|Nine Perfect Strangers|
|Created by||David E. Kelley|
|Based on||Nine Perfect Strangers|
by Liane Moriarty
|Developed by||David E. Kelley & John-Henry Butterworth|
|Directed by||Jonathan Levine|
|Music by||Marco Beltrami and Miles Hankins|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||8|
|Production locations||Byron Bay, New South Wales|
|Running time||42–55 minutes|
|Distributor||Fifth Season (formerly Endeavor Content)|
|Picture format||4K (Ultra HD)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original release||August 18 –|
September 22, 2021
Nine Perfect Strangers is an American drama streaming television miniseries based on the 2018 novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty. Created by David E. Kelley who also developed the series alongside John-Henry Butterworth, the series premiered on August 18, 2021, on Hulu.
Nine strangers from the city gather for a 10-day retreat at Tranquillum House, a health and wellness resort in the fictional town of Cabrillo, California, which promises to transform and heal the guests who stay there. The resort is not what it seems to be, and the guests are about to discover many secrets about each other and the resort's host. One of the controversies arising between the guests and resort director Masha starts when she tells them during a meal conducted at a large table that they are all given a psychoactive drug, namely Psylocybin, in very small but relevant doses in their food without their prior consent or even knowledge, about which the guests are upset and assume it to be a crime.
On May 1, 2019, it was reported that Hulu had given the production a straight-to-series order. The limited series was created by David E. Kelley who also developed the series alongside John-Henry Butterworth who also served as executive producers alongside Nicole Kidman, Per Saari, Bruna Papandrea, Steve Hutensky, and Casey Haver. Production companies involved with the limited series are Made Up Stories, Blossom Films, and Endeavor Content. On January 7, 2020, Melissa McCarthy joined the miniseries as an executive producer. On July 29, 2020, it was announced Jonathan Levine was set to direct all eight episodes of the limited series as well as serve as an executive producer, while Gillian Bohrer joined the series as producer. Yves Bélanger served as cinematographer.
Alongside the initial series announcement, it was reported that Nicole Kidman was cast in a lead role. In addition to her executive producing announcement, Melissa McCarthy had also joined the cast in a starring role. On May 27, 2020, Manny Jacinto joined the main cast. In June 2020, Asher Keddie and Luke Evans were cast in starring roles. In July 2020, Melvin Gregg, Samara Weaving, Grace Van Patten, Tiffany Boone and Michael Shannon joined the main cast. In August 2020, Regina Hall and Bobby Cannavale were cast in starring roles. On October 22, 2020, Hal Cumpston joined the cast in a recurring role. On November 19, 2020, Zoe Terakes was cast in a recurring role.
On July 8, 2020, Evans revealed that filming would take place in Australia. He also revealed that all actors were required to quarantine for fourteen days in the city of arrival in Australia, due to regulations imposed by the Australian government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, all actors were required to be tested during the quarantine before filming could begin. Principal photography began on August 10, 2020, in Byron Bay, New South Wales. On December 21, 2020, Kidman announced that filming had wrapped.
Kidman met most of the other nine actors right when filming their first scene together, and stayed in character as Masha during production.
