This content contains pertinent spoilers.
Sex. Murder. Mystery. What more can you want from a show?
“Fatal Seduction” plays like a classic soap opera but also looks and sounds like one of those horny books you would find at a grocery store. The South African series released its first seven episodes on Netflix with plenty of spice, yet its twists and turns feel predictable, and the characters’ motivations are left with baffling question marks.
“Fatal Seduction” follows Nandi, a professor who lives in a big, beautiful house but suffers a sexless marriage after an unfortunate miscarriage. While she may have a lovely life with her husband Leonard and daughter Zinhle on the surface, she’s deeply discontent with the lack of love and passion she feels. Nandi suspects her husband of having an affair, and she can’t shake the thought.
After Nandi’s best friend Brenda invites her on vacation, Nandi shares her feelings, and Brenda recommends hooking up with a random hot guy. Lo and behold, a random hot guy walks past them. Nandi is immediately attracted to this man, Jacob, and the two bump into each other at a dance club too. Jacob and Nandi have so much fun together that they have sex that night. While Nandi initially regrets it, she’s thrilled to be wanted by this younger man.
At home, Nandi and Leonard’s marriage is still facing difficulties as their 20th-anniversary approaches. Their daughter, Zinhle, is oblivious to her parents’ marital troubles as she’s preoccupied with flirting with a stranger she’s been texting. Nandi’s life becomes more complicated as she encounters Jacob as a student in one of her classes. And when you think life couldn’t get more messy, Brenda winds up dead!
“Fatal Seduction” spends its time twisting and entwining everyone’s lives as Leonard’s brother Vuyo investigates Brenda’s death and Nandi’s lover Jacob. As Nandi and Leonard grow closer and learn to love each other again, Jacob becomes more obsessed with Nandi. Between the softcore sex scenes and dramatic music, very little happens within each episode until the last ten minutes. No one is what they seem in “Fatal Seduction,” but that’s an expectation within this genre. The cliffhangers can fall flat because the audience is a step ahead of the characters. This is only the first part of “Fatal Attraction,” but the audience may be less invested in what happens next and likely ask themselves why it happened in the first place.
Our Rating: Mixed (Stick Around)
Who Is This For?
Horny people, people who enjoy scandal and a more risque soap opera, and people who may enjoy or want to see a South African production.
For a Show with Little Nudity, “Fatal Seduction” Can Still Be Wildly Horny
The show starts with a man’s bare ass, moans, and close-ups of hands grabbing naked body parts, yet “Fatal Attraction” doesn’t dare show female nudity or any male-frontal nudity. Some may find the sex or flirtation with nudity repetitive, as there is sex in every episode, but the show knows that sometimes sexy means flirting with our fantasies without ever fully revealing anyone naked. Everyone does have sex: Nandi, Leonard, Jacob, Vuyo, even the dead lady Brenda! Great lighting, editing, and blocking make these nudeless sex scenes their own art form.
Daughter Texting Stranger and Other Questionable Character Actions
“It’s red flag after red flag,” Zinhle’s friend and potential girlfriend Laura tells Zinhle as she spends three episodes texting a stranger. How Zinhle develops a crush on this stranger and is not creeped out by his words and refusal to reveal who he is can be frustrating to watch. Sometimes a show has to rely on coincidence or fallible characters to move its plot forward. But when a character repeatedly makes the same mistake (Nandi sure does leave around a lot of her belongings) or is called out for it (everyone telling Zinhle to stop texting this guy), “Fatal Attraction” substitutes sympathy for annoyance in its characters.
On The Fence
What is Jacob’s goal?
The viewer is immediately suspicious of Jacob from the moment Brenda claims he looks familiar. While we learn that Jacob wants vengeance on the people who incarcerated his father, his plan and motivations are still messy. Why text the daughter? Does he want to terrorize the family, or does he really love Nandi? Jacob has openings to hurt Leonard, Nandi, and Zinhle when he interacts individually with each family member, but the audience doesn’t gain insight into what he really wants. No matter what Jacob’s motivation is, it seems his other actions contradict or self-sabotage his plans.
A Non-Intriguing Mystery Makes a Tedious Watch
Who is interested in how Brenda died? Our two options are Jacob and Leonard, and neither seem shocking as Jacob is our main suspect, and Leonard’s story requires background information about another crime. The flaw in “Fatal Seduction” is that the show spends a lot of time focused on this murder and suspecting people, but without any shock factor, the show loses the excitement in its reveals.
What I Hope To See
As this is the first part of “Fatal Seduction,” the show seems to already be throwing the audience into this ride without signs of slowing down. Yet there’s no payoff. Like the amount of sex without nudity, the show reveals guns and knives without anyone being shot or stabbed. There’s no danger or shock here. “Fatal Seduction” needs to include twists that the audience can’t predict; it needs to develop its characters as to why we should care about Nandi and her marriage; and lastly, the guns have to go off.
What is “Fatal Seduction” rated?
Fatal Seduction is rated TV-MA for multiple scenes of sex, violence, and some strong profanity.
How does “Fatal Seduction” Part 1 end?
“Fatal Seduction” Part 1 ends with Leonard suspecting Nandi of having an affair with his brother Vuyo. When confronting Vuyo, Leonard gets his butt whooped by his brother and Leonard is forced to reveal he encouraged Brenda to lie in her testimony that incarcerated Jacob’s father. Upon driving in the woods, Nandi accidentally runs into Jacob who was left for dead. Jacob tells Nandi he didn’t murder Brenda and that he really loves her. Nandi leaves Jacob standing alone.
Has “Fatal Seduction” Been Renewed?
Fatal Seduction Part 2 will air at the end of July, but if there’s more afterwards remains unknown.
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