Big Little Lies (TV Series 2017–2019)

TVSeries


Big Little Lies (TV Series 2017–2019)

When Madeline and Celeste take new-in-town single mom Jane under their wing, none of them realize how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all. Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.
USA
IMDb   8.5 /10
Metacritic   78 %
TheMovieDb    7.9 /10
RottenTomatoes  89 %
FilmAffinity   7.7 /10
Creators
Creator David E. Kelley
Information
Release Date2017-02-19
Runtime1h 0mins
GenreCrime, Drama, Mystery
Content RatingTV-MA (TV-MA)
AwardsTop Rated TV #236 | Won 4 Golden Globes. Another 51 wins & 94 nominations.
CompanyHome Box Office (HBO), David E. Kelley Productions, Pacific Standard
CountryUSA
LanguageEnglish
Madeline Martha Mackenzie 14 episodes, 2017-2019
Celeste Wright 14 episodes, 2017-2019
Jane Chapman 14 episodes, 2017-2019
Bonnie Carlson 14 episodes, 2017-2019
Ed Mackenzie 14 episodes, 2017-2019
Renata Klein 14 episodes, 2017-2019
Nathan Carlson 14 episodes, 2017-2019
Perry Wright 14 episodes, 2017-2019
Gordon Klein 14 episodes, 2017-2019
Ziggy Chapman 14 episodes, 2017-2019
Chloe Mackenzie 14 episodes, 2017-2019
Abigail Carlson 14 episodes, 2017-2019
Josh Wright 14 episodes, 2017-2019
Max Wright 14 episodes, 2017-2019
Skye Carlson 14 episodes, 2017-2019
Amabella Klein 12 episodes, 2017-2019
Oren Berg 11 episodes, 2017-2019
Detective Adrienne Quinlan 11 episodes, 2017-2019
Harper Stimson 10 episodes, 2017-2019
Principal Warren Nippal 9 episodes, 2017-2019
Melissa 9 episodes, 2017-2019
Dr. Amanda Reisman 9 episodes, 2017-2019
Joseph Bachman 11 episodes, 2017-2019
Stu 8 episodes, 2017-2019
Juliette 8 episodes, 2017-2019
Mary Louise Wright 7 episodes, 2019
Corey Brockfield 7 episodes, 2019
Tori Bachman 7 episodes, 2017-2019
Samantha 7 episodes, 2017
Bernard 7 episodes, 2017
Matt 7 episodes, 2017-2019
Thea Cunningham 6 episodes, 2017
Gabrielle 6 episodes, 2017
Jackie 6 episodes, 2017
Tom 6 episodes, 2017
Elizabeth Howard 6 episodes, 2019
Emily Barnes 6 episodes, 2017
Young Elizabeth 6 episodes, 2019
Martin Howard 5 episodes, 2019
Brent 5 episodes, 2017
Kelly 5 episodes, 2017
Ira Farber 4 episodes, 2019
Young Bonnie 4 episodes, 2019
Detective Walt Gibson 6 episodes, 2017-2019

Big Little Lies (TV series)

Big Little Lies is an American drama television series based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty. Created and written by David E. Kelley, it premiered on HBO on February 19, 2017, and concluded on June 9, 2019, encompassing 14 episodes and two seasons. Originally billed as miniseries, the series had its first seven episodes directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, while the duty was handled by Andrea Arnold in the remaining ones.

Big Little Lies stars Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, and Zoë Kravitz as five women in Monterey, California, who become embroiled in a murder investigation. Alexander Skarsgård, Adam Scott, James Tupper, Jeffrey Nordling also feature in supporting roles. For the second season, Meryl Streep joined the main cast whilst Kathryn Newton and Iain Armitage were upgraded following their appearances in recurring capacities.

The series has received critical acclaim, particularly for its writing, directing, acting, cinematography, and soundtrack. Its first season received 16 Primetime Emmy Award nominations and won eight, including Outstanding Limited Series, a directing award for Vallée, and acting awards for Kidman, Skarsgård, and Dern. The trio also won Golden Globe Awards in addition to a Best Miniseries or Television Film win for the series. Kidman and Skarsgård also received Screen Actors Guild Awards for their performances.


