Leading Ladies

These Enigmatic, Female-Driven Shows Like 'Big Little Lies' Deliver The Drama

Grab the popcorn and get settled on the couch.

Originally Published: 
It's hard (but not impossible) to find shows like 'Big Little Lies' with such a strong, female-drive...

When Big Little Lies debuted on HBO in 2017, it felt like one of the first shows in a long time where everyone and their mom tuned in (and talked about it non-stop) week to week. Based on Liane Moriarty’s book, the show starred Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, and Zoe Kravitz as a group of housewives and moms who all have their own secrets and traumas to work through. While initially intended as a limited, one-season series, the show’s reception was so good that HBO extended the series past the ending of the source material. Alas, all good things must come to an end, and the popular series proved no exception. It came to a close after two seasons, leaving fans searching for other shows like Big Little Lies to fill the Monterey-sized void.

You can hardly blame anyone for wishing HBO would greenlight at least one more season of Big Little Lies. Even star and producer Nicole Kidman recently said it’s a project she’d love to revisit. BLL has a little bit of everything! It’s a dark comedy at times and perfectly paced drama at others. It’s highly stylized, well-acted, and the real estate in the series alone makes it worth watching. And don’t even get us started on the adorable kid actors — particularly precocious child DJ Chloe (played by Darby Camp).

It’s hard to find something just like Big Little Lies, but the following list of shows get close to it, whether you’re just looking for something else starring these amazing women or want a show that keeps you guessing and never fails to surprise you.

Enigmatic, Female-Driven Dramas Like Big Little Lies

1. Little Fires Everywhere (2020)

Based on the book by Celeste Ng, this show stars Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington as two very wildly disparate kinds of moms in the small town of Shaker Heights, outside of Cleveland. Although they couldn’t be more different as women and mothers, their lives become unexpectedly intertwined, leading to tense exchanges and a twisty ending. Like Big Little Lies, it was also a limited series that fans are clamoring for more of, despite the first one having covered all of the material in the novel. So far, the creators haven’t announced that they will be doing any more episodes. (And that might be a good thing.)

2. Nine Perfect Strangers (2021)

Nicole Kidman’s performance in Big Little Lies cannot be beat, but she almost outdoes herself in this moody Hulu series in which she plays a wellness guru of sorts who hand-selects participants to come to her retreat and “heal.” Spoiler alert: It turns out that her healing process involves secretly dosing her patients to varying effects. Stick with it — even though you might think you know how it’s gonna end, the ending will still manage to surprise you.

3. Sharp Objects (2018)

This HBO series stars Amy Adams as an intrepid, troubled reporter who returns to her hometown to investigate the disappearance of two young girls. Patricia Clarkson and Chris Messina also star in the thriller, based on Gillian Flynn’s book of the same name. Much like Gone Girl, the story will keep you guessing as it unfolds, and by the time you realize what really happened, it will totally gut you.

4. The Affair (2014-2019)

If gutted is really what you’re going for, then this Showtime series needs to be next on your watchlist. Unlike the above recommendations, this one has six seasons, so you can stretch watching it out for months (or days, depending on your schedule, of course). While the show is ostensibly about a marriage and family that begins to unravel due to an affair, the most interesting thing about The Affair is how it plays with perception. It shows scenes from all of the characters’ points of view, leaving you to consider who was in the wrong, what really happened, and how sometimes we can entirely miss what’s going on with the people closest to us.

5. Divorce (2016-2019)

If you’re just not into And Just Like That, you can get your Sarah Jessica Parker fix in this HBO series. She plays a woman going through a divorce from her husband, played by Thomas Haden Church. It is deeply funny and deeply sad, much like Big Little Lies, and centers on the inherent messiness of love and the everchanging chapters of a marriage.

More Shows Like Big Little Lies to Watch Next

  1. Desperate Housewives (2004-2012)
  2. Why Women Kill (2019)
  3. The Undoing (2020)
  4. Devious Maids (2013-2016)
  5. First Wives Club (2018- )
  6. Good Girls (2018-2021)
  7. The Stranger (2019)
  8. I May Destroy You (2020)
  9. The Sinner (2017-2021)
  10. Home Before Dark (2020- )
  11. Dead to Me (2019-2022)
  12. High Fidelity (2020)
  13. Clickbait (2021)
  14. Doctor Foster (2015-2017)
  15. The Morning Show (2019- )
  16. Revenge (2011-2015)
  17. Blood & Water (2020- )
  18. Mare of Easttown (2021)

This article was originally published on