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TV review: IFC’s ‘The Spoils of Babylon’

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Spoils of Babylon, a Funny or Die production, stars Tobey Maguire.

Two and a half stars

The Spoils of Babylon Thursdays, 10 p.m., IFC.

It’s not surprising that The Spoils of Babylon is a Funny or Die production, since it feels a bit like an overgrown web video. The concept is amusing: It’s a parody of the bloated, self-important network TV miniseries of the 1970s and ’80s, productions like The Thorn Birds and North and South that were based on giant bestselling novels. Will Ferrell plays the author of a fictional doorstop bestseller, introducing the long-lost miniseries version of his book, which features an impressive cast led by Tobey Maguire and Kristen Wiig. Creators Matt Piedmont and Andrew Steele (the team behind Ferrell’s Casa de Mi Padre) impressively recreate the cheesy, dated look and style of epic miniseries, but Spoils is pretty much a one-joke affair. By the second episode, Piedmont and Steele are already resorting to random absurdity to keep the parody going. A three-minute trailer probably would have been enough.

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