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Series / Fantasy Island (2021)

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Fantasy Island is a Sequel Series to the 1970s Aaron Spelling series Fantasy Island, starring Roselyn Sánchez, Kiara Barnes, and John Gabriel Rodriquez.

The show delves into the 'what if' questions… that keep us awake at night, and features emotional, provocative stories about people who arrive with dreams and desires and depart enlightened and transformed through the magical realism of Fantasy Island.

The show's first season comprised 8 episodes and aired until Sept 19th. In November 2021, the show was renewed for a second season. A two-part holiday special also aired on December 23rd 2021.


  • Ambiguously Bi: The pilot episode establishes that Ruby feels attracted to women, and her husband encourages her to explore that. The ambiguous part is her feelings towards her husband. She seems to feel deep affection and perhaps some degree of physical attraction. She tells Mel she loves him and their family, and that she wouldn't change a thing. He replies that she doesn't love him the same way he loves her. Did she view their relationship as a Marriage of Convenience? Did she choose a conventional straight family over the openly gay life she secretly wanted? Or did she feel some level of attraction to Mel, just not as strong as his attraction for her?
  • Artistic License – Medicine: In "Gwenivere of Gwendale", the title character denounces leeches as "barbaric". While more efficient methods have since been found, leeches are in fact a medically useful way of sucking toxins out of the blood, not just a sign of medieval ignorance.
  • Back from the Dead: The first season finale has the Island using the Day of the Dead to allow ghosts to come back for a day. That includes Ruby's husband (who passed away while she was gone) and Javier's former Army friend.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The central trope of the series, as it was with its predecessors. Nobody has yet gotten away from Fantasy Island without getting what they need instead of what they say they want. And getting both is often quite uncomfortable.
  • Benevolent Genie: Elena serves as this, gleefuly catering to the fantasies of her guests without expecting anything in return. However, this benevolence often means giving them what they need rather than just what they want, even if what they need will be painful in the moment.
  • Blackmail: Isabel extorts Edmund Walsh to not only keep his mouth shut about Rachel being the true author of the Agnes books but also pay her more as she has future knowledge of the fact he's kept a mistress and has children with her, saying she'll tell his wife otherwise.
  • Broken Pedestal: Artist Ramon is stunned to find his mentor Jasper's ghost is on the island which lets him unleash his anger upon discovering Jasper had been cheating him for years on fake drawings and his various scamming ways.
  • Casting Gag:
  • Christmas Episode: The two-parter special, airing right before Christmas 2021 has the holidays celebrated on the island.
  • Exact Words: As in the original series, Roarke has a unique way of interpreting a guest's wishes. A woman who feels overwhelmed by her judgemental family wants to go to "a world where my family as I know it doesn't exist." She finds 1967 Havana.
  • Foreshadowing: Isabel says she feels ill on motorized vehicles, she reads 19th century literature, and she feels out of step with this world.
  • Fountain of Youth: Ruby and Mel become young again on the island, as a result of her wish. They even get into a pool to do this. When their visit is over, Mel convinces Ruby to stay behind since she's dying of cancer, and live indefinitely there in a young body. She agrees, and becomes Elena's assistant.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: In the second episode, Daphne and Zev switch bodies. A married couple, they wanted things spiced up on the island. While switched, the couple experience how it is being in their spouse's body, and even have sex. This trope is even named by them while it happens.
  • Gene Hunting: Season 2 introduces Helene, a young woman whose wish is to find her birth father, whom she never met because her mother conceived her with him due to a one-time thing. He turns out to be Javier; Helene decides to stay on the island for a while, wanting to get to know him.
  • Grass Is Greener: One episode has a woman trying to choose between her boyfriend of several years and the man her parents arrange for her to marry. She's given a chance to see the ways each life can turn out, realizing each one has its strengths but also drawbacks. In the end, she realizes it's better to marry neither man but live a life beyond her too-strict set goals for herself.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: "Forever and a Day" has a guest trapped in one when his plans to propose to his boyfriend go awry. Meanwhile, Elena is trapped with him as her attempts to give Helene a great birthday fail. Eventually, the guest is frank on his failings with his boyfriend to break the loop (although this leads to the other man proposing instead) while Elena realizes she has to break up with Javier for his daughter's sake.
