*Warning: Minor spoilers ahead*
The Friday night pitch from my spouse: “Let’s watch The Flight Attendant. It’s a thriller that’s supposed to be funny about a woman who wakes up next to a dead guy and her life changes forever.”
On a scale of one to violent, my tolerance level falls somewhere between The Crown (that Lord Mountbatten scene, OMG) and Barry (loved it, but also covered my eyes through most of it). Hence my lackluster reply: “I’ll watch it while I do work on my laptop.”
Three uninterrupted hours (and episodes) later, I was glued to the TV screen.
So, what makes this HBO Max show about a boozy flight attendant named Cassie (played by Kaley Cuoco) who has a one-night-stand with a guy (Michiel Huisman) only to find him murdered by morning so gripping? Well, Kaley Cuoco for one. But there are a zillion more reasons to add it to your queue.
For one thing, it’s scary, but in a suspenseful, ‘I can totally manage this fear’ kind of way. Like I said, my tolerance for violence is low. But aside from the opening episode where the guy Cassie wakes up beside is kind of gruesomely murdered, the plot plays out with the threat of violence more so than actual violence.
And while the series—so far—has kept me on the edge of my seat (no distractions allowed), it’s also funny? Mainly because what comes next is Cassie trying to clear her name with assistance from—spoiler alert—the guy who ended up dead. After all, she was blackout drunk when everything happened, which means her memories of that night are fuzzy at best. He can’t tell her everything, of course, but he can ask prodding questions...many of which include a tone.
The show’s graphics have a throwback whodunnit feel. Montage scenes, FTW. The Flight Attendant relies on a split screen feature, modernized but also reminiscent of old-school spy films, to speed the show’s timeline along and it works. It doesn’t matter if Cassie’s exiting the scene of the crime incognito in sunglasses and a Grace Kelly scarf or sleuthing out a clue with the suspected murderer on her heels, it bolsters the suspense in this series in a way that’s so engaging and cinematic, it makes me wonder why more shows don’t lean on this trope.
‘Big Bang’ who? Kaley Cuoco has total Jennifer Aniston vibes to me. Sure, Kaley Cuoco has always been on my radar. (Come on, even if you didn’t regularly watch The Big Bang Theory, reruns are on all. the. time.) But that was an ensemble comedy whereas The Flight Attendant is pretty much all her show and she owns it. (That said, shout-out to the rest of the cast that includes mega-names Rosie Perez, T.R. Knight and Zosia Mamet, who are all terrific in their own right.) Also, maybe it’s the layered hair (lengthier than Jen’s signature “Rachel” hairdo) or her edgy comedic timing (it’s more Jen circa Horrible Bosses than Friends), but I see similarities between the two.
Finally, more jet-setting content, please. Anyone else fantasizing about where they’ll fly to first post-pandemic? Even if Cassie’s trans-Atlantic flights are stressful, there’s something about a show that spends a good amount of time on planes and in hotels that has me salivating for the days when I can go somewhere exotic again. (Murder plot aside, of course.)
The *only* hiccup. HBO Max releases content in batches, so you have to wait Thursday to Thursday for episodes to come out. But, if you ask me, that only adds to the suspense.