The heir to Desperate Housewives has finally arrived, and it’s got some potential.
Set in an idyllic seaside California town, Big Little Lies is a strangely hypnotic story about several affluent women whose lives collide on their children’s first day of elementary school. I won’t reveal much more, but everyone has their secrets, and the show utilizes an intriguing gimmick (interrogations throughout the episode) to keep you hooked. Yup the whole thing begins with a murder mystery which will undoubtedly act as the season’s twisty narrative thrust. Fingers crossed the show doesn’t lose momentum.
The cast is certainly the show’s biggest strength, featuring: Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, and they’re backed up by a number of notable TV stars including True Blood‘s Alexander Skaarsgard and Revenge‘s James Tupper. Suffice to say, the A-list assembled for this project is pretty darn impressive, and they elevate the material in every way. It won’t be easy juggling them all in the coming six episodes (yup, it’s a pretty short season), but the fact that a single director (Jean Marc Vallee) will be helming all these episodes definitely has me hopeful.
If I had any complaints, it would be that this is a pilot that desperately required some bombshell cliffhanger to reel me in. I’m curious to watch more, but I wasn’t exactly salivating for another episode. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had here.
Bits & Lies
– This is one stunning looking pilot. The cinematography, the colors – it’s a joy to look at.
– How cute is Chloe, Madeline’s daughter? She’s just remarkably feisty and funny.
– Super awkward moment: Renata assuming that Jane is Madeline’s nanny. Oops.
– Did Reese Witherspoon’s Madeline remind anyone else of Desperate Housewives‘ Bree Van De Kamp? Still, she’s magnificent in the role. I’m impressed.
– So Perry is abusive? The way he grabbed Celeste wasn’t very nice.
– Did Ziggy really choke Amabella? Why does Jane have a gun? And why was she running on the beach in that blue dress. #SoManyQuestions.
– I love that Alias‘ Merrin Dungey was cast as the police detective. It’s a pity she gets all of one line in the pilot.
– Can we please take a moment to discuss how freakin’ gorgeous Renata’s mansion is? That sunset view had me speechless.
– Nifty visual with the black frame panning down as the episode comes to a close. I’m assuming this will be a frequent stylistic touch.
Jane: You’re… so nice. Thank you.
Madeline: This is Monterey. We pound people with nice.
Celeste: To death.
Jane: Sometimes when I’m in a new place, I get this sensation. Like, if only I were here. It’s like I’m on the outside looking in. Like I see this life and this moment, and it’s so wonderful, but it doesn’t quite belong to me.
Jackie: Not that there’s a right little girl to strangle, but he picked the wrong little girl to strangle.
Harper: Jane just didn’t fit here. Kind of like a dirty old Prius parked outside of Barneys.
Harper: Listen, Renata happens to be one of my best friends, so if there’s any way I can play the role of peacemaker in all of this, just please-
Madeline: Thank you, Harper. That’s very sweet of you to offer. And I’ll make sure and let everybody know that Renata is your best friend.
Madeline: It is not only not about that, but it’s actually a play that you should see because it deals with the struggle of young adults being disillusioned with life, feeling demoralized and defrauded by the false promises of tomorrow.
Abigail: I can get all that here.
Madeline: And now he’s got Bonnie, and she’s younger and sexier and prettier. She probably gives mint-flavored, organic blowjobs.
Gordon: (To Renata) Women. You all want to be the envy of your friends, but God forbid you garner too much of it.
Victim of Love by Charles Bradley feat. Menahan Street Band
Cold Little Heart by Michael Kiwanuka
Thanks to its rich production values and all-star cast, there’s enough intrigue here to stick around for a couple of episodes. A very solidly-made pilot!