We are blessed with a deluge of originals, with new series dropping all the time across a spectrum of streaming networks.
Peacock’s The Resort is brilliant and engaging from start to finish, and it should swim to the top of your what-to-watch list.
This comedic, emotional thriller hits all the right notes.
Creator and showrunner Andy Siara had always wanted to ” make a big summer movie with mystery, detectives, adventure, comedy, tragedy, romance, a natural disaster, plus a dose of the surreal and existential.” He claims The Resort captures everything he’d dreamed for his dream project.
Now, I’m not keen on creators professing to bring the big screen to episodic television. It suggests that you cannot find comparable entertainment with a different medium.
TV has proven it’s just as worthy a medium as the big screen. The volume of successful shows demonstrates that moving away from broadcast networks to cable and streaming platforms has changed the game entirely.
Whether Siara knew it or not, he thought episodically and to his benefit. The Resort is immensely watchable, propels you from episode to episode, and never stops until its last frame. That’s impressive for someone who set out wanting to write a movie.
The Resort consists of eight, mostly half-hour episodes. They’re perfectly paced and shift between two timeframes on the same island known for its vacation resorts.
William Jackson Harper and Cristin Milioti star as married couple Noah and Emma, hoping to recapture their love for one another for their 10th anniversary. Life has thrown them some curveballs, and it’s been a struggle to come out the other side, but they are willing, at least for now, to see it through.
As they dive head first into adventures and excitement, they’re not finding the satisfaction they’d hoped. They’ve carried their struggles to the island, and it’s clear they’ve got a lot more work to do than they anticipated.
One standard adventure goes haywire, offering Emma an opportunity she cannot pass up — digging into the mystery of two young adults who had gone missing from the island 15 years earlier.
Nick Offerman and Nina Bloomgarden play father-daughter duo, Murray and Violet Thompson. They, too, were hoping to rebound from their homelife on their 2007 island getaway.
Skyler Gisondo plays Sam, a young man on vacation with his family and girlfriend, in 2007.
As Noah and Emma’s investigation into Sam and Violet’s disappearance expands in the present day, we learn about Sam and Violet along with them.
As a storytelling device, it works very well, virtually tying the two couples together.
Sam and Emma were staying at the Oceana Vista Resort, which has been closed and grown over by the present day. It’s precisely the kind of location begging for exploration. As Emma and Noah investigate its dark and mysterious passages, they also have time to reflect on themselves and their marriage.
While this is a comedic thriller, it packs an emotional punch. These characters are all aching on the inside from one thing or another with issues they cannot even admit to themselves.
Their pain has sunk so deep that only letting go and immersing themselves in others’ adventures can kickstart them back to the land of the living.
So, while Emma and Noah are tracking Sam and Violet, Violet and Sam are in the midst of their own mystery in 2007.
Luis Gerardo MÉndez plays Baltasar Frias, the head of security at Oceana Vista Resort. When Violet and Sam make an unwise decision that puts them on the radar of Oceana Vista’s owner, Alex, Baltasar acts as the mediator.
Baltasar and his friend Luna cross both timelines. Their story begins with Violet and Sam and their disappearance, which continues into the present as Baltasar has never stopped trying to locate them.
Harper and Milioti are acting marvels, and connecting with Noah and Emma is effortless.
Gisondo has become the “every kid” in many productions, from The Santa Clarita Diet to The Righteous Gemstones. He’s so comfortable in his skin as the uncomfortable kid, and his talents serve well alongside Milioti’s and Harper’s.
Mendez is equally talented as the frazzled Baltasar, always at the ready with probing questions that nobody wants to answer but hold the answers to what’s eating away at them.
There is so much at play in The Resort, but it’s never a chore to watch as Siara and his co-showrunner Allison Miller keep everything dancing in the air beautifully, courageously pushing forward, taking viewers on a whimsical adventure that touches your soul.
Visually, you don’t get much better than the island location, and creating two separate timelines with unique and shared locations helps to facilitate the mystery as each discovery unfolds.
The Resort is not only one of the best shows of the year but one of the most entertaining and satisfying. That’s a tall order it serves with ease.
The Resort drops on Peacock Premium on Friday, July 28.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.