‘Big Little Lies’: Why HBO Should Make Season 2
After seven weeks of completely dominating Sunday night television, Big Little Lies aired its revelation-packed finale on April 2, 2017. The miniseries, based on Liane Moriarty’s best-selling novel of the same name, won over critics and captivated fans.
It’s been lauded as HBO’s latest contribution to the increasingly popular pantheon of prestige television. That’s thanks to its riveting script by The Practice‘s David E. Kelley, cinema-quality direction by Jean-Marc Vallée, and, perhaps most of all, the career-high performances from its top-notch ensemble.
Big Little Lies was billed as a limited series. And indeed, the seven episodes that aired this spring on HBO encompassed most of the salient plot points in Moriarty’s book. But given the miniseries’ unqualified success, there have been calls from all corners to revive the series. While many fans and critics think BLL should be left as is, there is a case to be made for giving it another go. Here are 10 reasons why it could be a good idea for HBO to commission a second season of Big Little Lies.
1. Tie up loose ends for the ladies
The finale episode answered the mystery at the center of Big Little Lies — who was killed and who did the killing? But there were plenty of loose ends left by the time the credits rolled. Will Detective Quinlan keep pursuing the unanswered questions surrounding Perry’s death? The final shot of the series showed someone, presumably Quinlan, watching the women on the beach through binoculars. So that alone seems to indicate that she’s not satisfied.
That’s not the only question the series left unanswered. Big Little Lies ended as Madeline was grappling with whether or not to tell Ed about her affair — while he seemed to be putting the pieces together on his own. We only got a small glimpse of what Renata and Amabella’s life is like now that they’ve been integrated into the bigger group. And they really left us hanging when it comes to the sweet burgeoning relationship between Jane and Tom. In other words, there’s plenty of material left to explore.
2. Let us dive into some of the characters’ backstories
One of the best things about Big Little Lies was how it let us into the most intimate moments of many of its core characters. From their most vulnerable moments to their most private conversations, we learned a great deal about Madeline, Celeste, Jane, and even, to some extent, Renata.
But there were also quite a few characters who are, in some sense, still a mystery. Bonnie, for example, played such a pivotal role in the series’ biggest moments, but we still don’t know all that much about her. Much of the post-finale analysis has focused on how little Bonnie was developed in comparison to the other leads. And that’s a valid criticism of the series, which did a phenomenal job in tracking the other four women’s story arcs.
In Moriarty’s novel, Bonnie’s backstory was built out a bit more, which helped readers understand her actions. A second season of BLL would give a chance to learn more about what drove Bonnie. How did she meet Nathan? Why is she, someone who is seemingly so free-spirited and kind, married to him? And what drove her in those crucial moments outside the fundraiser?
3. Give us a chance to get to know some of the supporting characters
The five main characters in Big Little Lies had the lion’s share of screen time in the miniseries. And deservedly so — their stories were so rich that it still didn’t feel like we got enough time with them when it was all said and done. Still, part of what made the series so fascinating was the background characters. Many of them acted as a Greek chorus of sorts, offering their insights into the main characters’ motivations. And in many cases, they offered some of the most entertaining moments in BLL‘s run.
Then, there were the tertiary characters — like Tom, the coffee shop owner, and Joseph’s understandably suspicious wife, Tori. Virtually any of the supporting players in Big Little Lies would likely be fascinating. And a second season would give us a chance to get to know them.
4. Keep the focus on great female-focused stories
Much of the praise that’s been heaped on Big Little Lies surrounds the way it unapologetically portrayed the complex women at the center of its plot. In seven episodes, it managed to delve into the myriad aspects of being a wife, a professional, a friend, a mother, and a woman. BLL is hardly the first series to truly focus on these complicated experiences, but it did serve as a refreshing reminder of how gripping these stories can be when they’re told right.
Though Big Little Lies had plenty of salacious moments, it also dealt with essential themes: domestic abuse, rape, and bullying. And it doesn’t treat them as hot-topic subplots, but rather deeply ingrained, painful pieces of these women’s lives. A second season would further validate the importance of telling these kinds of female-focused stories, and how emotionally resonant and unforgettable they can be.
