I had no idea who Kaley Cuoco was, and then all of a sudden, she appears as one of the stars in one of HBOMAX’s truck load of shows on the brand new network.

There she was, the dumb but gifted comedian on “The Big Bang Theory,” a dumb but gifted series that everyone but I loved. I soon got hooked. More on her later.

“The Flight Attendant” is from Chris Bohjalian’s series of novels about Cassie Bowden, who among other details, is an alcoholic flight attendant. She takes sips between handing out napkins, sleeps around and is an all around party girl. Send the kids to bed.

The opening is a glossy montage of her take offs and landings, both in the air and hotel room beds and assorted bars.

The first show deals with a meet-cute hookup with yet another tall, dark and handsome Alex Sokolov. (Michiel Huisman, who my daughter informs me appeared on “Game of Thrones.”)

She serves Alex a couple of drinks, and quickly serves him a quickie in the tiny ladies’ room where there’s barely enough room to wash one’s hands.

They’re interrupted by co-worker Megan, played by Rosie Perez, and without washing their hands, arrange for a dinner date after they land in Dubai.

We’re spared cute dinner chat and even the after dinner mints in the bedroom, until …

Cassie awakens with Dubai’s blazing sunrise, suffering from another of her famous hangovers, cloudy brain and just a little blood on her fingers.

Blood on her fingers?

“Alex,” she moans, “What did we do last night?”

Alex has no reply. Our Cassie pulls back the drapes, and there it is, the opening shot of what promises to be the beginning and end of her worst flight, worst date and surely, worst nightmare.

Alex is dead. Not just dead-dead, sheet over the head, heart attack dead, but covered with blood and a very close-close up of his severed throat.

So begins and ends the adventures of good-time girl Cassie Bowden, which cutely is set to Sofi Tukker’s “Good Time Girl.” I know this because it keeps playing full out.

Cassie, half naked, now dealing with a hangover and a mutilated corpse, sets about violating the crime scene, wiping down everything, picking up pieces of broken booze bottles, cutting her own foot, and engaging in a panicked phone call to her lawyer and best bud (Zosia Mamet from “Girls”) back in the U.S., and to Cassie’s brother who is making breakfast for his kids.

Who plots these things?

We’re treated for the longest time to Cassie’s clean up, keeping the house keeper from coming in to change the sheets, talking to her lawyer, only to be pulled from what could have been a Hitchcock thriller to a Woody Allen/Marx Brothers’ black comedy.

Cassie suddenly has hallucinations about Alex sitting up, still dead, severed tonsils exposed, while she wipes up her bloody footprints with toilet paper.

What saves the entire project is the super speedy Kaley Cuoco who gave the energy and sex to “Big Bang Theory.”

There’s nothing more I can add here that wouldn’t ruin the opening for you.

We’re told that “The first episode of ‘The Flight Attendant’ is available right now for free even to those without an HBO Max subscription!”.

J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.

filed under: