January is nearly gone, but there are still plenty of new options dropping on the small screen. But with all the content that’s available in this era of shows, movies, and streaming options, it can be daunting to know what’s worth your time. Don’t worry, this series is here to help. Today, I’m looking at a new Prime Video series starring Nicole Kidman.
Where to Find It: The first two episodes are on Prime Video, with additional episodes dropping each Friday.
What’s It About: This new series comes from director Lulu Wang (The Farewell) and is based on the novel of the same name from Janice Y.K. Lee. It focuses on a group of expats living in Hong Kong. The series examines their personal lives, their struggles, their tragedies and their professional lives.
The main focus is on a pair of friends living in the same building. The first is Margaret (Kidman), who is trying to raise her kids and be there for her husband, Clarke (Brian Tee), who is stationed in Hong Kong for work. She’s also still trying to recover from a personal tragedy that has her tied up in knots.
Her friend, Hilary (Sarayu Blue), has her own issues. She is going through a rough patch with her husband, David (Jack Huston) revolving trying to start a family. Can Hilary and Margaret support each other through these issues and move forward into the future?
You Should Try It If: You’re a fan of dramas, enjoy special location settings, or are a fan of the cast.
One Man’s Opinion of Expats
This show boasts a solid cast and a strong visual style. I am a fan of Wang’s film, The Farewell, which married a solid visual style with some strong performances and emotional storytelling. That’s the potential of this series as well.
The pilot opens with a really creative introduction that should set the table for where we’re going in this six-episode limited event. I loved the concepts and execution in that opening, but I didn’t feel that tone sustained through the pilot episode. It’s clear there is some trauma, but in the first episode it goes largely unexplained. The second episode is a flashback that fills in some of the details, presumably leaving us in position to move forward.
The performances and cast are solid, but I didn’t feel the emotional connection to the world and story I’d expected. There’s potential in the set up and production, and enough of a hook to draw you into the potential of this narrative. For fans of well-crafted limited series, this will be a nice draw.