Cast and characters

Main

  • Reese Witherspoon as Madeline Martha Mackenzie
  • Nicole Kidman as Celeste Wright
  • Shailene Woodley as Jane Chapman
  • Alexander Skarsgård as Perry Wright, Celeste's husband
  • Adam Scott as Ed Mackenzie, Madeline's husband
  • Zoë Kravitz as Bonnie Carlson, Nathan's wife
  • James Tupper as Nathan Carlson, Madeline's ex-husband and Bonnie's husband
  • Jeffrey Nordling as Gordon Klein, Renata's husband
  • Laura Dern as Renata Klein
  • Kathryn Newton as Abigail Carlson, Madeline and Nathan's daughter (season 2, recurring season 1)
  • Iain Armitage as Ziggy Chapman, Jane's son (season 2, recurring season 1)
  • Meryl Streep as Mary Louise Wright, Perry's mother (season 2)

Recurring

  • Darby Camp as Chloe Adaline Mackenzie, Madeline and Ed's daughter
  • Cameron Crovetti as Josh Wright, Celeste and Perry's son
  • Nicholas Crovetti as Max Wright, Celeste and Perry's son
  • Chloe Coleman as Skye Carlson, Bonnie and Nathan's daughter
  • Ivy George as Amabella Klein, Renata and Gordon's daughter
  • Merrin Dungey as Detective Adrienne Quinlan
  • Robin Weigert as Dr. Amanda Reisman, Perry and Celeste's therapist
  • P. J. Byrne as Warren Nippal, the principal of Otter Bay Elementary
  • Santiago Cabrera as Joseph Bachman, a theater director
  • Sarah Sokolovic as Tori Bachman, Joseph's wife
  • Kelen Coleman as Harper Stimson
  • Larry Sullivan as Oren
  • Gia Carides as Melissa
  • Larry Bates as Stu
  • Sarah Baker as Thea Cunningham (season 1)
  • Kathreen Khavari as Samantha (season 1)
  • Sarah Burns as Gabrielle (season 1)
  • Hong Chau as Jackie (season 1)
  • David Monahan as Bernard (season 1)
  • Molly Hagan as Dr. Moriarty, Ziggy's child psychologist (season 1)
  • Virginia Kull as Ms. Barnes, the children's elementary-school teacher (season 1)
  • Joseph Cross as Tom, Madeline and Celeste's favorite café owner (season 1)
  • Douglas Smith as Corey Brockfield, Jane's love interest and co-worker at Monterey Bay Aquarium (season 2)
  • Mo McRae as Michael Perkins, a new second-grade teacher at Otter Bay Elementary (season 2)
  • Crystal Fox as Elizabeth Howard, Bonnie's mother (season 2)
  • Martin Donovan as Martin Howard, Bonnie's father (season 2)
  • Poorna Jagannathan as Katie Richmond, Celeste's lawyer (season 2)
  • Denis O'Hare as Ira Farber, Mary Louise's lawyer (season 2)
  • Becky Ann Baker as Marylin Cipriani, the judge in Celeste and Mary Louise's custody case (season 2)

Episodes

Overview of Big Little Lies
SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
17February 19, 2017April 2, 2017
27June 9, 2019July 21, 2019

Season 1 (2017)

