Review by Sean Boelman
The White Lotus took everyone by storm so much that HBO decided it would no longer be a miniseries, but an anthology series with more seasons taking place at different resorts around the world. The second season of the show may not live up to the strangely compelling heights of the first outing, but it still offers some very funny moments.
This season follows the guests of a picturesque resort in Italy in the week leading up to a tragedy. It follows the same basic premise of the first season — just changes the location to another one of the White Lotus brand of resorts, allowing for more of the same hijinks that fans came to love.
The visuals of the series are also just as strong as they were the first time around, this time trading the tropical Hawaii setting for the gorgeous coast of Italy. It’s almost ironic that the series is shot so gorgeously that it will make you want to take a vacation to Italy immediately, because it is satirizing the people who do just that.
There’s definitely some very witty commentary here about the wealthy and the lives of exuberance they live. However, whereas the first season felt like it had an uncanny understanding of the people it pointed a magnifying glass on, this season feels like it is merely dealing in archetypes.
What this season is missing that the first season excelled in was a compelling cast of characters. While the characters in the first season weren’t exactly likable for the most part, they were at least interesting. Here, the characters are all to some extent whiny, annoying, or depraved, and it’s hard to find anyone to latch onto.
The only returning main cast member is Jennifer Coolidge, whose performance was a hilarious fan-favorite in the first season, but she is given disappointingly little to do here comedically. This would have been forgivable had her arc been more interesting, but she has a pretty standard “bored housewife” storyline with only a few twists.
Of the new ensemble, F. Murray Abraham is the clear highlight, proving that he is still one of the greatest actors alive today. He has the most charisma out of anyone in the cast, and that allows him to get the most natural laughs. There are plenty more recognizable faces, from Theo James to Michael Imperioli and more, but they all feel wasted in a series that doesn’t understand their talents.
This new season of The White Lotus pales in comparison to the brilliance of the first season, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still entertaining. Ultimately, it feels as if it was too rushed into production to ensure it came out while the first season was still popular, making it much less effective.
The White Lotus debuts on HBO on October 30 at 10pm ET/PT.