Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Pilot Review: Wanderlust

Wanderlust (Netflix)
Premiered October 19

Now here’s a show that deals with someone we’ve seen over and over again on television - extramarital affairs - in a new and engaging way. Most of the first part of this Netflix import, which premiered on BBC1 back in September, featured most of the characters masturbating in different places as they dealt with their own sexual issues. I was impressed by the way that Joy’s cycling injury was very quickly communicated and interspersed with her lackluster sex life following that event. Not knowing anything about this show, I wasn’t sure who the main characters were supposed to be, aside from the obvious top billing for Toni Collette, an Australian accent who got to use her native accent for once. Watching Joy’s husband Alan get high with Claire and then have sex with her while Joy gave in to her impulses and slept with the guy from the pool who definitely wasn’t the one that peed in it showed how they really do need something else from their marriage, and what a fascinating final scene that was. Alan seemed to be more upset with Joy for sleeping with a random guy, though it turned out that he was more disturbed by the fact that she didn’t seem mad. Her suggestion is a fascinating one, far from a public swingers declaration but more of an intimate way to stay happy. Therapy series have been done many times before, but I think this one feels unique, in part because of Collette’s superb lead performance. If I decide I have time, I may stick with this show for its remaining five episodes.

How will it work as a series? These characters are definitely interesting, and deciding to have an open marriage where they have sex with other people is not going to be a simple solution to all of their problems. That journey should be particularly interesting, and the supporting characters are also on their own arcs to find sexual and personal happiness.
How long will it last? The reviews are pretty good, but it looks like ratings in the UK weren’t great over the show’s six-episode run, which concluded two weeks ago. As a co-production between BBC1 and Netflix, it’s possible that Netflix will use viewer data to propel this show to a second life, though I imagine this will just end up being a one-season show.

Pilot grade: B+

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