I wasn’t going to review this originally because HBO kept saying it was a miniseries and those aren’t really my review bag. I like to try to get people interested in shows that are still going and will be back for another season, rather than limited engagement TV. It’s just who I am, I’m not a love ’em and leave’ em kind of girl. In a world of baby daddies, I’m the guy that gets you pregnant and then marries you.
Recently, however, Liane Moriarty, the author of the book Big Little Lies, confirmed that she was in talks with HBO about a possible season 2. Which… I am INCREDIBLY excited about! HBO has a helluva reputation when it comes to TV. I mean, Game of Thrones, The Wire, The Sopranos? These aren’t great shows, these are iconic! I can’t say that Little Big Lies is necessarily on par with those shows, it’s only been one season after all, but it has a lot of promise.
The first thing that stuck out to me, and honestly the best thing about the show, was how wonderfully developed the female characters are. So often I watch shows, shows that I even enjoy, where so much is put into developing the male characters and making them different while the female characters are more like decoration. They generally fall into one of three categories: uptight, rule-following worrier, damsel in distress that likes to feign independence or bad-ass loner and they get NO development beyond their archetypes. In BLL, there are no categories with the female characters. They could be actual women that you know and are maybe even friends with. I feel like I got to know each of them on an intimate level, every strength and weakness, every mistake and motivation. It was… Refreshing!
Madelyn, played by Reese Witherspoon, could very easily just be cast as the shows resident mean girl, and she definitely makes some mean girl type decisions, but her character doesn’t stop at that. Instead, we’re shown a woman who would do anything for her friends, who is loyal and open and artistic. Who is conflicted and pulled between love of her husband and family and her need for excitement.
Celeste, played by Nicole Kidman, is more than just your average abused woman character. She is a strong, independent, highly educated woman who just has her eyes shut very tightly to her circumstances. You see the pattern of abuse displayed, it’s clear that she is a victim, it’s just as clear that she sees her husband’s actions as wrong but thinks he just needs a little help. I specifically enjoyed Celeste because of her several dissonant characteristics.
Renata, played by Laura Dern, doesn’t get quite as much development as the others since she isn’t a central character and is more used as an opposing force for Madelyn. Even this woman, however, isn’t just a run-of-the-mill character. She is the working mom of the ensemble, a CEO of a large company that feels constantly judged for choosing to work and have a family and is so concerned that her daughter may be missing out on something or being mistreated because of it.
The other female characters are just as well developed and intriguing, though the male characters are sort of your standard, go to male character types. It’s very clear that they are the minor characters on this show. I would say that I’d like to see some more character development from the male characters next season, but I won’t be extremely disappointed if that doesn’t happen. This is definitely the best new show this year I’ve seen so far. I would highly recommend this show, especially to anyone that is an avid reader. The attention to detail and reality of the characters are two things that I love about well written books, and those things abound in this series.
The drama is intense, the story is compelling, the acting is, obviously, incredible, and the perspectives of the different characters are gripping. If you’re a fan of dramatic shows, you’re GOING to like this and, honestly, you may still like it even if you’re not.