Goodbye, Only Murders In The Building. Hello, Wedding Season. Hulu is clearly inspired to remain on track with genre-bending whodunits after OMITB’s acclaim. On the heels of that show’s season two conclusion last month, the streamer follows up with another darkly comedic thriller, except this one isn’t nearly as enticing. The eight-episode Wedding Season is fun but lacks a certain depth in character development, humor, and, ultimately, final twists.
It’s not that Wedding Season doesn’t have a killer hook to start with: the nuptials of new bride Katie McConnell (Rosa Salazar) end with the groom and his family dead. She’s immediately a suspect, along with her lover Stefan Bridges (Gavin Drea), who interrupted Katie’s wedding hours ago only for her to cruelly reject him in front of everyone. They’re now forced to go on the run, evade cops, and solve the case before multiple murders are pinned on them—unless one or both of them actually did it—while reckoning with their own complicated affair.
The show bounces between the past and present to depict how Katie and Stefan’s relationship began three months ago (yes, just three) when she was already engaged. Her feelings for him notwithstanding, she’s determined to marry her douchebag wealthy fiancé, Hugo Delaney (George Webster). Her agenda to be part of his family isn’t explored until much later, and the results land flatly when it is.
Wedding Season falls short in balancing its genres; it’s far better as an exciting rom-com than an intriguing crime caper. Katie and Stefan personify the whole “opposites attract” trope. She’s tenacious and closed-off. He’s essentially a version of Friends’ Ross Gellar or How I Met Your Mother’s Ted Mosby, a.k.a. a hopeless, bumbling romantic, often to a grating degree. (You just know if Robin Scherbatsky did anything remotely illegal, Ted would drop everything to go and assist her the best he could. Stefan is exactly like that.)
It’s a central love story that requires suspension of logic. From their first meet-cute to a few subsequent dalliances, all of it revolves around different weddings taking place over the summer. It’s a ridiculous gimmick, so Wedding Season hinges completely on Salazar and Drea’s chemistry to pull it off—also evidenced in how Stefan repeatedly obsesses over his chemistry with Katie. Luckily, the gamble works. The actors are instantly charming (individually and as a duo), doling out rich performances despite only surface-level traits. (Stefan’s an orphan and a doctor. We don’t learn much besides that.)
Katie’s background is a bigger question mark because it’s what the mystery is all about. Her half-baked personality is unfortunate because Salazar is a top-notch actor. Even with minimally fleshed-out writing, she morphs Katie into a strong, vulnerable character worth rooting for. (It’s easy to see why Stefan is smitten so quickly.) Similarly, Drea is undeniably charismatic as a rom-com lead himself. Together they generate plenty of momentum even as the mystery starts to drag on. After a certain point, the primary reason to keep going becomes not “Who did it and why?” but “Will the two make it out alive and find a way to be together despite all the secrets?”
If Katie and Stefan feel underdeveloped as the leads, the supporting cast fares even worse. Stefan is constantly surrounded and helped by his pals, but it’s hard to take them seriously when they’re each saddled with merely a single defining attribute. If Stefan’s the Ted Mosby of this group, Suji (Ioanna Kimbrook) and Jackson (Omar Baroud) have Barney Stinson-level commitment issues, while Anil (Bhav Joshi) and Leila (Callie Cooke) are akin to Marshall and Lily and in deep wedding planning mode. (Forgive the HIMYM comparisons, but Wedding Season’s one-note script demands it.) What’s more, the investigating police officers also get entangled in an unnecessary subplot that derails the story.
Wedding Season takes on more than it can handle in eight half-hour episodes. Subverting a well-established genre is already a tall order, but the show also comes at a time when comedic whodunits are a new TV norm. OMITB, Apple TV+’s The Afterparty, Netflix’s Dead To Me, and HBO Max’s Search Party and The Flight Attendant have recently turned it into a crowded category. The Hulu comedy doesn’t take storytelling risks like its genre counterparts, offering predictable plot twists instead. But Wedding Season succeeds as an escapist binge-watch (all eight episodes drop on the same day, September 8) and a breezy rom-com.