While I’ll always prefer director Danny Boyle’s genre films like 28 Days Later over his Oscar fare like Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours, the man seems to be incapable of creating terrible movies, which is no doubt a rarity in the filmmaking game. So it is with a bizarrely mountainous sense of expectation that we celebrate SundanceTV acquiring the rights to Boyle's first venture into television, the satirical police drama Babylon, which he created with Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, creators of the cult British comedy Peep Show. Can anything go wrong with this?
Sundance is teaming up with U.K. network Channel 4 to co-produce Babylon, which centers on an American PR consultant, played by Another Earth’s Brit Marling, who is hired by a Metropolitan official (James Nesbitt) to try and boost the police force’s image. That isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do when all of the cops are egotistical, boobish, and completely caught up in the unwavering political machine of modern-day policework.
Babylon began life as a 90-minute Danny Boyle-directed pilot (written by Armstrong and Bain) that aired in the U.K. earlier this year. Boyle will be taking an executive producer backseat for the upcoming six-episode season, according to THR, and director duties will fall to Jon S. Baird (Filth), who will helm the first three episodes, and Sally El Hosaini (My Brother the Devil), who will direct the second half of the season. Two episodes will be written by Misfits’ Jon Brown, but it appears the rest will fall to Armstrong and Bain.
If it sounds like a straight drama, that’s because it’s completely played that way, with the vaguely outlandish situations serving as the satirical fodder. Since I haven’t seen the pilot, I’m not entirely sure how closely it resembles Armstrong’s finest moments as a writer of the sublime political satire series The Thick of It, starring Peter Capaldi as the filth-spewing Malcolm Tucker. Open your ears and check out the highly NSFW clip below, featuring the many, many expletive-laden nicknames thrown around in the show’s dialogue.
We can only hope Babylon will settle anywhere close to that level of hilarity. Danny Boyle isn’t exactly known for his silly, light-hearted films, with only Shallow Grave and Trainspotting counting as actual comedies. But he’s still got a great sense of humor, and it can only be heightened by the stellar company he’s keeping.
Have your badges nice and polished by the time Babylon debuts its six-episode first season in 2015.