Big Little Lies season 1 episodes
No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
(millions)
11"Somebody's Dead"Jean-Marc ValléeDavid E. KelleyFebruary 19, 20171.13
At a public school in Monterey, California, a murder suddenly occurs on trivia night, but neither the victim nor the murderer is revealed. Backtracking to the first day of school, the families of five first-graders are introduced. Madeline Martha Mackenzie is a strong-willed, wealthy, and feared alpha female in town with a first-grade daughter and teenaged daughter from an earlier marriage. Secrets are revealed, including that Madeline is struggling to cope with her ex-husband Nathan's marriage to a yoga instructor named Bonnie, and also trying to build a relationship with her older daughter. Her friend, Celeste Wright, is a retired lawyer and the mother of twin sons, who are also beginning at the same school. New to town is Jane Chapman, a young single mother raising her son, Ziggy. Madeline and Celeste befriend Jane. The equally wealthy and feared Renata Klein's daughter Amabella accuses Ziggy of attempting to choke her, which he denies. Celeste appears to have a very happy life with her husband Perry, but he starts to show signs of being violent. Jane's motives for moving to Monterey are unknown.
22"Serious Mothering"Jean-Marc ValléeDavid E. KelleyFebruary 26, 20170.56
Perry lashes out at Celeste when he discovers he missed orientation at the school, but she lets it slide. Jane looks for work with little success, and Madeline goes on the warpath against Renata when Renata did not invite Ziggy to Amabella's birthday party. Ed questions Madeline's devotion to him when she continues to complain about seeing Nathan with Bonnie all the time, and Madeline is further disturbed when Bonnie takes Abigail, Madeline's oldest daughter, to Planned Parenthood. Nathan tries to come to a peaceful resolution with Ed about their parenting of Abigail, but Ed senses Nathan is trying to intimidate him, and stands firm. Madeline's younger daughter, Chloe, and Bonnie's daughter, Skye, attempt to mend the wounds between Ziggy and Amabella, but it leads to an incident of unwanted affection, and the parents of the four children are called into the principal's office, leading Jane to have a flashback of an unwanted episode.
33"Living the Dream"Jean-Marc ValléeDavid E. KelleyMarch 5, 20171.04
Perry chokes Celeste when he believes she deliberately left him out of a family gathering, after which Celeste threatens to leave him. Renata's party for Amabella is a huge success, but she is ultimately upset when Madeline invited Amabella's closest friends and Ziggy to Disney on Ice on the same day. At therapy, Perry claims his outbursts are out of fear that Celeste does not love him, which Celeste attempts to deny. When Abigail's academic performance begins to decline, her guidance counselor suggests it is being caused by stress at home, so she decides to live with Nathan, much to Madeline's dismay. Jane gets Ziggy involved with more extracurricular activities and helps him construct a family tree for school with Madeline's help. However, Jane opposes Ziggy’s insistence upon putting his father's name on the tree, and she ultimately confides to Madeline that Ziggy was the result of rape by a man named Saxon Banks, whom she has not seen since.
44"Push Comes to Shove"Jean-Marc ValléeDavid E. KelleyMarch 12, 20171.04
Abigail moves in with Nathan and Bonnie. Celeste legally represents Joseph and Madeline in a meeting with the mayor regarding the controversial Avenue Q, and successfully persuades the Mayor to allow the play to proceed. In the process, Celeste realizes her desire to return to work. She asks her therapist how to best convince Perry, but Dr. Reisman is more concerned with why she is afraid to do so. At home, Perry tells Celeste not to attend any future meetings. When she refuses, he grabs her by the throat, but quickly relinquishes when one of their boys enters the room. Joseph and Madeline kiss, and they are revealed to have had an affair a year ago. Madeline locates a man online whom she believes to be Saxon Banks. She informs Jane and Celeste, and they plan to travel to San Luis Obispo to confront him. Ms. Barnes, the teacher, suspects Amabella is still being bullied. Despite Amabella's assertions that Ziggy and she are friends, Ms. Barnes requests Jane to have Ziggy psychologically evaluated, but the psychologist believes that Ziggy is innocent and that he may actually be being bullied himself.
