Friday, February 12, 2016
Hotel' S4 DVD: "Hotel 2.0'
The numerous (plausible) gamechangers in the 1986-87 fourth season premiere of the '80s Aaron Spelling drama "Hotel" make up-and-coming home video company Visual Entertainment particularly apt as the force behind the complete series DVD set of the program.
The 1985 death of veteran actress Anne Baxter, who plays the owner of the titular luxurious lodging establishment during the (previously reviewed) first three seasons of the series, prompts an ongoing power struggle regarding the ownership of the business in which household names from yesterday, today, and tomorrow play guests whose fantasies and nightmares become reality. The direct impact of the death of Baxter's Victoria Cabot, and the resulting domino effect, makes considering this season "Hotel 2.O" apt.
The connection between the numerous "Hotel" changes and Visual relates to this company releasing the complete series DVD set of the 2003-04 Christopher Gorham scifi show "Jake 2.0" sometime in 2016. The latter centers around the titular 20-something computer geek, ala "Chuck," rapidly and unexpectedly obtaining greatly enhanced abilities.
The departure of Baxter and Victoria opens the door for the arrival of regular "special guest star) "The F.B.I." star Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. as Cabot family patriarch Charles. The baggage (pun intended) that Charles brings and his bottom-line approach to business clashing with with the white-glove approach to service that hotel executive Peter McDermott, played by James "Mr. Streisand" Brolin, advocates provides very entertaining fodder for plots.
The "2.0" vibe continues with '80s primetime soap "Knots Landing" star Michelle Phillips playing new concierge Elizabeth Bradshaw. Elizabeth following up being discovered in bed with a married guest with being caught leaking confidential information establishes that "Hotel" is diverting from the theme of the entire staff being a big happy family. Additional work-related strife comes in the form of one-time BFF reservations agents Julie and Megan having a virtual cat fight.
A stand-alone plot ins the S4 premiere episode prompts numerous "Pretty Woman" jokes in that it has a hunky successful architect fall in love with the prostitute whom he hires. Said working girl being a single mother and dramatically summarizing her childhood traumas contributes awesome cheesy goodness.
Another early storyline in which McDermott trying to help the agoraphobic daughter of a family friend continues the trend of social issues-oriented "very special" episodes that are common in the second season. "Eight is Enough" actor Grant Goodeve playing the hunky and compassionate jilted fiance of the daughter provides numerous opportunities for "take it for granted" jokes.
Another memorable plot has game show host/veteran (including numerous "The Love Boat" episodes) character actor Bert Convy playing a bigamist. His two wives discovering the true states of their unions offers a perfect mix of comedy and melodrama.
The most awesome part of this season of "Hotel" is that all of the above occurs in the first 4 of the 22 S4 episodes. The remaining 18 have plenty of fun and includes guest stars that range from Shirley Jones to Johnny Depp.
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