Since its first season, The White Lotus captivated audiences and it's been one of the best shows on Max.
Not only have viewers been dazzled by the comedic performance of Emmy award-winning star Jennifer Coolidge, its sultry theme songs by composer Cristobal Tapia de Veer, but the combination of dark comedy and murder mystery make both of the first two seasons delightfully complex.
While you wait for new guests in The White Lotus season 3, here’s a list of shows to make reservations for before the upcoming episodes drop on Max.
Some families take their secrets to the grave and in this thriller series on Apple TV+, the Garvey sisters resolve to save one of their sisters from her unraveling marriage by plotting to murder her toxic husband. While the sisters think they might have gotten away with murder, insurance men are on their trail with several important questions that could eventually catch up to the sisters.
The murder mystery and sharp wit of Bad Sisters will feel like a natural continuation of The White Lotus. The music from the show also almost becomes a character of its own, much like the iconic original theme song of the White Lotus and its opera-influenced rendition for season 2.
The series was originally produced as a limited series but has been renewed for a second season.
Watch on Apple TV Plus
Nine Perfect Strangers
Similar to the White Lotus, strangers come together as guests at a luxurious resort (albeit one focused on health and wellness) in Nine Perfect Strangers, the Hulu show based on Liane Moriarty’s New York Times best-selling book.
The nine strangers seek an escape from each of their emotional turmoil by heading to the resort headed by Tranquillum House resort founder Masha (played by Nicole Kidman). Spiritual guide Masha takes an unorthodox approach in helping her hand-picked guests deal with their traumas—including having them lie in individual graves they each dig themselves.
While White Lotus hotel managers Armond (played by Murray Bartlett) and Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore) care about making sure every detail is ironed out on their guests’ itineraries, Masha uses her guests as pawns in her master plan and viewers see she has secrets of her own she is trying to escape from.
Watch on Hulu
Before creating The White Lotus, Mike White teamed up with Laura Dern to create and executive produce Enlightened. White wrote and also acts in the series while Dern stars as Amy Jellicoe, a woman who goes through a breakdown at work before heading to a two-month stay at a holistic treatment facility. After learning meditation and self-help practices, Amy returns to her former workplace and gets re-hired to what she sees as a demoted position. Amy starts to uncover corporate corruption at the company and begins a quest to make a positive impact on people’s lives.
Just like the White Lotus gave a platform for Coolidge’s comedic performance, Enlightened showcased Dern’s acting skills as well—especially in her facial expressions during the show’s memorable opening scene in the pilot. The role of Amy was specifically created for Dern.
Some of Amy’s characteristics fall in line with Tanya on The White Lotus—both are complicated women who mean well but can’t quite read the room most of the time. While Enlightened received critical acclaim, it suffered from low ratings when it aired on HBO from 2011 - 2013 and only ran for two seasons.
Watch on Max
The Resort stars Cristin Milioti and William Jackson Harper as Emma and Noah, a couple who arrive in Yucatán, Mexico for a relaxing getaway while their marriage is on the fray. They soon are enveloped in a murder mystery when Emma finds a mobile phone that belonged to a college student who went missing from a neighboring resort 15 years ago. Emma and Noah start unraveling the case of the missing student while also trying to work on their marriage.
Both The White Lotus and the Resort portray privileged couples who are going through rough patches with a mix of comedy and drama, but the Resort has less social commentary compared to the Max series.
The series allows audiences to play detective alongside Emma and Noah with a focus more on mystery than the White Lotus. Fans of true crime will enjoy putting all the pieces together before the main characters do.
Watch on Peacock
Dead to Me
The two breakout stars of White Lotus’ second season included real-life friends Simona Tabasco as Lucia and Beatrice Grannò as Mia, the two Sicilians who keep the American men vacationing at the White Lotus on their toes and reaching into their wallets.
Netflix’s Dead to Me also features two women whose friendship is at the center of a dark comedy. Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini (who are also close friends off-camera) star as Jen Harding and Judy Hale, two women who are unknowingly bound by a hit-and-run fatality in Orange County’s Laguna Beach.
The women form a ride-or-die friendship while each episode of the first season keeps audiences hooked with the who-did-it twists and turns of mystery. Over the show’s three seasons, Jen and Judy hide bodies and evade the cops from the close-knit coastal town before they take off on one last trip together.
Watch on Netflix
Harlan Coben’s Safe
Crime author Harlan Coben's Safe stars Michael C. Hall as Tom, a widower struggling to raise his two teenage daughters after his wife’s death. One day, his oldest daughter Jenny (played by Amy James-Kelly) goes missing along with her boyfriend. Tom enlists the help of his new girlfriend Sophie (Amanda Abbington), a local police detective who starts investigating a running list of witnesses and sources in the small community. Both start to uncover secrets some community members hoped to keep hidden.
For fans of the White Lotus who enjoyed the mystery aspect of figuring out who died in each of the two seasons, Safe provides a mystery that gives very little clues on who the true murderer is until its final episode. The series also pokes fun and privilege and new money like the White Lotus.
Watch on Netflix
The original drama series Fantasy Island aired in 1978 and starred Ricardo Montalbán as the mysterious Mr. Roarke, the overseer of Fantasy Island along with his sidekick Tattoo (played by Hervé Villechaize). Guests arrive to the remote island and get their “fantasies” fulfilled—at a price.
Before Armond and Valentina waved their hands and told their White Lotus employees to smile as their guests approached, there was Mr. Roarke telling his employees to do the same. Mr. Roarke had a running list of his guests’ needs and wants, and often tried to teach them a lesson while fulfilling their requests.
Some guests on Fantasy Island also showed a certain amount of arrogance similar to some of the White Lotus guests, which also sometimes became their undoing. Unlike the White Lotus, guests on Fantasy Island rarely interact with other families or guests on the island.
Watch for free on Tubi
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Jackie is a freelance contributor at Tom's Guide and has been a freelance writer in the entertainment field for a decade. Her work has also appeared in The Wrap, UrbanHollywood411, We are Mitú, and other online outlets. You can find her trying to brush up on her foreign language skills while watching international drama series or catching a live game or concert at Los Angeles stadiums.