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8 TV Shows to Watch Now That The White Lotus Season 2 Is Over

If you're looking for more Mike White, Aubrey Plaza, or Italian sex, we have some suggestions.
  • Photos: FX, Netflix/BBC, Peacock, Freeform
    Photos: FX, Netflix/BBC, Peacock, Freeform

    Well, another season of The White Lotus is in the books. Once again, the show's brevity is one of its virtues, but it also inevitably leaves the audience wanting more. Where do we go now that we have a taste for Mike White's comedic bite, this cast's beguiling performances, and the lush Sicilian locales that made this season so good? Depending on what you appreciated most about The White Lotus Season 2, we have a handful of TV recommendations that should tide you over at least through the holidays.

    If You Really Liked Meghann Fahy: The Bold Type

    "The Bold Type": Katie Stevens, Meghann Fahy, Aisha Dee (photo: Jonathan Wenk / Freeform / Courtesy Everett Collection)

    For many, one of the great discoveries of this season was Meghann Fahy’s performance as Daphne. The actress came up via roles on Broadway (Next to Normal) and soaps (One Life to Live), but it was her work on Freeform's The Bold Type that had fans looking forward to her showing her stuff on The White Lotus. As Sutton, a young fashion stylist at the fictional Scarlet magazine, Fahy delivered the kind of effortlessly charming performance that goes almost completely unheralded when you're on a Freeform show about millennials working at a glossy fashion magazine in the late 2010s. The five-season series is available to rent on VOD platforms (though unfortunately isn't on any of the streaming platforms).

    If You Really Liked Aubrey Plaza: Legion

    "Legion," Aubrey Plaza, Dan Stevens (photo: Suzanne Tenner / FX / courtesy Everett Collection)

    Of the Season 2 cast members who aren't Emmy winners (Jennifer Coolidge and Michael Imperioli) or Oscar winners (F. Murray Abraham), Plaza is the best known of the bunch. Aside from her time on Parks and Recreation, she's starred in movies like Ingrid Goes West and Happiest Season, and was recently nominated for an currently Independent Spirit Award for Emily the Criminal. But if you want to get a sense of just how wide the breadth of her talent is, you should check out the superhero/sci-fi series Legion that ran from 2017 to 2019 on FX. In a series that was already reality-bending, Plaza's Lennie was the most surreal of all. Her character took on different forms and personae across multiple planes of reality, and Plaza was more than up to the many challenges. Legion can currently be streamed on Hulu.

    If You Really Liked Will Sharpe: Giri/Haji

    "Giri/Haji," Will Sharpe, (photo: Luke Varley / Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection)

    If you were captivated by Ethan, the tech bro with a hot bod and emotional scars dating back to his college years, you might be interested to know that London-born Will Sharpe is a Cambridge-educated, Royal Shakespeare Company-trained actor who works as much as a writer/director as he does an actor. In the past couple years, he's directed Benedict Cumberbatch in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain and Olivia Colman in Landscapers. But if you're looking to see Sharpe in an acting role again, you should check out the British series Giri/Haji, which streamed in the United States on Netflix. The series — whose title translates to "duty" and "shame" — followed a Tokyo detective who's in London looking for his presumed-dead brother. Sharpe played a quick-talking sex worker who helps the detective find his way around the seedier corners of London, a role that will have you seeing him in a completely new light. You can stream the full 8-episode series on Netflix.

    If You Really Liked the Italian Setting: My Brilliant Friend

    "My Brilliant Friend" Gaia Girace, Margherita Mazzucco (photo: Eduardo Castaldo/HBO)

    Undeniably, one of the chief pleasures of the second season of The White Lotus was getting to luxuriate in the Sicilian location. If you to want to return there as soon as possible, you won't even have to leave HBO: Check out the first three seasons of My Brilliant Friend, streaming on HBO Max. Based on the novels by Elena Ferrante, the series begins in the slums of Naples, following the childhood friendship of Elena and Lila. But as they grow up, their lives take them to locales like Florence, Tuscany, and the Amalfi coast. It's a gorgeous series to look at, on top of being a vivid and intimate story of a friendship challenged by society and history.

    If You Really Liked the Italian Setting and All That Sex: The Young Pope and The New Pope

    Now we're talking! The White Lotus wasn't just sumptuous Italian vistas, it was sumptuous Italian vistas as the backdrop for a ton of sex. Paolo Sorrentino's HBO series The Young Pope and The New Pope know all too well the power of combining Italy and sex, and then adding Jude Law to that potent cocktail. Law plays a hot young American archbishop who is named Pope, and suddenly the Vatican starts looking a whole lot sexier. That Sorrentino's papal drama had a lot more sex than you would've expected from a series described as a "papal drama" isn't entirely surprising, given Sorrentino's directorial career, but the series still managed to raise plenty of eyebrows. The Young Pope and its follow-up season The New Pope are streaming on HBO Max.

    If You Really Liked Tom Hollander Being a Bitch: The Night Manager

    "The Night Manager" Tom Hollander (photo: Des Willie / The Ink Factory / AMC/ courtesy Everett Collection)

    You could argue that The White Lotus didn't do enough with Tom Hollander, given that his character, Quentin, didn't even turn up until the third episode. But if you want to see Hollander in primo hissing, underhanded queer mode, you need to seek out the 2016 six-part thriller The Night Manager. In a series that featured such luminaries as Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman, and Elizabeth Debicki, Hollander managed to steal scenes as the right-hand henchman of a ruthless arms dealer (Laurie) who is instantly distrustful of the new handsome man in the inner circle (Hiddleston) — and with good reason, since Hiddleston's an undercover government agent. It's a zippy, tense miniseries, and Hollander is deliciously vicious in it.

    If You Really Liked the Vacation-Set Mystery: The Resort

    Cristin Milioti, William Jackson Harper (photo: Peacock)

    If the idea of a mysterious dead body (or bodies) in an idyllic vacation setting appeals to you, you should check out The Resort. William Jackson Harper and Cristin Milioti play a married couple taking an anniversary vacation just as their marriage is perhaps falling apart. Partly in order to distract from that depressing reality, they become entangled in a mystery involving two young lovers who disappeared from the same resort years ago. The series is satisfyingly twisty and bold in a way that makes for a swift binge. You can stream all eight episodes on Peacock.

    If You Really Liked Mike White Doing Social Commentary: Enlightened

    "Enlightened" Mike White, Laura Dern (photo: HBO)

    This is going to sound like a broken record if you've ever been around fans of Mike White's work, but you really need to seek out Enlightened, his HBO series that ran from 2011 to 2013. Featuring what may well be the best performance of Laura Dern's spectacularly accomplished career, the series also sees Mike White at his most bitingly humorous and serenely poetic. Dern plays a woman rebounding from a nervous breakdown whose attempts to make her little corner of the world a better place are stymied by both corporate opposition and her own stubborn nature. White can tell the story of a person who can't seem to get out of their own way better than anybody, and Enlightened's two brief seasons are just about perfect. You can stream the entire series on HBO Max.

    Joe Reid is the senior writer at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: The White Lotus, The Bold Type, Enlightened, Giri/Haji, Legion, My Brilliant Friend, The New Pope, The Night Manager, The Resort, The Young Pope, Aubrey Plaza, Meghann Fahy, Mike White, Tom Hollander, Will Sharpe