While movie stars continue to insist that TV is the place to be seen these days, some seem less able to shake off their glitzy Hollywood aura.
Take Reese Witherspoon; she’s amazing, she’s got an Oscar and a BAFTA and an Emmy, but her turn in both Big Little Lies and Little Fires Everywhere is somehow covered in a shine that doesn’t seem to dispel her acting abilities.
Maybe it’s because her characters in these two series (both with the word “Little” in their titles for added interchangeability) are mirror images of each other (the hapless upper-middle-class housewife), but you can’t help but think about it constantly. is reminded that you go to Elle Woods or Mrs. Whats watching.
Ditch the glitter: Kate Winslet eschews every hint of Hollywood glamor in the gritty, despair-filled lead on Mare Of Easttown
However, Kate Winslet refutes any theory that stars on the big screen aren’t able to really shed their glitter.
During the first, say three minutes of Mare Of Easttown, thoughts of Winslet running around the Titanic with an ax or being a bit of a jerk in The Holiday will disappear from your mind.
She’s gorgeous as Detective Sergeant Mare Sheehan. She’s got the “Delco” accent low, she’s a little rumpled, she’s tired and she’s full of despair.
Midway through the series’ seven episodes (too few, it should have been at least 10 to increase the brilliance), Mare is in therapy and is told she hasn’t allowed herself enough to mourn her suicide. son, which only took place a few years earlier.
More to discover: The series has been left too open not to return for a second run
Siren on the silver screen: Winslet seems to be shaking off the shine that Reese Witherspoon can’t help but give her TV turns [pictured in Big Little Lies]
She came home to find that he had hanged himself in the attic. “You still live in the same house?” her therapist asks in surprise. ‘Yes’, is the simple answer.
This is when the penny drops – for both the viewer and Mare herself – that we look at a woman frozen in her own fear. And while we’re fully aware that Winslet puts in a compelling performance, we can now see exactly what she’s trying, and succeeding, to portray.
Winslet has always been a great actress and she leads a cast of equally great performers.
Right down to the child actors – most notably Cameron Mann and Kassie Mundhenk as siblings Ryan and Moira Ross – the ensemble lineup has us hooked.
We don’t want to live in Easttown. It could have been worse. Aside from drug addicts and kidnappings and murder, there are definitely dirtier cities. But the atmosphere is generally not great. Still, the cast keeps us coming back – a testament to a series that aired weekly, rather than being available to stream all at once.
Line Of Duty’s highly anticipated sixth season was the same, keeping fans coming back every Sunday to find out what happened next; yet the police drama ended in a big disappointment when ‘H’ was revealed as someone no one really recognized or cared about.
However, Mare Of Easttown delivered a very satisfying finale, worth returning for week after week.
It had it all: a twist, a curveball, betrayal, lies, revelations – everything.
The finale seemed to wrap everything up within the first 10 minutes, moving the story forward. Far less important cases than the murder of Erin McMenamin took center stage after alleged murderer and local sleazebag John Ross was jailed for admitting he fathered Erin’s baby.
Give us more: we want to know how Mare will cope in the future. We want to see more of her mother – played by the impeccable Jean Smart [pictured]
And just when you’re wondering why we’re watching a scene where Betty Carroll’s widower is unable to toss his leftover spaghetti in the bin and wash the dishes, the floating bomb dropped.
You could tell it was going on and something wasn’t right — but there’s no way to predict the show would take the turn it does, except maybe the We Need To Talk About Kevin-esque moment that takes place in the school cafeteria earlier in the series.
So – the finale delivers false endings, suspense and resolution. Lori and Mare argue, but make friends. Lori gets to keep Drew. Siobhan goes to Berkeley. Mare is finally standing in front of the attic. The only slightly bizarre part of it is Guy Pearce’s seemingly pointless side plot (did anyone else think he was the killer?)
So apparently that’s it. Mare Of Easttown is being announced as a limited series, suggesting that seven episodes is all we get.
But, it’s well done. Like the aforementioned Reese Witherspoon outing, Big Little Lies did well. And as a result, we got a season two of it. Not just any season two – a season two with Meryl Streep in it for God’s sake.
Easttown must be revisited. There is too much left to discover. Winslet and co are too rich in talent and delivery not to collect and reuse.
We want to know how Mare is doing further. We want to see more of her mother – played by the impeccable Jean Smart. We want to see how the Ross family handles it. We want to see Erin’s father’s reaction to the news that she was having an affair with his cousin and – albeit accidentally – was murdered by his cousin’s son out of anger.
And if they want to add a Meryl Streep cameo to spice things up, so be it.