The first three episodes of Nine Perfect Strangers hit Hulu on Wednesday

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nine perfect strangers
Credit: HULU

In Nicole Kidman's latest killer-good miniseries, Nine Perfect Strangers, she arrives with white-blonde hair trailing down in tendrils. She dresses in loose, flowing outfits of a similar hue and moves with soft, ghostly steps. You wonder for a second if she ever dated Gandalf.

This is Masha, the Russian-born, slightly sinister owner of a deluxe holistic spa called Tranquillum. Masha is about to guide her latest batch of guests to a higher state of being, although viewers can't be sure whether her exercises in awakening aren't really just a higher level of baloney (come on — one of the exercises is a potato-sack race!) or even some mental-clouding form of criminal activity (hint: The opening shot is a close-up of a blender violently dicing fruit and ice into a smoothie).

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Kidman gives a sly, amusing performance that suggests all these possibilities and several more. As to the people checking in — and possibly checking out — they're played by an A-list cast that includes Melissa McCarthy (funny, touching — extraordinary, really) as a bestselling author in the middle of a career meltdown; Bobby Cannavale as a football player with a troubled past; Luke Evans as — well, no one seems to know quite what he's up to, except that he's held on to his cellphone and keeps calling someone outside the compound; Regina Hall as Carmel, a woman emotionally unable to move on from a divorce; Michael Shannon as a man who brings his wife (Asher Keddie) and daughter (Grace VanPatten) to the spa to cope with a tragedy; and Manny Jacinto as Yao, one of Kidman's soothing assistants — but is he helping to soothe the boss, too?

nine perfect strangers
Credit: Vince Valitutti/Hulu
nine perfect strangers
Credit: HULU

The show, based on the 2018 bestseller by Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies), at times feels like Fox's Fantasy Island smarted up and at other times like HBO's The White Lotus dumbed down (again: the potato-sack race). But it's also highly dramatic and unmissably entertaining.

The first three episodes of Nine Perfect Strangers premiere Wednesday on Hulu.