By Gen Terblanche30 May 2023
Big Little Lies squad, assemble!
We love a show about the dirty secrets of the filthy rich! Give us everything – the perfect Southern California coastal mansions in Monterey, the lavish interiors and outfits for our mood boards, the murdering, scheming, coverups and brunches. Above all, give us characters with enough leisure time that they can tend to their grudges like little pets, to borrow a phrase from Big Little Lies’ (BLL) queen bee Madeline Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon).
We love a petty queen, and BLL gave us six of them: Madeline, Renata (Laura Dern), Celeste (Nicole Kidman) Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz), Mary Louise (Meryl Streep in season 2), and Jane (Shailene Woodley). The guys weren’t napping either. Alexander Skarsgård’s Perry was so evil that he united an entire community of women against him. And showrunner David E Kelley added his own verbal flair to Liane Moriary’s (BLL’s author) words in a perfect TV adaptation. It’s only right that the BLL team keeps making waves on screen and behind the scenes. Check out six of their new hits on Showmax…
Binge Big Little Lies now on Showmax.
Writer-creator and executive producer David E Kelley adapted Australian novelist Liane Moriarty’s 2014 novel Big Little Lies into an Emmy Award winning series that exposed the web of lies behind the privileged lives of a community of super rich wives and mothers.
David has turned his attention to Israeli crime writer Dror Mishani’s 2011 novel, The Missing File, to create police procedural series The Calling. While there’s murder and mystery a-plenty, it’s really a quieter affair. Enigmatic Detective Avraham “Avi” Avraham (Jeff Wilbusch) of the NYPD brings a different sensibility to crime scenes thanks to his devout Jewish faith. His rookie partner Detective Janine Harris (Juliana Canfield, Jess Jordan in Succession) soon becomes determined to learn to channel his same quiet intuition and respect. But the way that Avi skirts the law at times with unorthodox methods makes him a thorn in the side of his boss, Captain Kathleen Davies (Karen Robinson).
PS: for another look at a faith-guided detective, watch Canadian crime drama series Three Pines.
Madeline and Ed’s (Adam Scott) snarky six-year-old daughter Chloe couldn’t wait to grow up and run her own record label in BLL. Until then, she was determined to tolerate her life of privilege and be first grade queen bee at her posh school, while manipulating her parents to dance to her tune.
In political thriller series Gaslit, Darby plays Marty Mitchell, eleven-year-old daughter of Martha “The Mouth From the South” Mitchell (Julia Roberts) – a key whistleblower in Washington DC during the Watergate Scandal years of the early 1970s – and her husband John Mitchell (Sean Penn) then-President Richard Nixon’s Attorney General. Marty grows up in her dazzling mother’s shadow, doing the rounds at grownup parties and getting an insider view of a world and a marriage meltdown she isn’t mature enough to understand yet. Later she watches her mother’s reputation being slandered on TV as her father tries to silence an inconvenient wife by virtually keeping her prisoner.
In Big Little Lies, Alexander Skarsgård went from loving husband Perry Wright, to raging abuser and rapist at the drop of a silver spoon. It was a rage Perry could control around his kids around other men, or in this office. But at home alone with his wife Celeste (Nicole Kidman) he seemed to feel entitled to lash out endlessly, over everything.
If Perry was the character you’d most like to see get a grand slam to the groin from a tennis racket, he has stiff competition in Alexander’s Succession character, gold jacket wearing tech bro corporate creeper Lukas Matsson. The GoJo CEO, introduced in season three, has his eye on snatching media giant Waystar Royco from the Roy family. With his business philosophy being “move fast and break things”, he is ever ready to give Waystar Royco’s board of nepo babies a kick in the teeth. Lukas is used to smarter opposition than this “tribute band” to the great shark himself, Logan Roy (Brian Cox).
When Lukas sexually harasses his Director of Communications Ebba (Eili Horboe) and keeps sending her frozen bricks of his own blood to construct a cellblock for himself, Ebba gets her own back by exposing Lukas’s fraud. Ultimately, Lukas really gives the Roys a run for their money when it comes to being a tone deaf, entitled human being who just lives for chaos, as he compares the Roys’ assisted living project, Living+, to a concentration camp in a casual tweet. He’s a perfect fit in this witty, quippy takedown of late stage capitalism and inherited wealth.
