Another HBO serial, Big Love, created by Will Scheffer and Mark Olson, ran for five seasons (2006 - 2011) and concerns a Mormon family in Utah. Bill Paxton stars as Bill Henrickson, a business-owner and husband to three women: Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn), Nicki (Chloë Sevigny) and Margene (Ginnifer Goodwin). The series focuses primarily on the lives of these four characters, but there’s a large supporting cast, especially playing family and relatives, including the likes of Bruce Dern, Ellen Burstyn, Harry Dean Stanton and Mary Kay Place. In other words, there’s some very high film-quality acting in this series. Unfortunately, I’ve never been a fan of Paxton, which was definitely a hindrance to my enjoyment of the show.
Big Love is fascinating television for a number of reasons, starting with the family dynamics in a household where a man has three wives and is trying to keep it a secret from his neighbours in the suburbs. Then there are all the religious themes involving Mormons at various stages of fundamentalism. The final seasons focus on politics as Bill runs for the senate. It’s compelling viewing, though Big Love gets a little too dark at points and the writing isn’t consistent, with some storylines just not working for me. Still, if you like well-made compelling TV serials, it’s certainly worth a look. A solid ***+. My mug is up.