HBO never intended their dark drama Big Little Lies to return for a second season. However, after the show became a runaway hit, they knew they needed to bring it back. Now that Big Little Lies season 2 is here, what do the fans and critics think? Does it hold up or should HBO have stuck to the original plan?
Spoilers for the first season of Big Little Lies lie ahead!
Introducing Meryl Streep
The first season of Big Little Lies debuted in 2017. Adapted from the book of the same name by author Liane Moriarty, it was meant to be a one-off mini-series adaption. As such, HBO went all out casting major stars including Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, and Alexander Skarsgård. However, the show became a surprise hit. 1.13 million watched the first episode and loved it. Critics and fans applauded the acting and writing alike, especially how the show tackled delicate issues like abuse, infidelity, the difficulty of raising children, and more.
By the season one finale nearly 2 million tuned in, and Lies became the runaway television hit of the summer. After it ended, everyone wanted more. Unfortunately, there is no sequel to the book. Still, the demand for season two was so high, HBO signed the showrunners on for another season. Not only that, but they got Moriarty to help continue the story of her characters.
Meanwhile, they added some fresh faces to the cast; most notably, legendary cinema icon Meryl Streep. Big Little Lies season 2 picks up right where we left off, right after the death of Perry, Celeste’s (Nicole Kidman) abusive husband (Alexander Skarsgård). Streep, who plays Perry’s grieving mother, Mary Louise, comes to live with Celeste so she can help her family. However, Mary Louis also wants to find her son’s killer and bring them to justice, which makes the other women’s attempt to lead a quiet life very difficult.
Big Little Lies Season 2: Does It Hold Up?
For those waiting to see if Big Little Lies season 2 works, you can breathe a sigh of relief. The second season isn’t just “as good,” critics are saying it’s even better. The first season received a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, quite the accomplishment. However, season two managed to top it with an astounding 98%! Of course, this could go down as new episodes continue to release, but it seems safe to say that Big Little Lies season 2 is a hit. The “Critics Consensus” for the show is: “Gorgeous and gripping, Big Little Lies‘s 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.”
And that’s the one thing that everyone agrees on: Meryl Streep is perfect. She puts on an incredible show in every single moment. The rest of the cast doesn’t fall short, however. The portrayal of each character is nearly perfect. Even though these women are incredibly wealthy, none of them are happy, a hard line to tow. But the actresses do so perfectly. There are moments the characters are so unlikable, and their actions so impulsive and privileged. Still, you can’t hate them, because a moment later they do some incredible deed as an amazing mother, friend, or colleague. That’s the secret of the show: showing women in their most beautiful and ugliest moments, not shying away from any complicated topic.
So, critics clearly love the show, but what about fans?
Thankfully for HBO, especially after the recent Game of Thrones season, fans love the second season of Big Little Lies. And, just like the critics, they adore Meryl Streep. “And just when you thought #BigLittleLies couldn’t get any better… enter Meryl,” tweeted out one fan during the second season premiere. “Ok, I was on the fence about season 2 but the addition of Meryl is good enough for me,” said another. Many fans are already calling for Emmy nominations for Streep, along with the entire cast.
With a current audience score of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, it seems like Big Little Lies season 2 satisfies everyone. Meanwhile, not only are fans tuning back in with each new episode, the show is gaining new ones! 1.42 million viewers tuned into the second season premiere, besting any first season ratings, outside of the finale. By the next episode, 1.47 million tuned in. Along with Chernobyl, HBO can count Big Little Lies as a home run for 2019.
We certainly can’t wait to see what happens! It’s clear it’s just a matter of time before Mary Louise finds out, which should produce some excellent drama. Still, that isn’t the center of the show. As always, fans and critics alike return to Big Little Lies season 2 for the women’s friendships and relationships.