'Big Little Lies': Catch up before next week's finale

Catch the power plays and political prowess of (back row from left) Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, and Nicole Kidman in HBO's "Big Little Lies."

Way more than murder

Why are you not watching the highly addictive Big Little Lies? If you have HBO, you have no excuse, especially because the limited series wraps up Sunday, and you're not going to want to miss the end, so this weekend is the perfect time to catch up on the show that is sure to clean up come Emmy time.

Based on Liane Moriarty's novel, Big Little Lies in lesser hands could be called Rich White People Problems. But director Jean-Marc Vallée brings a deft hand to the material that is elevated by its powerhouse female cast, led by the incomparable Reese Witherspoon, whose character is so good at being wound-up that she gives us anxiety every time she appears on screen.

It's ostensibly a murder mystery - but we don't know who's the murderer or the victim. But if you're in it only for the whodunit, you're missing out on the power plays and political prowess of these women, who, on the surface, seem shallow and skin-deep, but who have actual issues that they channel into their sort of battles with themselves and each other.

While Witherspoon is fantastic (seriously, she hasn't been this good in years). So is the rest of the cast, including Nicole Kidman, who brings vulnerability to her ethereal beauty; Shailene Woodley, who holds her own against a heavy-hitting cast; and the constantly underrated Laura Dern, who brings humor and ferociousness to hard-charging businesswoman (and protective mother) Renata.

Big Little Lies is so deliciously fun to watch, but it's also not empty calories either, and it's worth it if only to watch these women simply dominate their craft. - M.E.
Where to stream: HBOGo.

Like this? Binge these: See Laura Dern at the top of her game in the delightfully weird Enlightened (HBOGo); catch up on Feud: Bette and Joan to see even more fabulous work by two deserving actresses, Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange, playing Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.