“Nine Perfect Strangers” Review: New Hulu Limited Series Won’t Make You Forget “The White Lotus”

Nicole Kidman in “Nine Perfect Strangers.” Photo Courtesy: Hulu

Rating: 5/10

I loved Big Little Lies. The HBO series based on Liane Moriarty’s bestselling novel made for a hilarious yet laced-with-murder first season and gave us Reese Witherspoon’s character bickering with Meryl Streep’s in season two. Recently, my cravings for limited series with a whodunit/mystery twist have been satiated with The Undoing, Mare of Easttown and The White Lotus. Two of those shows — Big Little Lies and The Undoing — star Nicole Kidman and are written and run by veteran producer David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal). They both also executive produce.

Kidman and Kelley collaborate again in the new eight-episode Hulu limited series Nine Perfect Strangers, which debuts this Wednesday, August 18, with the first three episodes of the season. One new episode will be released after that every week. Like Big Little Lies, Nine Perfect Strangers is based on a Moriarty book.

Because I take book adaptations very seriously — especially if they’re thrillers written by and starring women — I read Moriarty’s novel in anticipation of its release in TV format. But I wasn’t wowed by the six episodes available for review.

The thing is, not much happens in Nine Perfect Strangers’ book version. It lacks the kind of big reveal Big Little Lies packs. Nine Perfect Strangers is a character study about nine guests, two caregivers and the magnetic director at the boutique health resort Tranquillum House. Each episode in the novel is written from the perspective of one of those characters, telling us how they found their way to this luxury wellness center in search of healing during a 10-day stay. As those days go by, the author untangles their pasts and their demons.

And precisely because there are a lot of introspective chapters in which we simply learn what someone is thinking, adapting Nine Perfect Strangers wasn’t an easy task.