22 May 2020 20:38
Reese Witherspoon has established herself as the queen of the streaming era, now with three big-budget television shows under her belt: Big Little Lies, The Morning Show and Little Fires Everywhere. But how do you know which one is right for you? Binge-worthy new TV shows seem to pop up as frequently as bills nowadays, and it takes work to sift through everything and decide what you want to watch. Each of Witherspoon's television shows, which she executive produces as well as stars in, unite a dream team of collaborators across the cast and crew, and there's fantastic art to be found in each series. With Little Fires Everywhere premiering on Amazon in the UK, we pulled apart each of Witherspoon's shows below, so you can work out which one is for you… The Concepts Big Little Lies, Witherspoon's first foray into television, begins with a murder, but the viewer is told neither who did it nor who the victim is.
The seven episodes, which aired on Sky Atlantic and are now available on Now TV, go back in time to analyse the events that lead to that murder, and the story becomes irresistibly engrossing at every step of the way. The Morning Show, an Apple original, is all about news, and the lives of people working in overdrive to get the latest updates onto America's screens by 6am every morning. When a popular morning news show, fronted by Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell, is rocked by a #MeToo scandal, Witherspoon's up-and-coming journalist is drawn into a chess game of power and politics. Little Fires Everywhere is the one period piece of the trio, taking viewers back to the 90s and taking place in a pristine, planned community. The series follows Elena and Mia, two mothers played by Witherspoon and Kerry Washington respectively, whose lives become interlinked when the nomadic artist Mia rents a place owned by the wealthy perfectionist Elena.
Little Fires also starts with a mystery - someone burned down Elena's house, and the series goes back in time to find out how. The Moods If you want prestige drama, cinematic television and property porn, go for Big Little Lies. With each episode directed by the Oscar-nominated Jean-Marc Vallée, it is intensely addictive television, complete with a brilliant soundtrack, mesmerising cinematography and career-best performances from the ensemble cast that includes Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley and Zoe Kravitz. The Morning Show commits a lot more time than the other shows to staying as topical as possible, with the #MeToo scandal at the centre of its plot very closely reflecting a number of real-life cases surrounding high-profile broadcasters in the US. There are many dense monologues about the importance of truth, and the vital role of journalists in holding powerful people to account. It can be rather hammy, and no one on this show talks like a real person, but if that sort of Aaron Sorkin-esque writing is your bag, The Morning Show will be right up your alley. It's also very expensive-looking (the budget for this show included a reported US$1.25 million per episode for Witherspoon and Aniston). Little Fires Everywhere is a harder one to pin down; there's shades of a thriller in here, but primarily it's a domestic drama in which the action lies in character development and dialogue. The tone is difficult to describe because it sort of feels a little less "prestige" than the others, which is to say, like an era of television gone by. The Reeses In Big Little Lies and Little Fires Everywhere, her characters are not too dissimilar, though separated by a couple of decades. They're both type A mothers and wives who work part-time; BLL's Madeleine in community theatre, and LFE's Elena as a columnist for the local paper. Both have an overbearing tendency to meddle in other people's lives and have fraught relationships with their daughter(s). The Morning Show finds Witherspoon embracing her Southern roots as a West Virginia reporter working for a local conservative channel, who goes viral for letting her fiery liberal views loose at a coal mine protest. She's green, opinionated and passionate, which puts her at odds with Aniston's jaded veteran presenter. The Talent Witherspoon enlisted some of the best of the business to bring these projects to life. The aforementioned Vallée directed all seven episodes of Big Little Lies, while British auteur Andrea Arnold took over the second season. David E. Kelley, the scribe behind Ally McBeal, penned each episode. The Morning Show features top directors such as Mimi Leder (On the Basis of Sex, The Leftovers), David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) and Michelle MacLaren (Game of Thrones), and the supporting cast is outstanding: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mark Duplass, Bel Powley, Jack Davenport and Billy Crudup each chew into interesting roles. Little Fires Everywhere was created by Nashville's Liz Tigelaar, and four episodes were directed by the late indie powerhouse Lynn Shelton, who tragically died on May 16. The supporting cast includes Joshua Jackson, Rosemarie DeWitt and Jesse Williams. Amazon Prime: Little Fires Everywhere - In pictures 7 show all Amazon Prime: Little Fires Everywhere - In pictures 1/7 Hulu 2/7 Hulu 3/7 Hulu 4/7 Hulu 5/7 Hulu 6/7 Hulu 7/7 Hulu 1/7 Hulu 2/7 Hulu 3/7 Hulu 4/7 Hulu 5/7 Hulu 6/7 Hulu 7/7 Hulu For Fans Of Big Little Lies has often been described as a prestige version of Desperate Housewives, and while the plotlines may be similar, a closer touchpoint would probably be Jean-Marc Vallée's previous films, particularly the Reese Witherspoon vehicle Wild. The Morning Show's obvious comparison is The Newsroom, though it's less of a comedy. 2019's Bombshell has a lot of shared DNA in terms of subject matter and dialogue. Little Fires Everywhere serves up the same kind of tense, domestic drama as Big Little Lies, but analyses American racial divides with more focus, giving it some shared DNA with another TV period drama, The People v. Simpson: American Crime Story. Little Fires Everywhere is now available to stream on Amazon Prime in the UK. If you've started watching Little Fires Everywhere on Amazon Prime, it might have reminded you how much you loved the original novel, by Celeste Ng. Or it might've made you decide to pick it up for the first time - and now you're looking for your next literary fix.