We are in a golden age of television. We are also in an age of excess. As such, we often have to pick and choose what we watch, because we simply don’t have enough time to watch everything that is good. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of great shows slip through the cracks. As a fan of TV, who watches much more TV than the regular person, I am always sad to see some of the best TV shows slip so far beneath the radar that they become obscure and unknown. In an effort to improve the standing of some of these “lost” shows, I have decided to create Spotlight, a new Feature series at TVEnthusiast. Spotlight will be a regular article series that, with each iteration, pleads the case of a different series that has somehow slipped under the radar.
The Booth at the End
Though originally developed by US cable channel FX, The Booth at the End debuted on the Canadian channel City. Years after its conclusion the series was eventually picked up by Hulu as a “Hulu Original” for United States distribution. The Booth at the End, a fantasy drama, was created by Christopher Kubasik, an Author of pen and paper Role Playing Games who worked on such titles as Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and Shadowrun. The series stars Xander Berkeley (Nikita) as the unnamed man who sits in the titular booth conversing with needy strangers. The first season of the series was Directed by Jessica Landaw (Judging Amy), and the second by American screen Legend Adam Arkin (Justified). Adam Arkin also served the series as an Executive Producer.
What is The Booth at the End?
In The Booth at the End, Xander Berkeley portrays an unnamed man who spends every second of his screen time sitting in a booth in a 1950s style American diner. Through the course of the series he is visited by various people with desperate needs. As a Luciferian character, the man provides a solution for these people’s wishes, in the form of a Faustian deal. Those who make such desperate wishes are given tasks to accomplish before their wish can be granted, they are told to follow through on these tasks and report back frequently on their progress. All the while, the unnamed Luciferian man in the booth records details in a mysterious journal. The series takes place entirely within the Diner, with no action outside of the conversations between the man and those “clients” seeking his help. Each episode is broken up into smaller segments featuring various clients making deals, and giving details on their progress. Initially, I believed that the episodes were compilations of a web series, but I never felt less enthralled due to the unorthodox structure of the series. As each season progresses we begin to see how each of the individual stories are deeply linked together, and the real story of the season begins to come into focus.
What makes The Booth at the End good?
Xander Berkeley is amazing as the Luciferian man in the booth. His clients are, in equal parts, terrified and intrigued by him, as they make reckless choices based on their desperate needs. Though there isn’t anything to be found in the series outside of the conversations between the man and his clients, the series is strangely compelling as the clients impart their stories and we begin to see how they intersect with each other. It might seem as if the acting and writing drive the drama alone, but the series is meticulously shot and cut to drive up the tension. Things become even more intriguing as the show itself begins to question the role of the man in the booth, while never giving us a concrete understanding of exactly who, or what, he is. At the end of the day, The Booth at the End is quite simply a marvelously different approach to both fantasy and drama.
Why is The Both at the End being featured in Spotlight?
With only 10 episodes to its total 2 season run, The Booth at the End is a largely unknown property, perhaps more so than any other entry in Spotlight so far. In addition to being mostly unknown, the series also deserves a lot of yet to be given credit for its minimalist approach to telling a rather complex narrative. The Booth at the End deserves a far larger audience than it found, and while fans of the series are highly appreciative of what the series has done, The Booth at the End should be talked about and dissected as a form of narrative storytelling that is entirely uncommon among its peers.
Should I watch The Booth at the End?
Yes, at the very least you should watch an episode of the series. The Booth at the End is so wildly different in its storytelling that it is hard to find a connection to other shows which might gateway you into the series. For that reason I feel that The Booth at the End needs to be seen to be understood, and inevitably beloved. The series will likely leave you craving more, while at the same time adding the name of Actor Xander Berkeley to your notable Actors to pay attention to lexicon. It is just that damn good.
The Booth at the End aired 2 seasons, a total of 10 episodes, on the Canadian channel City. The series eventually found its way to Hulu as a “Hulu Original”, despite originally being developed for US cable channel FX. Both seasons are currently available to stream on Hulu. Unfortunately, the series was not picked up for a 3rd season.
Have you seen Booth at the End? Are you interested? Tell us in our comments, and stay tuned to TVEnthusiast for more coverage of all of your favorite shows.