Big Little Lies was a Big Little Hit for HBO and Sky Atlantic back in 2017. The American crime drama series not only won over audiences and critics, it absolutely cleared up at TV awards ceremonies throughout the year. It picked up 8 Emmy Awards from 16 nominations, including Best Outstanding Limited Series, Golden Globes galore and a sackful of Screen Actors Guild Awards. Plus Critics’ Choice Television Awards, AFI Awards, Writers Guild of America Awards… You get the idea.
So it stands to reason that it should return for a second series. And return it will. Next month, in fact.
It doesn’t seem as though the show’s writer and creator David E Kelly (Ally McBeal, Chicago Hope, Mr Mercedes) is content to just trot out another quick facsimile of the maiden season, either. Kelly and HBO look to have doubled down and really aimed for the stars with this follow-up. You can tell from the casting alone.
Series 1 boasted a seriously knockout line-up of stars. Hollywood big hitters Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Alexander Skarsgård and Laura Dern were joined by the likes of Shailene Woodley, Adam Scott and Zoë Kravitz. This coming series has gone one better, though and really upped the stakes. Their big recruit? None other than three-time Academy Award-winning acting legend Meryl Streep.
The Sophie’s Choice and Out of Africa star plays Mary Louise Wright, Perry’s mother. She arrives in California, looking for the truth about her son’s death. Will she chip away at the big little lies of ‘The Monterey Five’ and find out what really happened to her abusive child?
The first series of Big Little Lies was based on the book of the same name by Liane Moriarty and told the unraveling stories of Madeline (Witherspoon), Celeste (Kidman), Jane (Woodley), Bonnie (Kravitz) and Renata (Dern). Stories which intertwine and – eventually – lead to murder. With no more source material to work from for series 2, the writers of the TV show are having to get creative. But the network insists that the production will be true to the original characters and their various personalities and motivations.
‘Liane Moriarty came up with a novella, which was key. David Kelly took it and thought, “Is there something I can do with it?”‘ says HBO programming chief Casey Bloy. ‘Reese and Nicole were involved, and they felt that there was more life in the characters. Everybody approached it from a place of love and care for these characters and this property and with a little dose of skepticism along the way.
‘Nobody had to do this, so every part had to feel right. Reese and Nicole are not vanity producers. They are in this, having conversations. I think where we started was, “We all want to work together again. Is there more here? Is there something else to do?” It came from a place of, “This is a good group, what can we all do?” It was really step by step.’
Fish Tank and American Honey director Andrea Arnold slips into Jean-Marc Vallée’s director’s chair, after the Canadian filmmaker was forced to pull out due to his commitments helming another excellent and powerful female-led HBO series, Sharp Objects.
Reese Witherspoon calls the upcoming seven-part drama ‘the opportunity to delve deeper into the lives of these intriguing and intricate Monterey families and bring more of their stories back to the audience who embraced and championed them.’
Her Australian co-star and friend Nicole Kidman said, ‘This is inspired by the overwhelming response from audiences around the world. What a journey this has been. I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to keep exploring these female characters and make this series with my friends.’
We’re looking forward to Big Little Lies‘ return, as we’re sure most of you are. But we mustn’t get too carried away – it looks as though there may well be a line drawn under this second series…
‘There’s no plan now for a season 3’, David E Kelly said at the end of last year. ‘We like where our closure is at the end of season 2.’
The second season of Big Little Lies will be aired on Sky Atlantic (and NOW TV) weekly, every Monday evening at 9pm. Starting from the 10th of June. Episodes drop in the UK some 4 days after they’re shown in the US, though. So do be careful with spoilers on social media…
Can’t wait for Big Little Lies season 2? Loved the first series and book? Let us know in the comments below!