Hazbin Hotel Season 1 Review


Hazbin Hotel Has a Hope in Hell

Cast: Erika Henningsen, Amir Talai, Stephanie Beatriz, Blake Roman, Alex Brightman
Created By: Vivienne Medrina

Charlie: This place is about second chances. To convince Heaven that the people of Hell can be redeemed.”

“Overture” (Season 1, Episode 1)

Hazbin Hotel has been a long time coming. First announced in 2019, the animated series blends The Good Place, Avenue Q, Rent, and strains that mixture through a Disney musical. So is Hazbin Hotel a winner or a sinner? Let’s find out.

The Good

Hazbin Hotel’s Hell-pful Staff

Niffty:The bad boy is back! [jumps on Sir Pentious] Never leave me again.
Charlie: We’re about 80% sure she’s harmless.

“Radio Killed The Video Star” (Season 1, Episode 2)

It takes a lot to redeem sinners, but Hazbin Hotel has pulled together a team that’s up to the task

Charlie Morningstar is the Princess of Hell. She is a soft-hearted royal who opens a hotel to redeem sinners and save them from Heaven’s annual genocide. A harsh, but caring girlfriend named Vaggie supports Charlie. Angel Dust is their only guest, an adult entertainer half-assing his redemption for a place to crash.

A benefactor appears in the form of Alastor, “The Radio Demon.” He is a feared and charming overlord who joins as a hotelier. Alastor doesn’t believe the hotel can work, but thinks the failures will be funny. He recruits disgruntled bartender Husk (Keith David) and murderous maid Niffty (Kimiko Glenn).

There’s more to Hell than the hotel. Lucifer appears occasionally as Charlie’s reclusive, bumbling dad. Alastor works with several fellow overlords, including old-fashioned Zestial, kindly cannibal Rosie, and arms dealer Carmilla Carmine. Rounding out the band is Angel Dust’s literal partner in crime, Cherri Bomb.

Heaven and Hell Hate The Hazbin Hotel

“When all’s said and done (said and done)
There’s the question of fun
And for those of us with divine ordainment
Extermination is ENTERTAINMENT!

“Overture’ (Season 1, Episode 1)

The trouble with being a demon is that everyone has it out for you. Other demons may see your downfall benefiting them while angels historically don’t care for their fallen brethren. Hazbin Hotel features angelic assholes and demonic dingbats.

Hell faces annual Exterminations, where angels commit genocide to keep an overpopulated Hell from rising against them. The exterminators are led by Adam, the first man and a self-centered murderer. Bigoted angel Lute serves as his bodyguard and hype woman. Adam reveals early on that the Exterminations will become a bi-annual event, putting Charlie’s plans on a time limit.

A trio of overlords called The Vees also target the hotel. The three of them have cornered the market on Hell’s media. Velvette is an influencer and the brains of the operation. Television demon Vox is Alastor’s ineffectual rival. Demonic pimp Valentino takes the spotlight as Angel Dust’s abusive producer.

The last major villain is Sir Pentious, a steampunk-themed snake supervillain. He wants to become an overlord himself, but is nowhere near strong enough. Sir Pentious quickly hits rock bottom and becomes a guest of the Hazbin Hotel to seek redemption.

Hell’s Disney Princess

Rosie: “They’re dancing along, they’re singing her song!”
Alastor: Surprised? Why, I knew she could do it all along.”
Both: “She’s bound to pass her test as Princess of Hell
Like her daddy, she is madly power-fell!”
Alastor: “She’s filled with potential that I could guide…”
Rosie: “I concur! Stick with her, you’ll be on the winning side!”

“Hello, Rosie!” (Season 1, Episode 7)

Hazbin Hotel is a musical first and foremost. Emmy-nominee Andrew Underberg and The Living Tombstone’s Sam Haft unite to create the score and lyrics.  The cast is filled to the brim with Broadway stars and Disney darlings singing weapons-grade earworms.

Charlie sets the stage immediately with “A Happy Day in Hell”, showcasing Hell’s depravity and her hope that it can become better. Adam’s “Hell is Forever” counters that view and sets them up as enemies.

Following songs have different tunes. Some are heartwarming like “More Than Anything” or “Loser, Baby.” Others such as “Ready For This” and “Hell’s Greatest Dad” are comedic. The lyrics aren’t afraid to get dark, including “Poison” or “You Didn’t Know?

Hazbin Hotel subtly shows Heaven and Hell’s divide with their musical styles. Demons tend to prefer dark pop music, electro-swing, Spanish guitars, and power ballads. Heaven goes for glitzy show tunes and flashy rock opera. Charlie and friends’ songs stand out, since half of them could appear in a kids movie without any changes.

Hope in Hell

“It’s time to lose your self-loathin’
Excuse yourself, let hope in 
Baby, play your card, be who you are
A loser, just like me.”

“Masquerade” (Season 1, Episode 4)

Appearances can be deceiving. Hazbin Hotel knows that the brightest light shines in the darkest places.

Hell is not a nice place to live. Demons are jerks, strength decides most things, and anyone spotted during an Extermination is doomed. Violence, cursing, and addiction is common as air. The main characters aren’t immune to vices. Angel Dust in particular hides behind a painted-on smile to endure a life of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.

Despite the darkness, moments of light frequently break through. Characters forgive each other for arguments, find courage to face their demons, and discover that they aren’t alone. Hazbin Hotel shows that redemption isn’t easy, but it is possible. Anyone trying to stop that redemption will find out exactly how strong the Princess of Hell is.


Hazbin Hotel: The Lost Episode

I have a dream I’m here to tell
About a wonderful, fantastic new hotel
Yes it’s one of a kind, right here in Hell
Catering to a specific clientele~

“That’s Entertainment” (Season 1, Episode 0)

Hazbin Hotel was waiting a long time for a studio to show interest in it. Amazon picked up the bill, but dropped an episode. Which one? Oh, nothing important. Just the pilot.

The pilot features Charlie helping demons in the aftermath of an Extermination. She goes onto a news show to promote her Happy Hotel, but is mocked when Angel Dust gets into a mob war with Sir Pentious. Things are looking grim until Alastor introduces himself, strikes a deal to help Charlie, and hires the staff at the cost of changing the name to the Hazbin Hotel.

Perhaps Amazon thought that Hazbin Hotel’s pilot was unneeded because it’s been freely available on YouTube for years. However, that forces the first episode to play catch-up, hastily reintroducing the characters and setting. Characters also occasionally reference events from the pilot, leaving new fans scratching their heads.

The Verdict

Hazbin Hotel is one hell of a trip. An innocent core to depraved stories, memorable characters, and a jukebox worth of earworms makes it hard to forget. Amazon dropped the ball by not including the true first episode, but the show is worth your time.

Image courtesy of Prime Video.

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