So far, 2017 is shaping up to be an EXCELLENT year for top telly drama. And this week, I’ve been enjoying a sneak peek of one of my favourite new shows of the year – Big Little Lies, a new seven-part drama starting on Sky Atlantic next Monday at 9pm.
Earlier this week, Volvo (sponsors of Sky Atlantic) invited me down to London to get a sneak peek of the show while being driven around in a rather snazzy new Volvo XC90. Aside from the fact that the XC90 is basically my dream car, you will know, readers, how much I love a good TV drama.
In case you’re wondering whether Big Little Lies should be added to your already packed TV viewing schedule, I’ve prepared a quick quiz:
- Do you enjoy looking at gorgeous houses on Pinterest and imagining your 3-bed Victorian semi could look just like that, if only you had a squillion pounds and your own interior designer on speed dial?
- Do you secretly wish you were married to Alexander Skarsgard?
- Have you ever been given the side-eye at the school gate because of that dodgy stain on your sweater?
- Do you love Scandal? The Affair? Revenge?
If the answer to any of these questions is a big fat “yes” then I guarantee you’ll enjoy Big Little Lies.
In a nutshell – Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley play three wealthy, beautiful mothers living in Monterey, California. On the surface their lives are perfect, to match their Architectural-Digest homes, but of course Madeline, Celeste and Jane are all falling apart in different ways, and the show is all about the violence and unhappiness lurking underneath the uber-glossy exterior. Then one day a single Mum who looks like a regular Mum (and is therefore immediately confused with a nanny) arrives and turns everything upside down. Tsk. Single Mums, eh?
Based on the novel by Liane Moriarty, this is basically a whodunit (but no ordinary whodunit)- the show opens with the revelation that someone has been killed – but you’ll have to wait to find out who (and why). All we know is that it apparently all started with a minor incident involving the women’s children, who are all starting first grade as the show kicks off.
Big Little Lies is definitely stylish and dark, with a hint of melodrama to come. We’ve spent a lot of time in California over the years, and I swooned at the lingering overhead shots of Bixby Bridge and the Pacific Coast Highway. The show does an amazing job of capturing the cool yoga classes and beachside faux-shack restaurants, and there’s real-estate porn aplenty. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself sighing, “Who would I have to bump off to get an ocean-front deck like THAT?” quite regularly. And the strong cast elevates the show so that even the more cliche moments feel more complex and more real.
A really big selling point for me of this show is the cast. I always find it refreshing to find women in their 40s being allowed to play interesting characters that stretch (a little) outside the stereotype. Laura Dern and Nicole Kidman are quite nuanced characters, and it’s hard to truly like OR hate anyone in the show. A lot of fun is to be had wondering who gets bumped off, and who does the bumping.
Reese Witherspoon’s Madeline is easily my favourite character, looking like America’s sweetheart but with some truly evil one liners (my favourite Madeline line is a toss-up between, “She’s not a nanny, Renata, she’s just young. Like you used to be.” and “I love my grudges. I tend to them like little pets.”). The script is undeniably funny, especially to anyone who spends any time around a school gate.
Are you looking forward to Big Little Lies? I’ve love to know what you think! Make sure to watch, or set your Sky box recording on Monday 13 March at 9pm! If you’re reading this after Monday, then you can catch up now.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Sky Atlantic, but all views are my own. Because good telly is sacred and I wouldn’t tell you to watch something I didn’t really, really like 🙂