Have you ever been immediately sucked in by a TV show? Big Little Lies is that kind of series.
From its hypnotic opening-credits sequence set to Michael Kiwanuka’s “Cold Little Heart,” to its unforgettable Emmy-nominated performances (Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley and Alexander Skarsgård were all up for the honor!), to its twisted tale of jealousy, suspicion, revenge and murder (!) in the seemingly picture-perfect town of Monterey, California, it’s just all sooooooo good. Totally addictive. You’ve been warned.
Right from the start, we know someone died at Monterey’s glitzy elementary school fundraiser. Throughout the series’ seven episodes, we are treated to hilarious flashbacks of detectives interviewing gossipy townsfolk about the night in question, and we start to form a picture of just how screwed up this city by the bay really is.
We’re also taken back in time to the first day of school, months before the gala that ends in tragedy. That afternoon, the new-to-town single mom Jane Chapman (Woodley) is shocked when her quiet son is accused of trying to choke Renata Klein’s (Dern) daughter in kindergarten. Jane’s busybody friend (and Renata’s nemesis), Madeline Mackenzie (Witherspoon), jumps to the boy’s defense, and it’s not long until it’s all-out war between the two headstrong women. They’ve both got way too much money, too much pride and too much time on their hands (well, OK, that’s only the case for Madeline) for this to end well.
Madeline often turns to her good friend Celeste (Kidman) to vent about the whole ridiculous situation, not knowing that Celeste has much more serious trouble brewing at home with her paranoid, explosive husband Peter (Skarsgård). Celeste and Peter’s storyline was the most compelling part of the series for me, but I’ll forewarn you that their scenes together are often hard to watch.
As each episode unfolds, the mysteries of “who died?” and “whodunit?” grow more complex, because one thing becomes very, very clear early on: literally everyone in Monterey has something to hide.
I did not want Big Little Lies to end. It’s based on the best-selling novel by Liane Moriarty, was adapted for the small screen by David E. Kelley of Ally McBeal and The Practice fame, and was originally planned as a “one and done” season. But after everyone flipped out about how great it was — and after the series earned a whopping sixteen Emmy nominations (with three wins!) — there’s now talk of a possible second season, with Moriarty currently working on what the (remaining) characters might be up to next.
One thing’s for sure: if that dream cast returns to Monterey, anyone who watched Big Little Lies will be back for more, too.
By: Redbox Writer, Erika Olson