LIV AND LET LIVE
Based on the novels of Volker Kutscher and co-written and co-directed by Tom Tykwer ( Run Lola Run), Babylon is the most expensive non-english TV drama ever—costing a reported $40 million—and it shows. A visual and nostalgia feast, the 16-episode thriller takes place in 1929 Berlin, during the economically depressed, creatively vibrant Weimar Republic, with its permissive attitudes toward sex, drugs and crime. (Bryan Ferry makes a cameo as a nightclub singer in a sadomasochistic club.) The show is primarily a crime drama, but it also serves as a vivid explanation for the rise of Adolf Hitler. It might be the most straightforward of the shows here, but Babylon’s complex plot twists and more than 19 characters demand close attention.