  • I Choose to Stay:
    • Ruby is convinced to stay on the island, where she'll remain young and in good health indefinitely (Elena couldn't cure her cancer if she left).
    • Isabel's heartbroken at having left Rachel in the past, and leaps at the offer to stay there permanently with her that Elana provides.
  • Incompatible Orientation: In Season 2 one of the visitors turns out to be a gay man who loves a good (straight) male friend of his. He confesses this publicly, and his friend warmly accepts this, but makes it clear that he doesn't love him that way, as his gay friend knows. They remain friends after this.
  • Interspecies Romance: It turns out that Ruby's Love Interest Isla is really a mermaid. Ruby is human, though given extended youth by being on the island.
  • Island of Mystery: Just like in the original, although what happens on Fantasy Island is well known to the public now.
  • It's All About Me: Eileen in episode 3 who made herself the center of attention in travels and parties to neglect her family to the point she literally becomes invisible once on the island. She has to realize how what she thought was a fun "life of the party" lifestyle was seen by others as an egotistical diva.
  • Late Coming Out: Ruby was in her seventies when she finally embraced her attraction to women, at her husband's gentle insistence (who had realized this long ago).
  • Lipstick Lesbian:
    • Ruby is a feminine woman who enjoys wearing jewelry and dresses (though her hair is short). She is attracted to other women, but had kept it secret for years.
    • "The Romance and the Bromance" features two, Isabel and Rachel (her idol whom she goes into the past to meet), having a romance. Both are slightly less feminine than the norm in their periods though.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • The island's power, vast as it is, cannot cure Ruby of her cancer. It can, however, give her a young and healthy body that isn't in danger of dying (albeit one that will only last as long as she remains on the island).
    • In "Mystery in Miami", to help Ruby deal with the cabin fever she's feeling from the above-mentioned inability to leave the Island, Elena sends her into the fantasy of the week (which is set in 1980s Miami) for an impromptu vacation, which is allowed since she isn't actually leaving the Island.
  • Man, I Feel Like a Woman : One of the first things Zev does after he and his wife Daphne have a "Freaky Friday" Flip is to feel her breasts.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: As with the original series, there appear to be people other than the Caretaker and the Right Hand living on Fantasy Island. However, it is not clear whether these people are actually real. The Island is magical without question, so it is entirely possible that it simply populated itself for the sake of the caretakers and the guests.
  • Meaningful Name: When Alma connects with her family in 1967 Cuba, her grandfather tells her she uses good drumming technique but she needs to play more from her soul. Alma means “soul” in Spanish.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: In "Girlboss, Interrupted" the episode's guest Courtney gets mind-reading powers. She isn't pleased at how many people insult her in their thoughts, and some off.
  • Missing Mom: Ruby has grown children whom she has no contact with for a long time after starting to live on the island. At first this isn't mentioned. Then in Season 2, her daughter Mary Jane (nicknamed "MJ") visits and tells Ruby how much this affected her especially, since they got no warning. Ruby apologizes to her for this, and makes it clear that if there were any other way for her (she previously had cancer, which staying on the island stops) she'd leave and be with her children again.
  • Moustache de Plume: Rachel Coldwater, a 19th century writer, had to publish under an assumed name and use her husband as the official author, as her books could not be published by a woman.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Just like her predecessor, Elena is almost always dressed in white.
    • Elena explains that Ruby has a mark that belongs to those who aid the Roarkes on the island, which in her case is...a tattoo.
    • Ruby remains on the island to assist Elena so that she can maintain her fantasy, which keeps her young and healthy. This makes her similar to Brax from the movie, except his motivation was to keep someone else alive.
  • Nostalgia Filter: In episode 4, Alma finds herself in 1967 Havana and gushes on being in a time period of wonderful music and charm. She quickly discovers this is also a time period where Castro's regime was brutal on any possible dissension.
  • Not So Above It All: Elena tells Ruby that she doesn't have the time to read the Victorian romance novels that Isabel introduced Ruby to. As soon as Ruby leaves her office, Elena picks up one of the books and resumes reading it.
  • Obsessed with Food: In the pilot episode, Christine's fantasy is to gorge herself on all the food she’s been depriving herself of — but was secretly obsessed with.