5. Take more time to deal with the series’ darkest themes
Celeste’s journey in Big Little Lies was crucial to the series’ success. She started as a victim of domestic abuse, struggling with the shame and fear that came with the secret life she was leading. By the end, she was in crisis, trying desperately to get her life back before it’s too late.
It’s a dark story, and one that is all too familiar for too many women around the world. The nature of the way BLL concluded didn’t give us a chance to see what her post-Perry life looked like. Celeste’s therapist told her, as she was planning to leave her husband, that she, too, was ill. We know that she was in some sense liberated by his death. But we have no idea how she might start the healing process. The same could be true for Jane, who only learned that Perry was her rapist moments before his death.
We watched these women go through hell in Big Little Lies. A second season could offer a unique opportunity to truly explore what their lives could look like as they attempt to rebuild them.
6. Keep an eye on the kids
The children of Otter Bay Elementary were a big focal point for the parents in Big Little Lies. And over seven episodes, we got to know them pretty well. Ziggy’s somber curiosities and his flair for music, Chloe’s older-than-her-years attitude and astoundingly fantastic taste in music, and Amabella’s reluctant approach to opening herself up to those around her were all compelling subplots. So, too, was the twins’ latent aggressive tendencies and how these may have mirrored their dad’s.
Throughout BLL‘s run, we became invested in the kids’ well-being. But the finale didn’t do much to show us how they might react to the changes in their lives following Perry’s death. A second season wouldn’t just give fans closure, it would offer a chance to see how their relationships with each other grow and change, too.
7. The actors are on board
Some Big Little Lies fans are staunch in their belief that a second season would only muddy the series’ spectacular limited run. That’s a valid concern — after all, plenty of TV shows have suffered mightily from a second season slump (we’re looking at you, True Detective).
But don’t count the series’ stars among the naysayers. Three of the five leads — Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Laura Dern — have already expressed interest in returning for a potential Season 2. Kidman said in a recent interview that the idea of playing Celeste once more was a “beautiful prospect.” Dern, too, expressed excitement over the idea, telling Vanity Fair that the cast had the “time of [their] lives” filming Season 1. And Witherspoon, who also served as executive producer on Big Little Lies, has indicated that she’s already had conversations with the series’ major players about the potential to bring it back.
8. The author is open to exploring more
Without Moriarty, Big Little Lies wouldn’t even exist. So she’s an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to whether or not the series would be coming back. In a recent interview with ELLE Magazine, Moriarty made it clear that she was impressed with HBO’s adaptation of BLL. And she said she wouldn’t necessarily say no to a chance at revisiting the story and characters.
While she’s never written a sequel to any of her books, she says, “I’m having fun thinking broadly about ideas for how the storyline could possibly continue.” So it should be of some comfort to fans to know that if HBO does pursue a second season, the author herself could be on board.
9. Keep momentum going for HBO
There’s no disputing that HBO is at the forefront of creating truly great television. But in recent years, they’ve had some trouble sustaining their reputation for quality, thanks to a few high profile misfires. True Detective’s second season was a complete bust, and their recent attempt at a glossy period drama, Vinyl, was widely viewed as a serious disappointment.
That’s not to say that things have been all bad for HBO. They’ve had critical hits with the documentary series The Jinx and the crime drama, The Night Of, but Big Little Lies proved once again that the network has a good eye for creating cutting edge, compelling original dramas. It’s not a guarantee that they could pull off a solid Season 2 with BLL, but it would show once again that HBO is capable of sustaining that quality. And that will be especially important once fan-favorites like Game of Thrones and Girls are long gone.
10. Many fans are begging for more
Sometimes, great TV shows fail to find a following right away. That’s a loss for everyone involved — both the creators of the series and the potential fans that don’t find a show until it pops up on Netflix years after it was canceled. Luckily, that wasn’t the case with Big Little Lies. As a result, it has a passionate fan base that’s spent the last few weeks discussing and dissecting every last second of the series.
Big Little Lies’ success came as a bit of a surprise to critics and fans. It was initially viewed as a puff piece, but ended up becoming one of the most exciting dramas on TV this year. That fact could help the creators make a case for a Season 2. Now that BLL has a built-in set of fans who would be willing to tune in for more, it would be almost silly to not even consider keeping fans engaged for another slate of episodes.
Follow Katherine Webb on Twitter @prufrox.
Check out Entertainment Cheat Sheet on Facebook!