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While the mainstream is fetishizing the ’90s, a crew is still looking back at the forgotten corners of ’80s pop culture. IFC mini-series The Spoils of Babylon is from exec producers Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Matt Piedmont, Andrew Steele and Nate Young. (Steele and Piedmont wrote.) It is designed as a spoof of ’80s event television, and skewers stuff like The Thorn Birds; beach lit stories that, in their small-screen incarnations, are forgotten by most people who weren’t around to watch them the first time.

The series is about the Morehouse oil tycoon family, with Tobey Maguire, Tim Robbins and Kristen Wiig among the leads. (Jessica Alba, Jelly Howie, Val Kilmer, Michael Sheen, and Steve Tom also show up.) Below, watch a trailer in which Maguire narrates a brief history of the family, culminating with the ominous memory of the Morehouse son Winston. Read More »

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Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are living in the past. The modern TV “event series” has its roots in, well, Roots, and other mini-series adaptations of popular epic fiction. The late ’70s and early ’80s saw a rash of highly-touted adaptations of historical novels and family sagas, with the runaway success of Roots followed by Jesus of Nazareth, Shogun, The Thorn Birds, The Winds of War, and many more.

The basic format has changed little today — you’ll still see mini-series novel adaptations with a high-profile cast and a budget that outstrips some television. but there’s a way of advertising these events that has changed a little bit.

For their IFC mini-series The Spoils of Babylon, Ferrell and McKay are taking aim at those TV events, and they’ve appropriated the old ’80s ad style to go along with it. Or a comic version of it, at least. I don’t know if this will work on people under 30, but anyone who was watching TV in the late ’70s and early ’80s will chuckle at this spot. (The series features Ferrell, Kristin Wiig, Tobey Maguire, Jessica Alba, Michael Sheen, Val Kilmer, Tim Robbins and Haley Joel Osment, but none of them show up in this teaser, just warning.) Read More »

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