IFC has released a teaser trailer for Will Ferrell’s upcoming limited series, The Spoils of Babylon, and confirmed that Michael Sheen, Val Kilmer, Tim Robbins, and Jessica Alba will join Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Tobey Maguire, and Haley Joel Osment in the cast.
The Funny or Die produced series – which has begun filming six 30-minute episodes – is being described as a spoof of event shows, and based on the teaser, that certainly seems accurate. A thunderous narrator tells us to prepare ourselves for “the century’s most anticipated television event” while talking up the fake author of the fake book that the epic show is based on as we gaze upon a room filled with smoke, taxidermy, and opulence.
That aforementioned fake author will, of course, be played by Ferrell, who will also play the Shah of Iran. For what it’s worth, the press release goes on to say that Jonrosh has also fake-written The Spoils of Galaxy 7, The Spoils of Grasping for God, The Spoils of Sahara, The Spoils of the Singing Night Squirrel (and oh dear lord is that the squirrel from the teaser?), The Spoils of the Weeping Falcon, and The Spoils Beneath the Sea – so one has to wonder if this could be the first of many real adaptations of fake things.
As for what The Spoils of Babylon is about, here’s a synopsis from the press release:
‘The Spoils of Babylon,’ a century-spanning saga, chronicles the sexy and dramatic lives of the Morehouse family, led by Jonas Morehouse (Robbins), his daughter Cynthia (Wiig) and her adopted brother Devon (Maguire) who made their fortune in the oil business. The series takes viewers from the oil fields of Texas to boardrooms in New York City, through war torn battlefields and velvet-sheeted bedrooms.
Cynthia and Devon’s unbridled and taboo passion for one another cannot be prevented. Add in Cynthia’s evil son Winston (Osment), her put upon husband Chet Halner (Sheen), and Devon’s new love interest Dixie Mellonworth (Alba), and the booze, the pills, more passion, more pills and the heartache, and you have a mercurial potboiler. Then add in illegal arms deals, international espionage, the Shah of Iran (Ferrell), and two US Army Generals (Kilmer, Steve Tom) and it begins to overflow with boiling liquid in a pot on a hot stove that is operational.
Funny or Die has, of course, ventured into TV before, most notably with Funny or Die Presents for their corporate partner, HBO. But this surely stands as their most ambitious project yet, and IFC makes perfect sense as the venue considering their role other less-than-mainstream comedies Portlandia, Marc Maron’s eponymous sitcom, Comedy Bang! Bang!, and an upcoming show from The Birthday Boys.
Moreover, IFC has also dabbled with 6-part comedic event series before with last year’s underrated Bullet in the Face from Sledge Hammer! creator Alan Spencer, so this is nothing new for them. Though surely they’re hoping that this one does a little better with critics and winds up being somewhere near as epic as it impossibly – and facetiously – claims to be.
The Spoils of Babylon premieres in 2014 on IFC.