It’s no secret that Big Little Lies and Top Of The Lake are two of the best female led and produced TV shows of all time.
What was a bit of secret until recently however, was how these two critically acclaimed yet wildly different dramas somehow became intertwined deep beneath the chasms of the TV world.
But before you get excited about the possibility of Detective Robin Griffin (Elisabeth Moss) turning up at the school gates of Monterey or Madeline Martha Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon) heading to Laketop to solve a missing persons case, I’ll have to be the bearer of bad news and say you are fresh out of luck. This connection is one that happened entirely behind-the-scenes and off script.
But that doesn’t make it any less important.
Based on the best-selling book by Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies is a darkly witty drama that unfolds within the opulent homes and at the school gates of Monterey in California. The story is told through the eyes of three mothers — Madeline, Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and Jane (Shailene Woodley) with a murder mystery keeping fans hooked until the end.
Top Of The Lake takes a radically different turn. This show follows Moss’ character Robin as she returns to her remote hometown of Laketop in New Zealand to investigate the pregnancy and disappearance of a 12-year-old girl named Tui. Elizabeth Moss will reprise her role in the upcoming second season, Top of the Lake: China Girl, which is set in Sydney and also stars Nicole Kidman.
Listen to The Binge host Laura Brodnik give a spoiler free explanation on why you need to watch Top Of The Lake.
Big Little Lies was certainly a game changer when it came to female roles on TV (as proven by the flood of Emmy nominations it received) but I had no idea that it had taken it’s cue from Top Of The Lake until I sat in on a panel with Nicole Kidman and Top Of The Lake creator/writer Jane Campion at the show’s season two premiere held at the Sydney Opera House recently.
“We did Big Little Lies out of frustration,” Kidman said during the panel. “Reese (Witherspoon) and I, we were just really frustrated. Because we weren’t being offered the sort of roles that we wanted in terms of complexity. And so, that show was born out of a desire to create an opportunity for ourselves. And our friends.
“I have to say, by seeing the first season of Top Of The Lake, we saw what they were able to accomplish. That was how we were able to go ‘oh, maybe we can do Big Little Lies’ because at the same time there was True Detective which had the male leads. We then went ‘we want to do something that has got female leads. A show that is set in America’. But, we were inspired by Top of the Lake.