55"Once Bitten"Jean-Marc ValléeDavid E. KelleyMarch 19, 20171.17
Nathan spots Jane at the gun range and tells Madeline. Although Jane reassures Madeline that she carries a gun solely for its psychological benefits, Madeline begins to regret tracking down Saxon Baker, the man whom she believes to be Saxon Banks. Renata discovers a bite mark on Amabella's arm, but Amabella refuses to disclose who bit her. Renata assumes it is Ziggy, and a meeting is held between Jane and the school principal. Joseph is convinced Madeline still has feelings for him, but she maintains that their affair is over. While they argue, a teenaged distracted driver crashes into their car. Madeline is uninjured, while Joseph is hospitalized. The incident raises suspicion from Ed and Joseph's wife, Tori. Perry is angered when Celeste does not ask the twins to tidy their toys. A confrontation triggers further violence from Perry, followed by aggressive sex. Later, Dr. Reisman confronts Celeste with the belief that she is being abused; Celeste eventually reveals that she has previously feared for her life and had considered leaving Perry. Dr. Reisman urges her to do so. Jane secretly travels to San Luis Obispo to confront Saxon Baker, taking her gun with her.
66"Burning Love"Jean-Marc ValléeDavid E. KelleyMarch 26, 20171.39
Jane reveals to Madeline that she went to confront Saxon Baker, who turned out to be the wrong man. Madeline attempts to convince Jane to give up the search. Ms. Barnes relays to Jane that a petition has begun to have Ziggy suspended. Although Renata did not start it, Jane confronts her and accidentally gouges her eye. She later apologizes, realizing that they both want to protect their children. Renata forgives Jane and reveals her plan to schedule play dates with each of Amabella's classmates to discover who is hurting her. Celeste's therapist advises her to prepare to leave Perry by renting an apartment and disclosing the abuse to friends. Later, Perry tries to initiate sex with Celeste, who defensively fractures his penis with a tennis racket. Returning from the hospital, Perry tells Celeste that she is "lucky" that he did not kill her. The following day, she begins looking for an apartment. At the opening night of Avenue Q, Tori confronts Madeline about having an affair with Joseph. At home, Madeline and Ed have another argument about her lack of passion toward him, which culminates in her alluding to having made a "terrible mistake". Bonnie tells Nathan that Abigail's "secret project" is auctioning her virginity to raise money for Amnesty International. At their couples dinner, the two reluctantly tell Madeline and Ed. Madeline furiously confronts Abigail, disclosing her affair in the process.
77"You Get What You Need"Jean-Marc ValléeDavid E. KelleyApril 2, 20171.86
Following another beating, Celeste decides to leave Perry the day after trivia night. Ziggy confesses to Jane that Max, one of Celeste's sons, was who choked Amabella. Madeline talks to Joseph about his wife knowing about their affair, and Jane woefully tells Celeste that her son is the bully. Celeste realizes that Max was emulating Perry's abuse, having overheard it while he was playing a video game. When preparing to leave for trivia night, Perry sees a text message on Celeste's phone from the landlady of her new apartment. He confronts her on the way to the party, but is interrupted by Renata. At the party, Celeste tells Renata that Max is the bully and Amabella framed Ziggy out of fear of Max. Meanwhile, a drunk Madeline runs away during Ed's singing performance after realizing just how much he loves her and how little she gives him in return. Jane goes after her and finds her atop stairs at the back of the venue. Madeline tells Jane that she cheated on Ed. Renata also goes after them and apologizes to Jane for having blamed Ziggy. Celeste joins the women, followed by Perry. Bonnie follows them and watches the group from afar. Jane sees Perry and realizes that he is Saxon Banks. Perry pleads with Celeste to come back home with him, and when she declines, he viciously attacks her. The group unsuccessfully fights Perry off until Bonnie rushes in and pushes him down the stairs, killing him. In police interviews, the women confirm that a fight with Perry happened, but claim he fell accidentally. Later, the five women and their children lounge at the beach, where Detective Quinlan continues to watch them.

