The first series of The White Lotus was such an unexpected delight last year that I was gearing myself up for inevitable disappointment with its return this week.
But there wasn’t a whiff of the “difficult second album” in the new season’s opening episode, which was every bit as funny and smart as its predecessor.
Those expecting to see some familiar faces may be disappointed, however, since this is a hard reset of the show.
Who from the new cast of characters will or won’t make it to the end credits?”
Creator Mike White has moved the action from the five-star resort in Hawaii to an equally luxurious hotel in Sicily and the only returning cast members from last season are Jennifer Coolidge’s infuriating Tanya and her deeply unpleasant husband Greg (Jon Gries).
The new series starts the same way as the last one did – with a death or, in this case, deaths. The question the viewer is left with is who from the new cast of characters will or won’t make it to the end credits?
TV review: The White Lotus season two off to a great start
Will it be college buddies turned businessmen Cameron (Theo James) and Ethan (Will Sharpe), who are visiting the White Lotus resort with their chalk and cheese wives, the vapid Daphne (Meghann Fahy) and the frosty Harper (Aubrey Plaza)?
Or is it one of the Di Grasso family – flirty (and farty) grandfather Bert (F Murray Abraham), philandering dad Dominic (Michael Imperioli) and his maybe-too-nice son Albie (Adam DiMarco)?
And let’s not forget the permanently uptight hotel manager Valentina, a local prostitute and Tanya’s perma-stressed assistant.
It can’t have been easy to set the wheels in motion with such a large cast – particularly since the characters in season one were so beloved – but White pulls it off effortlessly.
By the end of the first episode I was right back in the world of White Lotus and desperate to discover all the delightfully dark and devious ways he plans to psychologically torture these rich idiots in the coming weeks.