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Should There Be a Second Season of ‘Big Little Lies’?

Even though HBO’s latest hit was a miniseries, talk about another season is flaring up. Do we really need one? The Ringer staff weighs in.

(HBO/Ringer illustration)
(HBO/Ringer illustration)

Perry’s body might still be warm, but the buzz surrounding a potential second season of Big Little Lies — which, we’ll remind you, was a miniseries based on a novel that does not have a sequel — is getting serious. Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman say they’re interested; Big Little Lies author Liane Moriarty is down; director Jean-Marc Vallée is the only holdout. But hang on, is this really necessary? Before booking tickets for a return trip to Monterey, The Ringer staff tried to answer that question.

Amanda Dobbins: My hottest take: I’m open to this … as long as Liane Moriarty is not involved. I sincerely enjoy her novels, but the show was best when it abandoned (or at least temporarily ignored) the book’s more sensational aspects. We don’t need another trivia-night mystery; we need some Madeline and Ed therapy sessions, and more Celeste therapy sessions, and also some Jane and Renata and Bonnie therapy sessions while we’re at it. Or just do a Dr. Reisman spinoff. I’m in.

(HBO)
(HBO)

Andrew Gruttadaro: Far be it from me to prevent Reese and Nicole from teaming up again — we should all be so lucky — but don’t we have a duty to ourselves to stick with things? If something is a miniseries, shouldn’t it stay that way? My feelings on this have nothing to do with the narrative potential of a second season; I just think we as humans need to be able to exercise restraint once in a while.

Alison Herman: My feelings about this are probably best described as a hybrid between this GIF of Reese Witherspoon and this GIF of Laura Dern. But I’m being paid to write, and so I will try to use my words:

NO. No. Nononononono.

It’s annoying when not-great shows like Taboo decide to give us more not-greatness that no one asked for. It’s dismaying when a show like Big Little Lies threatens to undo its perfect batting average. Even if the hypothetical Season 2 is top-to-bottom perfect, it’d undo the specialness of a finite object we saw through the end together. If it’s not perfect, and it almost certainly won’t be, it dilutes the legacy of a damn good show.

Don’t do this, Liane.

Hannah Giorgis: Big Little Lies already did everything it needed to do; it gave us a decadent, perfect season of television. Extending that is probably a bad idea, but you know what … maybe it’s not. I’ll still watch no matter what, so sure, let’s do it.

Katie Baker: No no no no no! (Well, unless it’s a flash-way-forward about Ziggy and the Wright twins pledging a fraternity.) I can’t put it much better than Big Little Lies director Jean-Marc Vallée did: “There’s no reason to make a Season 2 […] If we do a Season 2, we’ll break that beautiful thing and spoil it.” The bottom line: Please don’t do to Big Little Lies what Tommy Boy did to his sale.

Daniel Varghese: Absolutely not. Big Little Lies worked because it was a singular, hyperstylized build to an immensely satisfying, cathartic conclusion. Why force it to be anything else?

Ben Lindbergh: As satisfying as I found the finale, I’m not concerned about the legacy of a seven-episode miniseries that was part of my life for less than two months. No, I don’t care whether the detective holding the binoculars that framed the final shot discovers how Perry got impaled, but I wasn’t watching Season 1 to see what would happen on trivia night. I just enjoyed my Monterey Sundays. And I still will, if enough of the elements that made the first season successful return. If not, you’ll find me frolicking on the beach after pushing Season 2 down the stairs; in the era of excess TV, the sadness of seeing a good show go bad is leavened by the relief of crossing something off the schedule.

Kate Knibbs: If the second season of Big Little Lies will be good, then I want it to happen. If it will be bad, then I do not want it to happen. This is my stance, and I will not be moved from it.

(HBO)
(HBO)

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.