Season 2 (2019)

Big Little Lies season 2 episodes
No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
(millions)
81"What Have They Done?"Andrea ArnoldTeleplay by : David E. Kelley
Story by : David E. Kelley and Liane Moriarty
June 9, 20191.42
In the aftermath of Perry's death, Celeste, Madeline, Jane, and Renata try to move on with their lives, while Bonnie considers turning herself in to the police. It is the first day of second grade for the children, and the five women reunite. Perry's mother, Mary Louise, who is staying with Celeste, begins asking questions about her son's death, and clashes with Madeline. Nathan worries about how distant Bonnie has been with him, and asks Ed for help. Abigail decides she will not go to college, to Madeline's disapproval. At the beach, Corey, a co-worker of Jane's, asks her if she is one of the "Monterey Five". Jane tells the other women (apart from Bonnie) about this, and Renata assures them that the police have nothing. Celeste has nightmares about Perry and Mary Louise questions her about them.
92"Tell-Tale Hearts"Andrea ArnoldTeleplay by : David E. Kelley
Story by : David E. Kelley and Liane Moriarty
June 16, 20191.47
Celeste crashes her car while on Ambien, with no recollections of what happened. A worried Nathan calls Bonnie's parents to town. Gordon is arrested for insider trading and stock fraud by the FBI. Renata is dumbfounded that he is playing with an expensive train set while he has lost all of their money. Mary Louise finds out that Perry has another son from Max and Josh. She refuses to believe that Perry raped Jane by victim blaming her. Madeline grounds Chloe after finding out that she told Max, Josh, and Ziggy that the three boys share the same father. Jane reluctantly tells Ziggy about how he is the product of a rape. Ed discovers Madeline's infidelity.
103"The End of the World"Andrea ArnoldTeleplay by : David E. Kelley
Story by : David E. Kelley and Liane Moriarty
June 23, 20191.62
Bonnie clashes with her mother, and remembers traumatic incidents from her childhood. Amabella has an anxiety attack during a lesson about climate change. Renata hires a child psychologist and finds out Amabella is worried about the planet dying, her father going to jail, and Renata's mental state. Renata blames Gordon for it and confronts Principal Nippal and Mr. Perkins about teaching second graders about climate change. Mary Louise approaches Jane at work and requests for a paternity test be done, which Jane refuses. Mary Louise then lurks in the parking lot of Jane's apartment to take a look at Ziggy. She finds similarities between Ziggy and Perry's twin brother, who died as a child, but refuses to accept the fact that Perry was abusive and a rapist. To save their marriage, Madeline and Ed visit Celeste's therapist. During a parents meeting at Otter Bay Elementary, Madeline breaks down while speaking. Jane and Corey go on a date, but she is unable to be intimate with him.
114"She Knows"Andrea ArnoldTeleplay by : David E. Kelley
Story by : David E. Kelley and Liane Moriarty
June 30, 20191.61
During a pumpkin-carving party at Madeline's house, Mary Louise turns up uninvited. Mary Louise gets an apartment in the same building as Jane, which Celeste deems overstepping her boundaries. When Mary Louise subtly insinuates that Perry was womanizing to seek refuge from Celeste, Celeste slaps her. The next day, over coffee with Celeste, Mary Louise admits her husband left her after the death of Perry's brother and that she deserved the blame. Mary Louise approaches lawyer Ira Farber to gain custody of her grandchildren, citing negligence by Celeste. Madeline and Ed's marriage continues to deteriorate. Renata and Gordon have a disastrous bankruptcy hearing when she refuses to co-operate. At Amabella's birthday party, Jane tells Corey about her rape, and Bonnie's mother has a stroke after seeing a vision of Bonnie drowning.
125"Kill Me"Andrea ArnoldTeleplay by : David E. Kelley
Story by : David E. Kelley and Liane Moriarty
July 7, 20191.77
Celeste refuses a settlement offer from Mary Louise's lawyer for joint custody of the boys, and the case goes to trial. Renata tries to get Mary Louise to drop the case, who in turn taunts her for being a working mother. Ziggy is bullied by a boy, who calls him a mistake and that his father is a rapist; Max and Josh defend him and the three of them beat up the bully, leading to their suspension. Jane tries to be intimate with Corey, but the trauma causes her to break down. Celeste, Jane, Corey, and the three boys go on a kayak trip during their suspension, while Renata and Amabella make use of this opportunity to bond as mother and daughter at the pool. Ed and Madeline go to couples therapy, where Madeline promises that she will not make the same mistakes again. Later, Tori hits on Ed at a bar, with Joseph staring at them from a nearby table. At the hospital, Bonnie's mother asks her to pull the plug. A distraught Bonnie once again considers turning herself in to the police, but on her way to a police station, she spots Corey leaving it.
136"The Bad Mother"Andrea ArnoldTeleplay by : David E. Kelley
Story by : David E. Kelley and Liane Moriarty
July 14, 20191.63
Celeste and Mary Louise go to trial to battle for the custody of Max and Josh. Celeste is completely shocked and hurt when Mary Louise's lawyer asks her a wide array of personal questions. Celeste explains that she is coping with grief and intends to improve herself and get better. Just before the judge announces the verdict, Celeste interrupts to say that Mary Louise never took the stand and that is not fair. Celeste herself wants to question Mary Louise, and the judge agrees. Ed meets with Tori, who comes on to him and tells him that she has fantasized about him. Madeline approaches Ed again, and says that she wants to try to work it out. Jane questions Corey about his presence at the police station, and he tells her that he was just called in for questioning by the detective, who asked him if Jane has ever talked with him about the night Perry died. Corey claims that he told the detective nothing. Though mildly reassured, Jane stops answering his calls and texts because she says she is not ready for something new just yet. Bonnie confesses everything (including pushing Perry and her resentment towards her mother) to her mom, while she is in a coma, as she thinks her mother is going to die soon and that this may be her last chance to say anything.
147"I Want to Know"Andrea ArnoldTeleplay by : David E. Kelley
Story by : David E. Kelley and Liane Moriarty
July 21, 20191.98
Mary Louise is questioned in court by Celeste, where Mary Louise is asked about Perry's brother's death and how he coped and how she treated him. Later, Celeste shows a video that her son took of Perry physically abusing her, and claims that Mary Louise would raise her own sons to be similar abusers. Celeste ends up with full custody, and Mary Louise leaves Monterey Bay. Bonnie tells her mother she loves her just before she dies, and tells Nathan she does not love him. Ed and Madeline renew their vows. Jane and Corey progress in their relationship with Ziggy's approval. Gordon arranges to keep his train set despite the repossession of their other property, to the disapproval of Renata, who furiously destroys it and leaves him. Finally, Bonnie texts the rest of the Monterey Five that she is going to confess, in response to which all four women accompany her to the police station.

Production

Development

Actresses and producers Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon were announced to have optioned the screen rights to Liane Moriarty's novel Big Little Lies on August 6, 2014, less than a month after the book's publication. The two of them were expected to develop the project as a film in which they would star and act as executive producers, sharing the latter duty with Bruna Papandrea and Per Saari; Moriarty was also expected to produce. In November of that year, the actresses announced the format's shift into that of a limited-run television series written by David E. Kelley. In May 2015, HBO gave the series a production order and Kelley was announced to join the team of executive producers. That October, Jean-Marc Vallée was reportedly in talks with the project's team to handle directing of the first episode and potentially others. His involvement with all seven episodes was confirmed almost two months later. The series' release date of February 19, 2017, was unveiled in November 2016.

