While fans are anticipating HBO’s upcoming second season of “Big Little Lies”, the critically acclaimed series’ executive producer is admitting he didn’t think it was a good idea for another season of what was initially conceived as a limited-run series.
That’s one of the many revelations in The Hollywood Reporter’s extensive new interview with David E. Kelley, the iconic TV producer whose resume includes such hits as “L.A. Law”, “Chicago Hope”, “The Practice”, “Boston Legal”, “Ally McBeal” and more.
Discussing his reluctance to produce a second season of “Big Little Lies”, Kelley tells THR, “I didn’t think it was a very good idea. We wrote it as a one-off and we ended it in a way that was very lyrical. But we ended on a lie. I get so protective of characters and series, too, that I don’t want to damage them in any way, and I so loved how we ended year one and I thought, ‘Let’s just leave it at that.’”
Kelley, who is married to actress Michelle Pfeiffer, credits his decision to reconsider to “a multitude of forces, but mainly it came down to a creative analysis. Liane [Moriarty, author of the novel Big Little Lies] wrote a novella of [new] stories, and most of them we’re using. But the genius one was introducing this character who’s being played by Meryl Streep. It’s a delicious character and I felt bringing her in was both liberating and daunting. Daunting because she sets a high bar and you have to measure up, but liberating in that now the show’s not going to be compared to last year. There was freedom in that.”
Kelley also touches on one of his rare flops, the Robin Williams-starring sitcom “The Crazy Ones”, which he admits was “terrible.”
“Robin Williams was great, but the show itself was not very good,” Kelley tells THR. “I went to CBS and I said, ‘The show is not very good. Do you care?’ And the answer was no. They talked to me a little bit like you talk to your grandfather. ‘I know this isn’t the way it was done in your day, Pop, but the way it is now, people watch TV, they’ve got their computers open, they’re on Facebook, they’re answering emails, they’re texting. The idea is to have something on that screen that’s compatible with everything going on in the room but that isn’t going to challenge them to pay attention to plot or offend them enough to make them change the channel.’ I was horrified.”
Confessing that he has “no interest in going backward,” he points to one of his former hits that he would consider rebooting: “Ally McBeal”.
“I do think because of the gender politics that were so part and parcel of ‘Ally McBeal’, it’s become very relevant and ripe,” he continues. “So, I’d be open to the idea of ‘Ally McBeal’ being done again, but I don’t think it should be done by me. If it were going to be done, it really should be done by a woman. If it’s going to be new, it should be new and different. I’ve done it: 100 hours.”
You can read the entire interview in the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter.