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Mistral’s Thorn-Scruples

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I’ve been looking forward to IFC’s “The Spoils of Babylon” ever since I saw previews for it and had no idea what the hell I was looking at. Now that I know that it’s a mini mini-series spoofing the epic mini-series of the 70’s and 80’s, I’m even more intrigued.

I don’t know if you’ve heard or not, but soaps are pretty much dead. I may be writing their epitaph prematurely–gosh I hope I am! But they’re being pretty quickly phased out of the major networks’ daytime line-ups, the days of soapy mini-series are gone, and the last nighttime soap I can recall, the wonderful “Dirty Sexy Money,” went off the air a few years ago. Sure, if you squint, you’ll see that many nighttime dramas are, in fact, soaps. But they’re not soap soaps, ya know? They’re not wealthy people flitting about in designer outfits, having dramatic conversations in pristine, obviously-not-lived-in “rich people rooms.” And there’s not one goddamn evil twin to be found.

So, yeah, I’m excited about “The Spoils of Babylon,” because it combines two of my favorite things: soapy drama and goofy comedy. But the reviews are decidedly mixed, and I wonder if the IFC audience (which I’m guessing skews pretty young) is the right one for “Spoils.” If you’re in your 40’s and 50’s, you grew up in the era of splashy mini-series based on Sidney Sheldon and Judith Krantz books. But your average 20 or 30-year-old may look at the “Spoils” format and just be plain confused. I don’t care. Watching it will be a wonderfully nostalgic experience for me.

What are your thoughts? Is it time for soaps and their more glamorous nighttime cousin, the mini-series, to make a comeback? Do you think a comeback is unlikely or inevitable? Do you watch soaps or something “soapy?”

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