Originally conceived and billed as a miniseries, a potential new season of Big Little Lies was discussed by the series' audience and the media. In July 2017, two weeks after the project and its cast and crew received several nominations for the 69th ceremony of the Primetime Emmy Awards, Witherspoon stated: "As of right now, I think it's pretty whole. I feel really good about where it is, and if this is all it ever was, it's a beautiful thing we all accomplished together". However, in the wake of the nominations, HBO revealed that a second season was possible, and that Moriarty had been asked to write a story for it. During a April 2017 interview, Vallée came out strongly against the idea of producing a second season: "There's no reason to make a season two. That was meant to be a one-time deal, and it's finishing in a way where it's for the audience to imagine what can happen. If we do a season two, we'll break that beautiful thing and spoil it." When he and the series won several accolades at the 69th ceremony of the Primetime Emmy Awards, the director chagned his mind: "It'd be great to reunite the team and to do it. Are we going to be able to do it, altogether? I wish."

In December 2017, HBO officially renewed the series for a seven-episode second season to be written by Kelley, directed by Andrea Arnold, based on a new novella by Moriarty, and with Vallée remaining an executive producer. The announcement of the second season, and specifically its timing, enraged producers of rival shows that were competing for award nominations in the limited series categories, particularly since it was made after voting for the Critics' Choice Television Award and Golden Globe Award were over. Due to this, the Producers Guild of America restarted voting for the 2018 ceremony of their award show, reclassifying the show from a limited series to a drama series. The second season premiered on June 9, 2019.

In July 2019, it was reported by IndieWire that director Andrea Arnold lost creative control after filming had completed, and it was given to season 1 director Jean-Marc Vallée in an attempt to unify the style between the seasons. Arnold was initially promised by HBO that the show would be done in her vision, including post-production, and was unaware that Vallée would edit the footage she had shot. Once Vallée completed his work on Sharp Objects, he took over the editing process along with his own editorial team in Montreal. HBO also ordered 17 more days of additional photography, to be filmed by Arnold, but overseen by Vallée. Significant reworking of the episodes also took place, where episodes were shortened. In response, HBO programming president Casey Bloys stated, "There's a lot of misinformation around that subject" and "the director typically does not have final creative control". Bloys clarified that Vallée came back to "hone the episodes" after being asked by the entire producing team, including Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, and that they were clear with Arnold about how the process would work from the start.

Casting

Alongside the initial announcement of the production's development, Kidman and Witherspoon were reported to also star in the adaptation. In December 2015, Shailene Woodley, Adam Scott, Laura Dern, and Zoë Kravitz were announced to have been cast in lead roles, with Kathryn Newton in a recurring one. The following month, Alexander Skarsgård, James Tupper, and Jeffrey Nordling joined the starring cast, whilst Santiago Cabrera, P. J. Byrne, Kelen Coleman, Sarah Burns, Darby Camp, Cameron and Nicholas Crovetti, Ivy George, Chloe Coleman, Virginia Kull, Sarah Baker, Kathreen Khavari, Larry Bates, Hong Chau, Gia Carides, Merrin Dungey, Larry Sullivan, David Monahan, and Iain Armitage landed supporting roles. The latter one was cast in the role of Woodley's character's son.

Following the confirmation of a sophomore season, Meryl Streep was announced in January 2018 to have joined the starring cast in the role of Skarsgård's character's mother. In February, Woodley, Dern, Kravitz, Scott, Tupper, Nordling and Armitage were confirmed to be returning. That March, Douglas Smith was cast in a recurring role. In April, it was reported that Crystal Fox joined the main cast alongside returners Newton and Sokolovic, while Mo McRae and Martin Donovan joined the recurring cast alongside returners Weigert and Dungey. However, only Newton received main billing; Fox and Sokolovic's appearances were credited as recurring. Byrne was announced alongside newcomer Poorna Jagannathan in May, followed by Denis O'Hare in June.

Filming

For the first season, Vallée shot the series with an Arri Alexa digital camera and preferred using natural lighting and handheld shooting style to allow actors to move freely around the set. Several scenes were filmed on location in the Monterey Peninsula, Big Sur, Pacific Grove, and Carmel Highlands.

Soundtrack

ABKCO Records released soundtracks for the first and second seasons on March 31, 2017, and July 19, 2019, respectively.


