It’s called Babylon and it made its quasi-debut last night on the Sundance channel. The New York Times, which reviewed the show here, says there was a pilot in September, but the six episodes for the season will be shown in succession starting this week.
Starring Brit Marling, who was in the awesome and unsettling movie Another Earth, and created by Danny Boyle, the Oscar-winning director of Slumdog Millionaire, the show is about an American PR expert Liz Garvey (Marling) who goes to London to help the city’s police force work rebuild its tarnished reputation.
Marling faces hostility from a colleague who wants her job, police Commissioner Richard Miller (played by The Hobbit’s James Nesbitt) who doesn’t fully “get” new-fangled comms strategies, and other workers within the organization just because. Sound familiar?
Most of the accents are British, but, from what I could tell of what I saw last night, a lot of the issues the show brings up — media relations, pushing a desired message, overcoming the inevitable bad news that will get out — are universal. Here in the US, we have a fabulous show about a PR pro in Scandal, but it’s just as much a soap opera about a love triangle and a very difficult family situation as it is about publicity work.
So I wonder if Babylon is more realistic in its portrayal of the PR industry, even though it’s a satirical comedy. The first episode dealt with the police response to a riot at a youth prison facility. Garvey is trying to work with her PR nemesis Finn Kirkwood (played by Bertie Carvel), who’s on the scene and vying for her job. Here’s a clip:
The first episode is available online and you can catch a recap tonight. Since I missed pieces, I’ll be watching. The show aired on Channel 4 in the UK, so to watch the pilot, go to their website and check it out. New episodes air each Thursday at 10pm.
Let us know what you think in the comments.