|No.||Title ||Directed by||Written by||Original release date |
|1||"Random Acts of Mayhem"||Jonathan Levine||David E. Kelley & John-Henry Butterworth||August 18, 2021|
|Nine people arrive at Tranquillum House, an exclusive health resort; Napoleon and Heather Marconi and their daughter Zoe; Jessica and Ben Chandler, an attractive young couple; Frances, an author who’s just been dumped; Tony, chatty, familiar; Lars; and Carmel, a mum. Their phones and contraband is removed. Masha welcomes them and tells them she came to America, worked hard then died. She was saved by Yao, a paramedic, now her right-hand man.|
|2||"The Critical Path"||Jonathan Levine||David E. Kelley & John-Henry Butterworth||August 18, 2021|
|The treatment begins. The guests start to learn about each other. Zoe’s twin brother died. They dig a trench then lie in it. Tony has a drink and drugs problem. Frances nearly chokes. She gave money to a man she fell for online. The staff are worried the group will be troublesome. Some of them go on a hike. Heather looks like she might step off the cliff edge. Frances wants to leave. Masha persuades her to stay a bit longer. Masha decides that the next phase of the programme should begin.|
|3||"Earth Day"||Jonathan Levine||Teleplay by : Samantha Strauss||August 18, 2021|
|Masha is receiving threatening messages. Carmel attacks Lars at breakfast. They meditate and begin to reveal themselves. There’s a sack race. Ben realises who Tony is. The women go for a swim, the men go foraging. Jessica isn’t happy with Regina. Tony chases a goat. They return with the dead animal, which upsets Masha. At the banquet Napoleon talks about his son’s suicide and says he killed the goat.|
|4||"Brave New World"||Jonathan Levine||David E. Kelley & John-Henry Butterworth||August 25, 2021|
|Masha confirms that the guests smoothies are drugged, which she describes as micro-dosing. Several are shocked and want to leave. Lars admits to being a journalist. Carmel eventually reveals the abuse she suffered from her husband. Frances then Carmel take out their anger on a samurai mannequin. Tony tells Frances he killed a man in a bar. Napoleon wants to leave but Heather persuades him to stay. There’s a party on the eve of Zoe’s 21st.|
|5||"Sweet Surrender"||Jonathan Levine||David E. Kelley||September 1, 2021|
|Zoe “sees” her dead brother. He asks her to say they got on. Lars said he dreamt he had a baby. The father was Tony, which annoys him. Frances “sees” Paul, the man who scammed her. He says her books are rubbish. She faints. Delilah is angry with Masha and asks her to stop sleeping with Yao. Tony is clean but is worried about his future. Jessica and Ben have sex in the hot tub. Carmel sees them. Lars reassures her and says she should move on. The group hold a 21st birthday party for Zoe (and Zach).|
|6||"Motherlode"||Jonathan Levine||Teleplay by : Jessica Sharzer & Jonathan Levine||September 8, 2021|
|Lars dreams about being bullied at school. Frances sees a "miniature Paul" and flushes him down the toilet. Carmel wants a one-to-one. She knows Masha had an affair with her husband. Masha regrets it. Everyone is paired with “buddies”. Zoe sees Zach. Napoleon sees him too then Heather but she has an “episode”. Masha tells them she can use psychotics so they can interact safely with Zach. Frances tells Carmel she isn’t improving like everyone else. Masha’s daughter died in a car accident.|
|7||"Wheels on the Bus"||Jonathan Levine||David E. Kelley||September 15, 2021|
|Carmel attacks Masha and has to be sedated. Tony tells Frances of his plans which freaks her out. Masha wants to help the Marconis see their dead son. Zoe doesn’t want to. Masha says she’ll take a trip with the Marconis but is called away to see Frances. Delilah is unhappy and decides to leave. Lars knows one of the guests died. Masha goes to see Carmel and realises she was the person who shot her.|
|8||"Ever After"||Jonathan Levine||David E. Kelley||September 22, 2021|
|Masha doesn’t blame Carmel, she thanks her. Frances tries to explain to Tony why she reacted as she did. Carmel is in a deprivation tank and freaks out. Frances and Tony plan on leaving. Napoleon has a nosebleed. They can all see Zach. Carmel gets out but she’s locked in the room. The others try to free her. Masha locks them all in the room. Masha tells Angel to start the fire. They talk about their futures. The fire was a simulation. Napoleon runs into the wood and sees Zach. He says they need to let go. Delilah alerts the police. It is snowing. Masha follows Zoe and sees her daughter. The police arrive. The guests say nothing happened. Frances and Tony go to a restaurant. She starts writing a book. Lars is with his partner and their baby. Carmel is running classes. The Marconis are happy. Ben and Jessica have taken over Tranquillum. Masha drives off in a yellow Lamborghini, her daughter by her side.|
Hulu released a first-look trailer for the show during the 93rd Academy Awards airing on ABC on April 25, 2021. The miniseries premiered on Hulu on August 18, 2021, with the first three episodes released at once, and a new episode released weekly thereafter. The finale was released on September 22, 2021. Outside of the United States and China, the series was released on Prime Video. It was broadcast free-to-air in Australia on SBS TV in October/November 2022.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports a 61% approval rating with an average rating of 6.1/10, based on 106 critic reviews. The critics consensus reads, "A meandering mystery may muddle its impact, but strong performances across the board from its eclectic ensemble mean Nine Perfect Strangers is never less than watchable." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 54 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
On August 24, 2021, it was reported that the limited series' premiere was the most-watched Hulu original at the time.