Release

Broadcast

On February 7, 2017, the series held its official premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Internationally, the series premiered on February 20, 2017, in Australia on Showcase, and on March 13, 2017, in the United Kingdom and Ireland on Sky Atlantic.

Marketing

On October 16, 2016, HBO released the first teaser trailer for the series. On December 5, 2016, HBO released a full length trailer for the series.

Home media

The first season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 1, 2017. The second season was released on January 7, 2020, on DVD and manufacture-on-demand Blu-ray by Warner Home Entertainment and Warner Archive Collection respectively.


Reception

Critical response

The first season of Big Little Lies was met with a positive response from critics. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the first season holds a 93% "certified fresh" rating with an average rating of 8.01 out of 10 based on 125 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Bitingly funny and highly addictive, Big Little Lies is a twisty, thrilling, enlightening ride led by a first-rate cast." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the first season a score of 75 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Time magazine listed Big Little Lies as one of its top ten television shows of 2017.

The second season has received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season holds an 85% "certified fresh" rating with an average rating of 7.7 out of 10 based on 102 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Gorgeous and gripping, Big Little Lies' second season doubles down on the dark humor and gives its impressive cast even more juicy drama to chew on – especially an excellent Meryl Streep." On Metacritic, the season has a score of 82 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Ben Travers of IndieWire wrote a positive review giving it a "B+" grade, concluding that Season 2 is a "wholly different beast" and "doesn’t feel like a necessary addition so much as an enjoyable epilogue", yet it is "still very, very good".

Ratings

Season 1

Viewership and ratings per episode of Big Little Lies
No.TitleAir dateRating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1"Somebody's Dead"February 19, 20170.31.130.3N/A0.6N/A
2"Serious Mothering"February 26, 20170.20.560.30.840.51.39
3"Living the Dream"March 5, 20170.41.04N/AN/AN/AN/A
4"Push Comes to Shove"March 12, 20170.41.04N/AN/AN/AN/A
5"Once Bitten"March 19, 20170.41.17N/AN/AN/AN/A
6"Burning Love"March 26, 20170.51.390.3N/A0.8N/A
7"You Get What You Need"April 2, 20170.71.860.30.931.02.79

Season 2

Viewership and ratings per episode of Big Little Lies
No.TitleAir dateRating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1"What Have They Done?"June 9, 20190.41.420.31.120.72.54
2"Tell-Tale Hearts"June 16, 20190.51.470.41.340.92.81
3"The End of the World"June 23, 20190.41.620.41.190.82.81
4"She Knows"June 30, 20190.41.610.41.170.82.77
5"Kill Me"July 7, 20190.51.770.41.230.93.00
6"The Bad Mother"July 14, 20190.41.630.41.200.82.84
7"I Want to Know"July 21, 20190.51.980.41.180.93.17

