If you don’t know what Wanderlust is, you’re not alone. The series premiered on Netflix with very little marketing or build. I stumbled upon the series, and at the time I was desperate for something decent to watch. I was trying anything and everything. I decided to check out the show because the premise was interesting — I didn’t expect it to become one of the best shows I’ve watched this year. Wanderlust is an honest and creative look at love, sex, and life through the eyes of a woman who’s grown tired of all of them.
Wanderlust is a British comedy that follows Joy & Alan Richards, a couple who after being married for many years, having three grown children, and settling into a mundane routine, admit that their sex life is pitiful and lackluster. In an effort to save their marriage, Joy pitches that they explore an open relationship where they are permitted to have sex with other people.
If that plan sounds wild, that’s because it most definetely is. What ensues is a hilarious, fun, genuine, and at times heartbreaking discussion about monogamy in modern times and what it means to love a person unconditionally.
The show was brilliant on several counts, the first being the incredible direction, which was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Directors Luke Snellin & Lucy Tcherniak are virtually unknown, but I hope that Wanderlust puts them on the map for their inventive use of transitions, wide shots, and color.
Second praise goes to the acting — you’ll probably recognize Toni Collette from Hereditary, this year’s groundbreaking horror film that was praised by critics and audiences alike. Actually, you might know her from a lot of things. She’s really fantastic and has had a lot of important roles on important films. Steven McIntosh (along with the rest of the cast) are relative newcomers, and have mostly stayed in British produced studios. They are all excellent, and Wanderlust will be a glimmering jewel in their showreel.
Last but certainly not least (as it is perhaps the most important), I must say that the writing for this show is superb. Written by very well known British playwright and screenwriter Nick Payne (a personal favorite of mine, and I didn’t even know he wrote it when I decided to watch!), the story weaves several plot lines, characters, conflicts, and even timelines together in a way that is at once seamless and extremely varied. Payne’s ability to squeeze another story point through the cracks and ultimately form a pivotal plot is brilliant, and it makes this show so much fun to watch.
What I assumed would be a conventional comedy about a couple trying to save their marriage turned out to be so much more, and maybe that is what Wanderlust has going for it — unlike the shows that Netflix tries so hard to build up and put on a pedestal, and which consequently leave viewers feeling like they were duped into buying something cheap covered in pretty packaging, Wanderlust relies on the story alone to sell itself, and in my case, that was more than enough.
If you’re looking for something lighthearted, with a few laughs, and an interesting story, definetely give Wanderlust a try. It will surprise and delight you, and you’ll walk away from each episode feeling like you gained a little bit of insight into love, relationships, and the human experience.
Wanderlust is now streaming on Netflix.