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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

'Hotel' S1 DVD: ‘The Love Boat’ meets ‘Hotel Babylon’

Product Details
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The portions of the below review that discuss the series "Arthur Hailey's Hotel" and the first-season episodes of that show are an edited version of n earlier review by your (sometimes) humble reviewer for a site that predates Unreal TV.  

Visual Entertainment awesomely recently re-released the first season of this classic Aaron Spelling '80s drama following the discontinuation of another DVD set of this season and returned the remaining four seasons to the light of day in a complete series set. Upcoming reviews of every season from the second one on will be entirely original and solely be based on the Visual set.]

"Hotel" is a member of a trifecta regarding '70s and '80s hour-long Aaron Spelling dramas with varying degrees of humor (with varying degrees of hilarity). Any sofa spud knows that "The Love Boat" is the first entry, soon followed by "Fantasy Island." However, "Hotel" has the best pedigree of the trio. It is part of an additional trifecta in that its genesis is a best-selling novel by "Airport" author Alex Haley. The book in turn becomes a 1967 film. Fifteen years later, Spelling moves the titular St. Gregory Hotel from the New Orleans French Quarter to San Francisco.

Spelling adapts his highly successful formula of having rising, flourishing, and fading stars guest star in stories that range from the sublime, to the ridiculous, to the sublimely ridiculous in a lush setting, In this case, a luxury hotel plays the role filled by a cruise ship and a tropical island in the earlier programs. the hotel staff fills the roles of the crew and the minions of Mr. Roarke in "Boat" and "Island" respectively.

In turn, all three series can be considered the predecessors of the fantubulous modern British dramedy "Hotel Babylon." This series adds an especially strong prime-time soap element to the "Hotel" formula of having stars from every end of the celebrity spectrum check in each week,

Although “Hotel” is an obvious “Boat” clone, it has more in common with "Babylon" Both these series even have supporting characters who are ex-convicts and currently hold positions of trust in the hotel but come under suspicion because of their pasts.

The "Hotel" pilot includes a typical Spelling plot that has "Happy Days" star Erin Moran as a naïve young singer whom a man posing as a theatrical agent seduces with a false promise of a booking. Moran does not sing with “Days” co-star Scott “Chachi” Baio, but Baio does appear in a later episode in this season of “Hotel.” This type of casting prompted  a friend whom I told that I was reviewing “Hotel” asking if regular  "Boat” guest-star Charo was in an episode. (It does not seem that Charo ever checks into the St. Gregory.)

Other S1 plots in which nighttime soap diva Morgan Fairchild appropriately plays a veteran prostitute who is raped by high school boys after their prom and in which fellow primetime suds star Heather Locklear portrays a beauty contest contestant sleeping with a judge in exchange for a promise of his vote are so over the top that they are funny.

Fairchild’s character saying that she is raped once a week and offering to repay hotel manager James “Mr. Streisand” Brolin in “trade” for his assistance is just absurd.

Checking out the California “Hotel” for the nostalgic fun of it is worthwhile, but you may never leave.

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