Is ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ Similar to ‘The White Lotus’?

Nine Perfect Strangers brings drama and suspense to a boutique wellness resort, but the Hulu series isn’t the only summer show to combine those elements. HBO’s The White Lotus boasts a similar setting, though its titular resort isn’t aimed at healing. Still, the series sees an ensemble cast embarking on a getaway, all while something more sinister hangs over the narrative. Perhaps that’s why viewers are jumping from The White Lotus to Nine Perfect Strangers. But how alike are the two shows, really?

What do ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ and ‘The White Lotus’ have in common?

'Nine Perfect Strangers' Episode 3: Ben (Melvin Gregg), Heather (Asher Keddie), and Napoleon (Michael Shannon) racing in potato sacks.
Melvin Gregg, Asher Keddie, and Michael Shannon in ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ | Vince Valitutti/Hulu

The most obvious thing Nine Perfect Strangers and The White Lotus have in common is that they share similar setups. The ensemble casts of both shows bring secrets and drama to their respective resorts, which are intended to help them escape from reality. Of course, that’s where their premises diverge a bit.

Although Nine Perfect Strangers‘ Tranquillum House takes its characters away from the everyday grind, it also sets out to heal them through “suffering.” The White Lotus, however, serves as a vacation spot for the HBO show’s characters. They’re not there to work on themselves, and they lack the self-awareness many of the characters in Nine Perfect Strangers have.

Both shows also boast a suspenseful nature that may cause viewers to connect them with one another. The two series spend their time building to something explosive. With The White Lotus, fans know exactly what it is. The show reveals a murder has taken place in the very first episode, making it a mystery from the get-go.

Nine Perfect Strangers, on the other hand, only hints at the chaos on the horizon. Nicole Kidman’s character receives threats in the early episodes, but there’s no indication anyone ever moves on those promises. It feels slightly less like a mystery or thriller than The White Lotus, if only because fans have no idea where it’s headed.

The HBO and Hulu shows differ in terms of overall theme

Murray Bartlett, Jolene Purdy, Natasha Rothwell, and Lukas Gage in 'The White Lotus' premiere, which is paralleled in the finale. They're standing on the beach and waving. Will any of them make an appearance in 'The White Lotus' Season 2?
Murray Bartlett, Jolene Purdy, Natasha Rothwell, and Lukas Gage in ‘The White Lotus’ | HBO/Mario Perez

RELATED: ‘The White Lotus’: Why Fans Are Getting a Kick Out of Shane’s Reading Habits

The premise of The White Lotus and Nine Perfect Strangers differ slightly, but the overall themes of each show set them even further apart. While both sets of characters seem well off and privileged, The White Lotus makes a bigger deal of that fact. That’s because Mike White’s dramedy comments on how wealth and privilege can impact one’s choices — and the fallout of those decisions.

By the end of the HBO series, its characters haven’t grown or reflected on their shortcomings. Instead, they remain almost comically oblivious to the harm their behavior causes.

Nine Perfect Strangers, on the other hand, looks to explore how far individuals will go to escape trauma and grief. Its characters have bigger problems than getting the wrong hotel room, and that makes them more relatable and likable. They don’t offer as much of a spectacle as the cast of The White Lotus, but they do have higher emotional stakes. That makes the series feel darker at times, and it gives it a more solemn tone.

Should you watch ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ after ‘The White Lotus’?

Nine Perfect Strangers does make a compelling follow-up to The White Lotus, but viewers should go into it expecting a different type of show. Even with the mystery of who’s threatening Masha (Nicole Kidman), the Hulu series feels more like a drama than a thriller. And although the HBO show isn’t a clear-cut thriller either, it does contain more elements of the genre. It also feels lighter and more comedic, even as White weaves darker realities into its narrative.

Those who enjoy ensemble casts full of flawed characters will no doubt fall easily into both series, as will viewers looking for stories that will keep them on edge. Nine Perfect Strangers isn’t the next White Lotus, but it is nearly as addicting — and it will certainly prove just as interesting a ride.