You better believe all of the hype surrounding the HBO series - because it certainly lives up to expectations.
Since the US had their first look at 'The White Lotus' in July, social media has been a-buzz with praise for the tragic dramedy. The six-episode mini-series follows a group of ultra-rich vacationers who travel to Hawaii to stay at the luxurious hotel, The White Lotus. Expecting to find themselves in the middle of a relaxing, enriching experience while sipping piña colada's by the beach or taking a romantic boat ride at sunset, while the elite are in the hands of the
incapable hotel staff, this holiday begins to turn into one they will never forget.
Within the first five minutes of the dark satire, we learn that one of the guests at the resort has died and is being carted onto the next departing flight off the island. We don't know who it is, or who the culprit is, so instantly it hooks you in so that you're paying close attention to each of the characters on screen. It's the simplicity of this often-used trope that makes the series that bit more tantalising.
Now onto the guests. We have Jennifer Coolidge as a deeply needy heiress, Tanya, who is desperate for a trip to the massage parlour - oh, and she's carrying her mother's ashes with her too. There's the newly married couple looking for their romantic getaway, Rachel and Shane, played by Alexandra Daddario and Jake Lacy; while one of them constantly complains about the hotel, the other feels suffocated in this new marriage - we'll leave you to discover which is which. Finally, there's the troubled Mossbacher family; mum and dad are played by Connie Britton and Steve Zahn, while their teenage children Olivia and Quinn are brought to begrudging life by Syndey Sweeney and Fred Hechinger - Brittany O'Grady also joins the family on their all-inclusive holiday as Olivia's best friend, Paula. The wonderful Molly Shannon also arrives during the season to shake things up for some of our guests - driving one of them to breaking point.
Were the series not called 'The White Lotus', it feels like the term "breaking point" would be an accurate placeholder and depiction of how the TV show goes down. Here we have a gathering of the ultra-rich, a perfect snapshot of what life must be like for self-entitled white people, but even though they're on a "relaxing vacation", they're all too self-involved to enjoy themselves. Watching the series, there's probably someone who you've met in life that comes to mind in at least one of the characters.
Mike White from 'School of Rock' fame is the writer/director here, and he's concocted something that you really can't help but love to hate. Except for two or three of the characters that you really feel for, everyone else deserves the dumpster fire that they find themselves embroiled in.
Murray Bartlett plays the stand-out of the series as the manager of the resort, Armond. From his backhanded treatment of the hotel guests (and other staff members), down to his moustache and inability to sit still, he has a strong Basil Fawlty vibe which only seems to get stronger with each episode. Natasha Rothwell, meanwhile, as the hotel spa manager Belinda is one of the only positive people to be seen on the screen.
Even though everything is building up to that finale, what happens beforehand is utterly engrossing. The social commentary muttered by some of the hotel guests will have you groaning in disbelief, fuelling your hatred for these people; the situations that play out will have you covering your eyes for fear of what's about to happen (and is definitely going to happen); while the entire soundtrack of the show lends itself to adding an extra dimension of rush and excitement to it all.
All six episodes of 'The White Lotus' are available on Sky Atlantic and NOW.