Nicole Reece Shailene Just Three Of The Reasons Why 'Big Little Lies' IsTV Gold
Warning: major episode one spoilers ahead.
Big Little Lies is the new Sky Atlantic crime drama that everyone is talking about. There’s been major hype, there’s a ridiculously A-list cast and after just one episode, we’re utterly hooked.
Titled ‘Someone’s Dead’, the first instalment throws us headlong into small town life in Monterey, California where Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley) and son Ziggy are newcomers who are quickly adopted by busy body mum Madeline Martha Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon). But the glossy facade shows instant cracks, as we learn that someone has been murdered following a fundraiser event.
Who? We don’t know just yet. But what we have learned is that this show won’t be holding back. It’s a 2017 spin on the whodunnit narrative, steeped in intrigue and power struggles fought at the school gates.
If you didn’t tune in, here’s five reasons you need to catch up ASAP.
Acting talent? Its rammed with it.
By a happy accident this adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s novel has two major powerhouse actresses behind it. Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman both made moves to option the story through their production companies and came to a valiant truss, agreeing to co-produce and star. Their performances as the stunning Celeste (Nicole) and interfering Madeline (Reese) are stunning. As are the ones by their uber talented cast mates Laura Dern, who plays career-minded Renata, Shailene as Jane and the inimitably cool Zoe Kravitz as Bonnie, the second wife of Madeline’s ex. Like they say: the small screen is the new silver screen.
Oh, and Alexander Skarsgard too
Celeste and her seriously hot husband Perry (Alexander Skarsgard) are the talk of the town thanks to their very public affection (“you shouldn’t be that gushy past 40”). But we fast learn there’s a dark side to their relationship when he gets heavy-handed over deciding what’s best for their picture-perfect kids. Things look set to take a sour turn for these two, but in the mean time we’ll enjoy staring longingly at Alexander.
It takes small town drama to another level
Sure, we all loved Desperate Housewives and The OC for the glossy homes and small town drama, but Big Little Lies takes things up a notch. The politics of cliques at the school gates, the stand-off between working mums and part-time ones, and the struggle to keep up appearances in this picture-perfect town are subtly, and relatably played out by this talented cast of women.
There’s something intriguing about Jane and Ziggy
Jane is funny, shy and sweet – Madeline’s ready-made new BFF. But we know there’s something amiss. She’s literally running from something, as we see in flashbacks, and her son seems to be too. On his first day at school in front of all his classmates and their parents he’s accused of throttling another child. He pleads innocence, and it’s kind of hard not to believe him. But there’s something of an Eleven from Stranger Things vibe about him – and the comparisons goes beyond the shaved head. We learn he has a tendency to sleep walk, and his mum seems to be keeping secrets for him. Needless to say we can’t wait for them to be unravelled.
The house envy
Liane Moriarty’s novel is set in South Wales, but praise be to Reese and Nicole for uprooting this story and setting it on the Pacific Coast. The cafes are quant and clapper boarded, the coast is rugged and their houses are ginormous and glossy. Like one of the locals notes in his police interview: “Everyone wants to prove they’re the richest”, and it’s not just the size of their charitable donations but the size of their kitchen islands and beach front decks that serve as their status symbols. Kudos to anyone who has managed to avoid the temptation to book flights to LAX by the end of the series.
Big Little Lies continues on 20 March at 9pm on Sky Atlantic.