Friday, June 8, 2007

Looking Forward to More Big Love

HBO's Big Love resumes June 11 with its second season. I'm looking forward to it - I thought Big Love, along with Showtime's Brotherhood and Dexter, were the best new series of 2006.

With all of my focus on The Sopranos, which ends this Sunday, I realized that I enjoy Big Love for the same reason: both are stories of families which, in the cold light of day, operate well beyond the pale of morality. But in the superbly acted and produced light of cable television, I come to believe in both of them.

Big Love is of course not about a mobster and his family. In many ways, Big Love asks even more of our preconceptions about family - it is about a man with three wives - a polygamist.

And, amazingly, Big Love almost makes this seem as American as apple pie. Scenes of Bill Henrickson (played perfectly by Bill Paxton) getting bollocksed up in which of his three wives' bedrooms he is supposed to sleep in almost seems like a zany scene out of Father Knows Best or I Love Lucy. But of course, it isn't. And the three wives, played superbly Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloë Sevigny, and Ginnifer Goodwin, all seem this close to completely normal, too (well, maybe Chloë a tiny bit less than the others, but that's part of the show's charm, as well). Harry Dean Stanton, Bruce Dern, and Grace Zabriskie are part of the great background cast that add constant zest and surprise to the series.

So Sunday I'll grieve about The Sopranos - because even if everyone survives, which I don't for a minute expect that they will, the show will still be gone - and I'll await some Big Love next Monday....

Why Monday? Who knows ... but likely it won't make a different to unorthodox summer viewing...

Useful links:

reviews of Season 2 episodes: 1. Big Love Resumes

Big Love: Season One DVD

The Sopranos as a Nuts-and-Bolts Triumph of Non-Network TV my 2002 article

reviews of the final nine episodes of The Sopranos: First of Nine, Second of Nine, Third of Nine, Fourth of Nine, Fifth of Nine, Sixth of Nine, Seventh of Nine, Eighth of Nine, Ninth of Nine

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