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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Wait, so how did they make a 2nd season of Big Little Lies?

Illustration for article titled Wait, so how did they make a 2nd season of Big Little Lies?

This post discusses the plot of Big Little Lies.

Big Little Lies was a blockbuster TV event in 2017, and Hollywood tends to want its blockbusters to multiply, which partially explains why new episodes of Big Little Lies will be airing in June 2019. But how did HBO manage to get a second season out of what was billed as a miniseries, one that was based on a novel that doesn’t have a sequel and starred some of the most in-demand actors working today? Well, it certainly helps if one of the most in-demand and most-decorated actors of her generation wants in.

“What was unsaid, un-shown, unknown, was the gravitational pull of the piece,” Meryl Streep said today while promoting Big Little Lies’ second season at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. Streep joins the show as the mother of the abusive Perry Wright, whose murder formed the whodunit (and the “who was it done to?”) of the initial miniseries. Her character was named Mary Louise—Streep’s birth name—in the hopes that the three-time Oscar winner would be interested in the role.

There was minimal talk about what occurs in season two, though a sizzle reel played prior to the panel showed the members of the newly christened “Monterey Five”—Madeline Martha Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon), Celeste Wright (Nicole Kidman), Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley), Bonnie Carlson (Zoë Kravitz), and Renata Klein (Laura Dern)—under the increasing pressure of their shared secret. Whatever happens in these episodes, Witherspoon said it’s all based on a template provided by Big Little Lies author Liane Moriarty.


“We really didn’t close the chapter, it ended on a very open note of what’s going to happen next,” said executive producer David E. Kelley. “We didn’t want to do this if we didn’t think we could clear the very high bar that we’d set.” Kidman added that spending more time with her Big Little Lies co-stars was reason enough to return to Monterey, as was the enthusiastic audience response. “I’d never been in something that reached so far globally,” she said. “It was very much generated by the audience and the desire to see these people again.”

But will they be able to see them again again? “No such plan now,” said Kelley. “We like where our closure is at season two, so that will probably be it.”

But as Kidman reminded him, “That’s what you said last time.”

Managing editor, The A.V. Club

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!

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