This glossy, addictive melodrama about motherhood and murder is the female-focused series we’ve been waiting for. It’s must-watch TV, and it airs tonight on Sky Atlantic.
It’s rare to see a series premiere focusing on four commendable female leads generate so much hype, but HBO’s new eight part mini-series Big Little Lies has done exactly that. For weeks we’ve been told and teased about this dark drama revolving around complex women with secrets to hide, and tonight (9PM, Sky Atlantic) we finally get to view it in all its glory. Yours truly has seen the first three episodes and can attest; it is brilliant, compelling TV.
First and foremost, Big Little Lies has a stellar cast: Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley – all actresses of incredible calibre – take leading roles for the HBO limited series based on Liane Moriarty’s best-selling 2014 novel of the same name. The plot revolves around three mothers living seemingly perfect lives until a dark turn of murder leads to everything unravelling, but what it also does is capture a truth on screen – how obsessed we are with other people’s lives. Yes, it revolves around money-obsessed, very attractive Americans, but it does what the best David Lynch films do so well; takes a hard look at the cracks beneath a seemingly perfect surface.
From the opening credits slowly revealing the features of the mysterious-looking leading ladies to the intriguing conversations around who is out to prove they are “the richest” at community fundraisers, right from the start, you know you’re getting more than the average family drama. When beautiful people seemingly have money and everything else going for them, you could say they have little to moan about, but the show cleverly deals with an array of relatable topics from parenting, bullying, infidelity, and the difficulties that come with merging families – all in the trademark HBO manner. Add all this to the show’s central murder plot (this isn’t giving anything away; it’s revealed in the first scene). Based on a classic whodunit but with a twist, the victim and the perpetrator are kept secret, leaving us to guess as the depths of each character is slowly revealed. Everyone could be a victim and a suspect and the guessing game is all part of the fun.
Finally, a show that has bitchy mums, murder and all while deconstructing well-worn female stereotypes. You think you know but you have no idea. And you’re going to love it.
Big Little Lies airs tonight on Sky Atlantic at 9PM.