
    75
    The show has enough originality and sheer wackiness to maintain viewer interest, not to mention ridiculous effects that are anything but special.
  11. Reviewed by: Erik Adams
    Jan 8, 2014
    75
    Reproduction isn’t The Spoils Of Babylon’s comic strong suit, absurdity is. Crummy special effects are cute, but the miniseries finds its voice by bursting Jonrosh’s bubble, illuminating his shortcomings as a filmmaker through mealy mouthed dialogue, incomprehensible blocking, and continuity errors.
  12. Reviewed by: Chuck Bowen
    Jan 7, 2014
    75
    The Spoils of Babylon is a dada high-wire act presided over by quasi-satirical nutters, and the chaos they invoke is oddly life-affirming.
  13. Reviewed by: Lori Rackl
    Jan 7, 2014
    75
    The Spoils of Babylon is a star-studded, droll spoof of television miniseries from the ’80s.
  14. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Jan 2, 2014
    75
    This parody of bad vintage miniseries is asinine--it's supposed to be--and from time to time hilarious. [13 Jan 2014, p.49]
  15. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Feb 20, 2014
    70
    Smaller tastings of silliness should make for a nice Thursday night alternative this winter.
  16. Reviewed by: Allison Keene
    Jan 9, 2014
    70
    The comedy is at its best when Babylon behaves like a real melodrama--with tropes taken to exaggerated extremes — rather than relying too much on the visual gags of a bygone era.
  17. Reviewed by: Christopher Muther
    Jan 8, 2014
    70
    It’s a brave, and at times uneven, experiment. It’s also a reminder of a time when television was a much simpler and campier place.
  18. Reviewed by: Neil Genzlinger
    Jan 8, 2014
    70
    It’s good for some dumb laughs, and--important in this age when complex television dramas consume so many of our brain cells--it doesn’t demand much of a mental commitment.
  19. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Jan 7, 2014
    70
    The casting should be a modest draw, though again, the nature of the exercise feels better suited to Web shorts than even half-hour episodes. That said, the show is fitfully funny, and while perhaps unworthy of Jonrosh’s full daylong opus, as ways of idly killing time go, hey, it beats dying.
  20. Reviewed by: David Hiltbrand
    Jan 9, 2014
    60
    As enjoyable as it is to watch, it seems at the same time ridiculously far to go for a joke. You can't escape the feeling that an extraordinary amount of time, money, and talent have been spent on a thin premise.
  21. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Jan 9, 2014
    60
    Over six episodes, almost no cliche of TV epics is left unlampooned. In the end, ironically, Spoils of Babylon creates some excess of its own.
  22. Reviewed by: Diane Werts
    Jan 8, 2014
    58
    The first two episodes prove as tiresomely pleased-with-themselves as my run-on sentences. A half-hour is too much of not enough.
  23. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    Jan 9, 2014
    50
    Some of these bits work very well, albeit as free-floating shards of comedy.... But parody works best when its subject is either truly iconic or still relatively fresh in the minds of the audience and, mercifully, the B-list miniseries of yesteryear are neither.
  24. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Jan 9, 2014
    50
    Some of the stylistic touches are amusing, including a bombastic theme song belted by Steve Lawrence, but the strain shows as Babylon's sketchy premise is elongated to miniseries length.
  25. 40
    The behind-the-scenes story that Jonrosh lays out for us is, alas, more amusing, even sight-unseen, than anything in the story proper.... What we do see is curiously tone-deaf and rarely pays off as you hope it will.
  26. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Jan 3, 2014
    25
    Part of the joke is that The Spoils of Babylon was utterly unwatchable, and that’s why the network never showed it; it seems they achieved that goal a little too well.
User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. Jan 9, 2014
    9
    Leave it to IFC to air such a ridiculous, parodical, star-studded miniseries that works so surprisingly well. The Spoils of Babylon throwsLeave it to IFC to air such a ridiculous, parodical, star-studded miniseries that works so surprisingly well. The Spoils of Babylon throws together farcical sets and costumes, bombastic and shallow dialogue, hilariously awkward acting, and tons of continuity errors to create what may most likely remain the parody series of the year. There are times where you will feel like you're watching a 12:45 SNL sketch. And there are other times where you will be rolling on your couch, gripping your gut and choking out what doesn't even sound like laughter anymore. But most of the time, the show will feel like both.
    What makes the show work the most are the minute details in production and writing. Green screens will malfunction for a millisecond, but that's just enough. The continuity errors are often small and range from geographical to chronological, but someone on the couch will be bound to notice it and share with enthusiasm. If for no other reason, watch for a gut-busting brunch conflict between Kristen Wiig and a gaudily dressed mannequin voiced by Carey Mulligan over the heart of Wiig's adopted brother, Tobey Maguire (and yes, by heart, I mean marriage and everything that comes with it).

    FINAL SCORE: 85 (excitingly great ----------o---------- almost perfect)
    Full Review »
  2. Jan 24, 2014
    7
    In the sea of many comedy shows that are not funny at all, I find Spoils of Babylon very entertaining. The cast is good, and I think that theIn the sea of many comedy shows that are not funny at all, I find Spoils of Babylon very entertaining. The cast is good, and I think that the whole point of this show is parody. So, why the bad comments?? Full Review »
  3. Feb 16, 2014
    7
    For a show that prides itself in being awful, The Spoils of Babylon sure as hell is good. This six part IFC mini-series delivers a nicheFor a show that prides itself in being awful, The Spoils of Babylon sure as hell is good. This six part IFC mini-series delivers a niche humour that's unlike a lot of comedies on air. Like Will Ferrell's Eric Jonrosh, I would never say 'masterpiece', however.

    The drunken, egotistical, misogamist hilariously introduces us to each episode, lauding it for how good a job he did. Sometimes it's worth re-watching these introduction segments too. Jonrosh often specifically points out the best parts of the show that are actually the worst.

    Spoils' humour is delightfully subtle in other ways too. Continuity errors are prevalent but some are sneakily placed for those eagle-eyed viewers out there.

    Of course, the real magic in in the more obvious pieces. I can't get enough of seeing that toy car being dragged along a plastic road. Or Devon Morehouse's (Tobey Maguire) underwater lab where fish from some sort of nature film are swimming around in the background. And how about his lab partner played by Jessica Alba? I could go on but I'd like to keep this relatively spoiler free, since I don't believe enough people watched this show. I want to try to get as many people as possible to give it at least a shot.

    The show's plot mostly deals with Devon and Cynthia (Kristen Wiig) Morehouse's uncontrollable love for each other. They try to do a Romeo and Juliet-esque take and fail spectacularly (which is a good thing in this specific case). Their love is forbidden because they're step siblings, which is kind of weird but not a huge deal for the audience. The over-dramatization of this love affair is the key to this series.

    The show does stumble occasionally though. Sometimes things are taken a bit too far. One poorly edited scene in the second to last episode was funny at first but ended up dragging on and on, for example. Also, this show won't be everyone's cup of tea. As I said above, this targets a specific audience. You may just simply find the show boring since it's so poorly put together.

    I personally quite like it, but you'd think a show like this would be more common. I mean really, all you have to do is get people to act poorly, use laughably bad set-pieces, and just mish-mash everything incoherently while editing. Nevertheless, The Spoils of Babylon amazingly parodies low-budget movies/mini-series in an awesome, over the top way.
    Full Review »