Accolades

Accolades for Big Little Lies
YearAwardCategoryNominee(s)ResultRef.
Season 1
2017American Film Institute AwardsTop 10 TV Programs of the YearBig Little LiesWon
Golden Globe AwardsBest Miniseries or Television FilmBig Little LiesWon
Best Actress – Miniseries or Television FilmNicole KidmanWon
Reese WitherspoonNominated
Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television FilmAlexander SkarsgårdWon
Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television FilmLaura DernWon
Shailene WoodleyNominated
Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Limited SeriesDavid E. Kelley, Jean-Marc Vallée, Reese Witherspoon, Bruna Papandrea, Nicole Kidman, Per Saari, Gregg Fienberg, Nathan Ross and Barbara A. HallWon
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic SpecialJean-Marc ValléeWon
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or MovieNicole KidmanWon
Reese WitherspoonNominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or MovieAlexander SkarsgårdWon
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or MovieLaura DernWon
Shailene WoodleyNominated
Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic SpecialDavid E. KelleyNominated
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy AwardsOutstanding Casting for a Limited Series, Movie or SpecialDavid RubinWon
Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Series or MovieYves BélangerNominated
Outstanding Contemporary Costumes for a Series, Limited Series or MovieAlix Friedberg, Risa Garcia and Patricia McLaughlinWon
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Limited Series or MovieMichelle Ceglia, Nickole C. Jones, Lona Vigi, Frances Mathias and Jocelyn MulhernNominated
Outstanding Makeup for a Limited Series or Movie (Non-Prosthetic)Steve Artmont, Nicole Artmont, Angela Levin, Molly R Stern and Claudia HumburgNominated
Outstanding Music SupervisionSusan JacobsWon
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited Series or MovieVeronique Barbe, David Berman, Justin LaChance, Maxime Lahaie, Sylvain Lebel and Jim VegaNominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Limited Series or MovieGavin Fernandes, Louis Gignac and Brendan BeebeNominated
TCA AwardsProgram of the YearBig Little LiesNominated
Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and SpecialsBig Little LiesWon
Individual Achievement in DramaNicole KidmanNominated
2018ACE Eddie AwardsBest Edited Drama Series for Non-Commercial TelevisionDavid BermanNominated
Art Directors Guild AwardsTelevision Movie or Limited SeriesJohn Paino (for "Somebody's Dead", "Living the Dream", "You Get What You Need")Nominated
British Academy Television AwardsBest International ProgrammeBig Little LiesNominated
Cinema Audio Society AwardsOutstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Television Movie or Mini-SeriesBrendan Beebe, Gavin Fernandes and Louis Gignac (for "You Get What You Need")Nominated
Costume Designers Guild AwardsExcellence in Contemporary Television SeriesAlix FriedbergNominated
Critics' Choice Television AwardsBest Limited SeriesBig Little LiesWon
Best Actress in a Movie Made for TV or Limited SeriesNicole KidmanWon
Reese WitherspoonNominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Movie Made for TV or Limited SeriesAlexander SkarsgårdWon
Best Supporting Actress in a Movie Made for TV or Limited SeriesLaura DernWon
Location Managers Guild AwardsOutstanding Locations in Contemporary TelevisionGreg AlpertNominated
Producers Guild of America AwardsNorman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, DramaBig Little LiesNominated
Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited SeriesAlexander SkarsgårdWon
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited SeriesLaura DernNominated
Nicole KidmanWon
Reese WitherspoonNominated
Writers Guild of America AwardsLong Form – AdaptedDavid E. KelleyWon
USC Scripter AwardsBest Adapted TV ScreenplayDavid E. Kelley and Liane Moriarty (for "You Get What You Need")Nominated
Season 2
2019Satellite AwardsBest Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or TV FilmMeryl StreepNominated
2020Art Directors Guild AwardsOne-Hour Contemporary Single-Camera SeriesJohn Paino (for "What Have They Done?", "The Bad Mother" & "I Want to Know")Nominated
Black Reel Television AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actress, Drama SeriesZoë KravitzNominated
Costume Designers Guild AwardsExcellence in Contemporary TelevisionAlix Friedberg (for "She Knows")Nominated
Critics' Choice Television AwardsBest Actress in a Drama SeriesNicole KidmanNominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama SeriesLaura DernNominated
Meryl StreepNominated
Golden Globe AwardsBest Television Series – DramaBig Little LiesNominated
Best Actress – Television Series DramaNicole KidmanNominated
Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television FilmMeryl StreepNominated
Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists GuildsBest Television Series, Mini-Series or New Media Series – Best Contemporary Make-UpMichelle Radow and Erin Good-RosenmannWon
Best Television Series, Mini-Series or New Media Series – Contemporary Hair StylingJose Zamora, Lorena Zamora and Lona VigiWon
Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama SeriesLaura Dern (for "Tell-Tale Hearts")Nominated
Meryl Streep (for "I Want to Know")Nominated
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy AwardsOutstanding Casting for a Drama SeriesDavid RubinNominated
Outstanding Contemporary Makeup (Non-Prosthetic)Michelle Radow, Erin Rosenmann, Karen Rentrop, Molly R. Stern, Angela Levin, Simone Almekias-Siegl, Miho Suzuki and Claudia Humburg (for "She Knows")Nominated
Outsanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary Program (One Hour or More)John Paino, Austin Gorg and Amy Wells (for "What Have They Done?", "The Bad Mother", "I Want to Know")Nominated
Producers Guild of America AwardsNorman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, DramaBig Little LiesNominated
Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesIan Armitage, Darby Camp, Cameron Crovetti, Nicholas Crovetti, Laura Dern, Martin Donovan, Merrin Dungey, Crystal Fox, Ivy George, Nicole Kidman, Zoë Kravitz, Kathryn Newton, Jeffrey Nordling, Denis O'Hare, Adam Scott, Alexander Skarsgård, Douglas Smith, Meryl Streep, James Tupper, Robin Weigert, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene WoodleyNominated

Future

HBO president Casey Bloys said a third season of the show was "not realistic" due to scheduling the show's actors, but Bloys mentioned that HBO is more than willing to greenlight a third season if the cast is able to work out their schedules. In October 2020, Nicole Kidman revealed during a press interview for The Undoing that author Liane Moriarty is writing the plot for a potential third season and that the cast is excited to reunite for a third season.