TV review: The Spoils Before Dying, Fox
Brilliant comedy pastiche of 70s TV melodramas starring Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig and Michael K Williams
This follow up to 2014's The Spoils of Babylon is actually a brand new self-contained miniseries, but continues to parody the epic TV melodramas of the 70s and 80s. Once again Will Ferrell plays verbose self-important writer Eric Jonrosh who introduces each episode as though it's a grandiose work of televisual art.
Jazz pianist Rock Banyon (Michael K Williams) is accused of murdering Fresno Foxglove (Maya Rudolph). He's given three days to clear his name but flees to Mexico City where he runs into old flame, and chronic alcoholic, Delores DeWinter (Kristen Wiig). However he soon finds himself embroiled in a bebop murder mystery. As Jonrosh handily sums it up at the end of episode one: 'well that's what you're in for: jazz, adventure, cats, coppers, dead people, pills, booze, the list goes on.'
Everyone overacts their heart out spoofing the likes of Thorn Birds with a heavy dash of Dallas. Written and created by Saturday Night Live and Funny Or Die alumni Matt Piedmont and Andrew Steele, the attention to detail is a joy, from the titles, credits and channel idents (brought to you in Vibro-Color) to the knowingly over egged, super corny dialogue and the use of miniature models and stock footage. The gags range from slapstick humour and god awful puns to sharp observations on the ridiculous excesses of 80s TV and outdated attitudes.
Williams is magnificent as the straight man anchoring all the silliness while Ferrell and Wiig chew the scenery as if their lives depended on it. Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense) is also back after a stint on Babylon as Banyon's manager Alistair St Barnaby-Bixby-Jones, complete with a deliberately dreadful British accent.
Too many people missed Babylon; don't let The Spoils Before Dying pass you by.
The Spoils Before Dying premieres on Fox, Thu 23 July, 10.30pm