TV Club: Big Little Lies’ production and performances elevate its trashy mystery

Most TV pilots have to do a decent job of setting up the story to draw people in: With its cinematic cast, Big Little Lies doesn’t have this problem, because the HBO audience would probably watch Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon play checkers for seven hours. But Big Little Lies goes a step beyond by casting these very familiar faces in housewife and mother roles, adding glamour to what could be a typical domestic drama, amid an idyllic landscape that the rest of us puny humans can only dream about.

While the novel the series is based on by Australian author Liane Moriarty, was an extremely enjoyable airport read, HBO’s production, written by David E. Kelley and directed by Wild and Dallas Buyers Clubs Jean-Marc Vallée, adds layers of sophistication that the book lacks. The soundtrack, the interwoven flashbacks, the shots of the surging sea—even the …

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