NEW YORK (CNS) — In the late 1970s and early '80s, television viewers were transported to Fantasy Island, the venue of a weekly drama in which the enigmatic Mr. Roarke (Ricardo Montalban), resplendent in a white suit and speaking with a booming accent, invited a gaggle of guest stars to his exotic resort to fulfill their wildest dreams.

Each journey usually ended in introspection and self-improvement.

Now Hulu updates the premise with a star-studded cast and new age-flavored nostrums in "Nine Perfect Strangers," based on the best-selling novel by Liane Moriarty. Three of the series' eight one-hour episodes are streaming now, with new installments premiering Wednesdays through Sept. 22.

Mature themes, including homosexuality, heterosexual waywardness and occasional crude language contribute to making this apt fare for grown-ups only. All the more so when combined with a fleeting glimpse of marital lovemaking and scenes of group skinny dipping — though these do not involve any visible nudity.

Nicole Kidman steps into Montalban's shoes (and wears white) as Masha Dmitrichenko, the exotic Russian founder of Tranquillum, a "transformation retreat" in California. Worn-out city dwellers pay a hefty sum for 10 days of deluxe accommodations and the promise of healing and renewal.

"Right now, you are at the foot of a mountain. And the summit seems impossibly far away," Masha tells her guests. "But I'm going to help you reach that summit. In 10 days, you will not be the person you are now. You will be happier, healthier, lighter, freer."

For reasons unclear (but likely nefarious), Masha has handpicked the eponymous group. Viewers might feel the need for a guide as they try to keep track of the stock characters and their respective forms of angst.

There's the Marconi family: High school teacher Napoleon (Michael Shannon), his wife, Heather (Asher Keddie), and their 21-year-old daughter, Zoe (Grace Van Patten). Three years ago, Zoe's twin brother committed suicide, and the family remains fractured by grief.

Handsome young marrieds Ben (Melvin Gregg) and Jessica (Samara Weaving) Chandler are miserable and seek counseling. Ben is depressed despite winning $22 million in the lottery, while Jessica is addicted to Instagram, which feeds her narcissism.

The remaining four are all on their own. Twice-divorced Frances Welty (Melissa McCarthy) is a romance novelist equally unlucky in book sales and love. Fellow splitsville veteran Carmel Schneider (Regina Hall) wants to lose weight and tackle an anger management problem.

Former NFL star Tony Hogburn (Bobby Cannavale) is addicted to painkillers, the result of the injury that ended his career on the gridiron. And Lars Lee (Luke Evans) is a gay man with a dark (so we're led to suspect) secret.

Drama is not confined to the front of the house. "Personal wellness consultants" Yao (Manny Jacinto) and Delilah (Tiffany Boone) are an item, even though Yao is also having an affair with Masha.

Meanwhile, that "amazing mystical Eastern Bloc unicorn" Masha (as Frances describes her) is being stalked and receiving death threats, which may have something to do with her former life as a hard-driving corporate CEO. That career ended when she was shot and left for dead.

Speaking of death, one of Masha's exercises is for each participant to dig a grave, lie down inside and contemplate his or her fate. "You have all come here to die," she intones. "I will bring you back. There can be birth in death. Tragedy can be a blessing."

Quasi-faith-based references like these are sprinkled throughout "Nine Perfect Strangers," and one character is obsessed with the Book of Leviticus. But these are mere distractions in what is, based on the episodes reviewed, a derivative and rather boring soap opera.

Series creator David E. Kelley deserves a medal for the unenviable task of juggling multiple story lines of varying interest. Yet the sum of the parts he strives to keep in balance is ultimately negligible. Thus, in the end, viewers may agree with Ben, who doesn't initially see the point of going to Tranquillum. "If we keep getting better, eventually we'll be perfect," he tells Jessica. "And then what?"