Gentle, soft spoken Celeste Wright was a lawyer before she left the bar to raise babies. Her perfect marriage hid the fact that her husband Perry kept tightening the noose of control over her every move. Even when she was free of Perry, his narcissistic, controlling mother Mary Louise (Meryl Streep) seemed determined to make Celeste’s life hell.
A housewife who kills. A deadly affair. Suburban secrets and axe murder. True crime-inspired drama series Love & Death is smack bang in the zone for Big Little Lies fans. The addictive, tightly paced seven-episode series is based on the 1980 murder of teacher Betty Gore (Lily Rabe) by her friend from church, Candy Montgomery (Elizabeth Olsen), who was cheating on her husband Pat (Patrick Fugit) with Betty’s husband Allan (Jesse Plemons). David E Kelley’s knack for bringing the spark to courtroom drama truly shines in the final two episodes, which cover the jury selection and the trial.
Candy’s lawyer Don Crowder (Tom Pelphrey) wants to use her image as nice church lady, desperate housewife, and mom, to lull the Texan judge and jury into believing that Candy chopped into Betty with an axe 41 times in pure self defence, then showered, walked calmly out of Betty’s house, and took both their kids to church for Bible school. Can he pull it off?
Unleash the beast! Renata in BLL was the badass business b**** that every office worker worth their padded shoulders and power suit dreamed of becoming during the 1980s. She was a self-made millionaire, married to a passably handsome Wall Street dude (James Tupper), she was acing the mom thing with her daughter Amabella (Ivy George) and she had a school full of teachers who quaked in terror at her rage. Cross her and Renata would make good on her threat to buy every kid in school a polar bear. If we’re talking identity politics, Renata identified as Rich.
And now, it’s opposite day, because beloved OG Jurassic Park survivor, paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler, is back in Jurassic World Dominion. Eternally curious and wonderstruck scientist Ellie is teaming up with her Jurassic Park fellow survivors Dr Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) and Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neill) to expose corporate evildoers at InGen’s rival company, Biosyn, who’re bioengineering locusts to target crops around the world, aside from their own genetically engineered plant varieties. Their search for proof lands them right in the middle of a battle between a Gigantosauraus and a Tyrannosaurus. Ah, the good old, old, old days.
Prissy perfectionist busybody Madeline Mackenzie in BLL made her identities as a wifey and mommy the cornerstone of her entire existence, while undermining them on the side by cheating on her husbands. She was the bane of Renata’s existence and seeing the two outwit each other over stuff like kids’ birthday parties was every bit as satisfying as any boardroom shenanigans in Succession or Billions. But she was also a determined friend with an eye out to defend her ladies and her kids.
Reese scooped up the rights to Delia Owens’ 2018 novel Where The Crawdads Sing as a passion project for her film company, Hello Sunshine. This Southern Gothic crime drama set in the late 1960s centres on a girl named Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) whose family abandoned her in the North Carolina marshlands as a child. Kya is suspected of murdering her ex-boyfriend, popular local football star Chase Andrews (Harris Dickinson). A brilliant woman with huge potential to achieve, a dead guy who brought it on himself, and an entire town suspicious of her? Welcome to the BLL neighbourhood, Crawdads.
Watch Where The Crawdads Sing now on Showmax.
- Zoë Kravitz in bachelorette party murder comedy movie Rough Night, Steven Soderbergh crime drama movie KIMI, and as Selena Kyle/Catwoman in the 2022 superhero movie The Batman (the Robert Pattinson Batman).
- Meryl Streep in the HBO drama series about the HIV/Aids epidemic in the US, Angels in America.
- Reese Witherspoon in the romantic comedy movie Home Again, playing a cop in the action comedy Hot Pursuit, and as law student Elle Woods in our all-time faves, Legally Blonde and Legally Blonde 2.
- David E Kelley and Nicole Kidman’s co-production The Undoing, a psychological thriller film in which Nicole plays murder suspect Grace Fraser, whose nasty husband Jonathan (Hugh Grant) has mysteriously gone missing. Ring any bells?
- Nicole Kidman acting with Charlize Theron in Bombshell, the movie about real life behind the scenes scandal at Fox News, playing a witch in romantic fantasy comedy movie Bewitched, and the wicked Mrs Coulter in fantasy movie The Golden Compass.
- And Alexander Skarsgård and Nicole Kidman will be reunited in the upcoming Viking action adventure movie The Northman, coming to Showmax from 15 June 2023.
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