But viewers coming to it from that angle were disappointed: the truth is that “Babylon”‘s satire is not so much delivered in witty, stinging dialogue (though there’s a fair bit of well-written quippery), as in drama that has the dial turned up a notch or two for heightened, and not always comic, effect.
The subtlety of this approach made “Babylon” unlike anything else on TV and is doubtless why it never found much of an audience and still awaits news on a second series (which feels less likely with each passing week) — but it’s also exactly what made the show so interesting.
The opening episode felt more like an epilogue to the previous finale, and taking Lena Dunham’s Hannah out of Brooklyn and placing her in the Iowa Writing Workshop never gelled, but the show quickly revealed that that was the point: Hannah might have the talent to be a professional writer, but she doesn’t have the temperament, and the character soon made the surprisingly self-aware decision to give up on her long-held dream and become a teacher.
Every year, some clickbait-chasing doofus questions whether TV or film is the superior medium, ignoring that they’re entirely different from each other, good at different things and perfectly able to compliment each other.
But what is undeniable is that in recent years, the quality of what we’re seeing on the small screen has become increasingly more exciting and sophisticated.
She has flaws, but she cares about the people around her, and the show features the strongest female family relationships since “Gilmore Girls.” All that sincerity, coupled with the soapy drama, could feel overwhelming, but the show’s tone ably straddles the line between serious and silly, making it unlike anything else currently on TV.
The scripts are smart, but “Jane the Virgin”’s secret weapon is Anthony Mendez as the show’s “Latin Lover” narrator.
While the overall result is not as good as some of the best stuff from “Damages,” the debut season is still packed with enough technical bravado, darkly twisted secrets, compelling sibling rivalry, and emotional verve to make one shake one’s head in quiet protest at the lack of attention the show got.