Expats (2024) Season 1 Hindi Web Series

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A look at the personal and professional lives of a tight-knit group of expatriates living in Hong Kong.

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Set against the vibrant and tumultuous tapestry of 2014 Hong Kong, Expats centers on three American women–Margaret (Nicole Kidman), Hilary (Sarayu Blue), and Mercy (Ji-young Yoo)–whose lives intersect after a sudden family tragedy. The series interrogates privilege and explores what happens when the line between victimhood and culpability becomes blurred

Expats is an interesting mix of The Leftovers (for its meditations on grief/loss) and Big Little Lies (for its “rich miserable people” themes). While the series does from time to time fulfill those lofty ambitions, it doesn’t do so frequently enough to truly be considered great.

For a very basic overview, Expats follow the exploits of three women living in Hong Kong but originally from the United States (hence the title). Margaret (Nicole Kidman) is undergoing a severe family tragedy regarding a missing child. Hilary (Sarayu Blue) seemingly has it all–career, style, beauty–but struggles with any sort of home/family life outside of her job, especially as it pertains to David (Jack Huston). Mercy (Ji-young Yoo) is a young woman torn between her teenaged Hong Kong adventures and more serious dalliances with older men and the local protest scene (of which she wants to be a part of). As the series progresses through its six episodes, these three characters converge in often-unexpected ways.

There are times when Expats hits the very heights of prestige TV drama. Certain scenes and character interactions will have you absolutely rapt and thinking deeply about your own life through the compelling arcs. I was especially drawn to the Hilary character, but each angle has its heights to be sure. Series creator Lulu Wang also takes risks–like a feature-length (1:40.00) episode almost exclusively devoted to Hong Kong’s domestic help industry. It certainly isn’t a show afraid of “big swings”.

Now, do those prodigious hacks always produce solid contact? Not necessarily. The first episode can be a little overwhelming until the groundwork is laid, and it crams a lot of serious topics into its scant six-episode run. All the character resolutions may not be everyone’s cup of tea, either. Somewhat oddly, this is a series that–at least for me–was a little less than the sum of its parts. In other words, my individual episode rankings slightly outpaced what I ultimately thought of the season as a whole.

That is truly the best way I can describe my experience watching Expats. Each episode had enough highly emotional or deeply thought-provoking moments to never be boring or outright poor, but in the grand scheme of things I didn’t feel like it added up to much. A solid watch for those who enjoy deeper fare–but perhaps not one that will rocket to the top of best-of lists.

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