“The White Lotus” has not lost its intoxicating appeal, relocating its mix of rich people’s problems and working-class struggles to a new island (Sicily), with Jennifer Coolidge being the only remnant of the Emmy-winning original. It’s an impressive reloading exercise for writer-director Mike White, based on this visa, he should have plenty of frequent flyer miles in his future if he wants to.
There’s a subtle shift in the balance – not just with an Italian twist – although the series again opens with a moment of foreboding, with an unidentified body landing at an idyllic seaside resort, before jumping onto the last overcrowded boat to arrive. .
Specifically, the hotel staff are less important this time, although the manager (Sabrina Impacciatore) has to face the challenges of her demanding customers. Rather than hotel staff, the local contingent is represented by a courtesan, Lucia (Simona Tabasco, who feels like an afterthought role), who sees the latest guests as a poor and therefore profitable group; and her younger friend Gia (Beatrice Grannò), a singer trying to show Lucia the ropes.
As for those guests, in addition to Coolidge’s Tanya – who brings in and mistreats a new assistant (Haley Lu Richardson) – there’s a mismatched couple on the registry, two college roommates (Theo James, Will Sharpe) and their respective wives (Meghann). Fahy, Aubrey Plaza); and three generations of men – father (F. Murray Abraham), son (Michael Imperioli) and grandson (Adam DiMarco) – on a trip to see the old man’s ancestral home, taking with them a lot of family baggage.
Tensions gradually arise on several fronts. Plaza’s Harper expresses his traveling companions’ performative displays of affection and indifference to what’s going on in the world (they don’t care to watch the news), Imperioli’s Dominic, a high-powered Hollywood executive, is estranged from his wife, and his son Adam, a shy Stanford graduate, in an awkward position.
Once again, White meticulously applies layers to each of these stories, which begin as parallel lines before gradually intersecting and colliding in unexpected, dangerous ways. When a character utters a line like “Please don’t make me regret this” around “White Lotus,” it immediately feels like a warning of what he will eventually do.
If the situations are darkly comic, the dialogue also remains very sharp, such as Abraham’s old lion – who insists on flirting with much younger women – to the socially conscious and often embarrassed Adam, instead of respecting his elders, “We are now”. They are just reminders of an offensive past that everyone wants to forget.” That includes a family debate about the merits of “The Godfather,” as the trio tour the Sicilian locations where the movie was shot.
Five of this season’s seven episodes were made available, so it remains to be seen whether the payoff is worth rebuilding, and of course there isn’t the same sense of discovery.
For now, though, White has pulled off one of Hollywood’s most formidable feats: following up on a properly admired project with no instructions on how to do it, and avoiding a total meltdown at checkout time, earning another five stars. TV experience.
“The White Lotus” will premiere on October 30 at 9:00 p.m. on HBO, which, like CNN, is a Warner Bros. It is a unit of Discovery.