Fantasy Island Season 1 Episode 1 Review: Hungry Christine/Mel Loves Ruby

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Growing up, one of my favorite things was watching the double-header on Saturday nights with The Love Boat and Fantasy Island.

There was something magical about how the two shows whisked us away on adventures both mysterious and romantic, and with well-known stars gracing the ship's deck and the lush green island, the shows never disappointed viewers.

Reboots and revivals are risky for viewers if a sound investment for studios. Maintaining the tone of the original while making something new isn't easy, but Fantasy Island Season 1 Episode 1 met and exceeded expectations.

Elena Roarke - Fantasy Island Season 1 Episode 1

It may not be a part of a glorious Saturday night double-header, but Fox Mondays now promise entertainment and excitement just the same.

Roselyn Sanchez is the perfect choice to play Elena Roarke, niece of the great Mr. Roarke from the original. And if you thought going all white would be passe this far into the future, she makes every outfit look refined and elegant.

Since this was a revival and not a reboot, getting the story correct was vital. Step one was finding the perfect replacement for Mr. Roarke, and Elena is it.

Even better, this Roarke will get a more significant backstory. Well, at least she's getting a deeper character exploration. While Mr. Roarke was always mysterious and enigmatic, this show will allow Elena to show her weaknesses and strengths.

Javier the Pilot Take 2 - Fantasy Island Season 1 Episode 1

Elena fights against the carnal urges she has with Javier, the pilot, but when those urges get the better of her, she'll see them through. Elena might even be allowed to experience love.

That's a welcome switch that allows viewers to invest in the day-to-day island activities as well as the short stories that arise from various guests visiting the island.

It was impressive that Elena's version of Tattoo found her rather than the other way around.

Everything about Ruby's story hit the right notes. Choosing to spend her last days deep in a fantasy that allowed her and her husband to share meaningful time together was beautiful, and there was no doubt that they shared a deep love.

A Husband and Wife Hike - Fantasy Island Season 1 Episode 1

Whether it was a passionate love is a different question.

We look to passionate love in the 21st Century a lot more than people did in the 20th Century. Marriages between good friends made sense if the partners suited each other as family and with financial responsibilities.

Their love wasn't any less than those who marry with both friendship and passion, but it could be said that they missed out on some of the finer things in our short lives.

Mel had always questioned whether Ruby was satisfied with her decision to marry him. Even though she assured him that she was, he was still interested in Ruby getting a taste of what she had missed.

The Fantasies of the Island - Fantasy Island Season 1 Episode 1

That kind of love is uncommon, at best. Mel chose to let go of Ruby if it meant a second chance at life, especially one that would fulfill an entirely different need than his love offered her.

I don't think Tattoo's life was ever discussed. We never knew how he came to Fantasy Island or why he worked with Mr. Roarke, so Ruby's transition from guest to working alongside Elena was amazing.

Ruby has the significance of the tattoo that allows her to become a permanent part of the island while not being stuck with the name. It was such a pleasant surprise and added a welcome dimension to the lore of Fantasy Island.

Ruby is cute as a button, but she has an entire life of experience behind her that will come in handy helping Elena carry out fantasies for others.

Ruby and Elena on a Log - Fantasy Island Season 1 Episode 1

And wouldn't you know that she looks terrific in white, too!

As if those two pieces of the premiere puzzle weren't enough, the first true guest that wouldn't leave a part of themselves on the island was good, as well.

Thank you, FOX, for utilizing Bellamy Young in Fantasy Island after unceremoniously slicing Prodigal Son out of our lives.

Christine's fantasy was to eat to her heart's content without suffering any consequences, and to that, I say, AMEN SISTER!! Both premiere fantasies were easy to imagine, and that kind of buy-in is imperative.

The Path Not Followed - Fantasy Island Season 1 Episode 1

When Christine first walked into her bungalow, I didn't even see food. My mind, unable to comprehend that volume of food, saw flowers. When she reached over and ate something, it hit me.

Do you think that all of that food was real, or was a lot of it props? It's probably possible that it was CGI, too, merely inserted into the room after the fact.

Could anyone waste that much food? Unless it was created, and then the cast and crew got to eat it. That would be a terrific perk.

The best thing about Fantasy Island has always been that acting out your greatest fantasies shows you something about yourself that you would have never understood otherwise.

Hungry Christine Who Eats and Eats - Fantasy Island

It doesn't take a psychotherapist to uncover that a penchant to overeat, to get so much pleasure out of food, is probably rooted deeply in your psyche.

But just because it wasn't a stretch to imagine doesn't mean that it wasn't worth watching. It's the opposite.

The more someone shows you about something that you kind of know but don't dig into too deeply, the better. No matter your habit, if you dig deep enough, you will probably find something that scratches at your mind, but you brush aside.

In Christine's case, it was the food she wouldn't eat that told her story. As she sat in that room that culminated in a giant cake moving across the table to her, it reminded me of Alice in Wonderland.

Eat and Eat and Eat - Fantasy Island Season 1 Episode 1

The scene created an uneasy feeling, and if that kind of work was achieved on the premiere, the rest of the season seems quite promising.

There is the perfect mix of guests and drama original to the island in this revival. It's another winner on FOX, and we hope you tune in so that it lasts a nice, long time.

What did you think? If you are a new or existing fan of the Fantasy Island mythos, share your thoughts below.

Hungry Christine/Mel Loves Ruby Review

Editor Rating: 4.25 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (54 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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