  • Older Than They Look: Ruby is in her early seventies, but on the island looks about forty years younger, which is highlighted when she's with her adult daughter Mary Jane-they look about the same age.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Isla turns out to be a mermaid. Here, they have the usual look of a female human upper body with a fish lower half. However, they can also turn fully human temporarily, and even make humans mermaids as well. Further, she's attracted to women, offering Ruby (her human lover) the transformation so they can stay together all the time. It turns out they also have siren powers to attract mortals, so much that Ruby even starts losing memories of her family.
  • Reconstruction: After the Deconstructive Parody of the '90s version, this one is very much a return to form, with Roarke wearing white suits and being nothing but altruistic in giving people the fantasies they both want and need.
  • Sirens Are Mermaids: Here, mermaids also draw mortals to them like sirens, which Isla does with Ruby. It's also noted (by Elena, a Latina) that in Spanish the word for mermaid is "sirena", thus the whole language does this.
  • Speed Sex: While in Zev's body, Daphne has sex with him (switched into hers), but comes almost immediately.
  • Spin-Off: The series is one of Fantasy Island, with Mr. Rourke's grand niece Elena now running things.
  • Struggling Single Mother: In "Girlboss, Interrupted" the episode's guest Courtney was a single teenage mother to her daughter Alexis, struggling with providing for them. She tells about how they couldn't afford a Christmas tree while Alexis was little once, though her boss let them into where Courtney worked so they could open gifts under the one there. Her drive for success stems from wanting to give Alexis more and she still feels obvious guilt over the past. Alexis though assures her she's a great mother.
  • Swapped Roles: "Walk a Country Mile" has a super-successful female country star and her harried male assistant visit with the music star wanting a big life again and the assistant brushing off wanting a fantasy of his own. Roarke interprets one of the lyrics of her biggest hit to swap them so the assistant is the country star and she has to figure a humble way to overcome her writer's block.
  • Taking the Heat: After Alma's great-uncle accidentally kills a member of the neighborhood defense committee, her grandfather takes the fall and turns himself in so that his pregnant wife can get away cleanly.
  • Teen Pregnancy: In "Girlboss, Interrupted" the episode's guest Courtney had a daughter when she was seventeen, which is the first thing she mentions about herself.
  • Tempting Fate: More than one person starts a fantasy talking about it being just what they wanted and would be great. Little do they know...
  • Totally Radical: Ruby tries to speak "young and hip" with Helene, though she quickly fails (including mistakenly calling them Millenials when it's Gen Z). After Helene spots this, Ruby confesses that she's actually 75, not 25, though the island makes her look decades younger.
  • Transparent Closet: Ruby kept her attraction to women a secret for over fifty years, but her loving husband Mel realized this long ago (he knew she'd been in love with a "friend" of hers). He's completely accepting of this, and hopes that she will be free to live out her sexual orientation on the island, if Ruby wants that.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: Christine Collins's childhood as Crystal Jo is revealed this way in the pilot - her abusive stepfather played a big part in her behavior as an adult.
  • Truth Serum: When two old friends clash at their fantasy of a high school reunion, Elena gives them a drink forcing them to tell nothing but the truth about how they really feel about each other. Then the entire party gets it, so everyone admits they're nowhere near as successful as they claimed to be.
  • Understanding Boyfriend: Ruby's husband Mel accepts how his wife is attracted to other women, agreeing that she should not only stay living on the island apart from him so her cancer won't return but also explore it with his full endorsement. He loves her just that much.
  • Was It All a Lie?: A woman comes to the island with her new boyfriend to get over the vanishing of her old love, who had helped them create a business only to leave when he was blamed for their device failing. After finding him turned into a dog, the woman has to confess her new affair. But they soon realize their partner was the one who altered the device just to make more money and let his friend take the fall. They're both shocked when the guy pulls a gun on them and reveals his entire relationship with the woman was all a plan to try to find the partner so he could silence him (luckily, Elena shows up to stop him).
    Maya: You said that you loved me.
    Tony: I needed to find him.
  • Weight Woe: Christine suffered from anxiety for years about even gaining a little weight, and consequently didn't eat most of the food she craves. On the island, her wish is to eat whatever she wants with no weight gain.
  • Wish-Fulfillment: Elena sits guests down and asks them what their biggest fantasies are so they can live them out on the island.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Ruby was dying of cancer when she came to the island along with her husband Mel. The couple wanted a last wonderful vacation for her before she died.