It's a problem for an acclaimed TV series when it works better as a meme than as a season of television. "Perhaps the biggest lie Big Little Lies ever told was that it needed a second season," says Alex Abad-Santos. "With six episodes down and the finale on deck for Sunday, what was an engaging miniseries in its first go-round has softened into storytelling pudding upon its return. Bursts of crackling, cackle-inducing humor and satire have shined through (thanks in large part to the inimitable Laura Dern), but they have failed to outweigh the show’s dull, redundant mush. It’s not the actresses’ fault — the talented cast have done their best to elevate what they’ve received. Nor is it director Andrea Arnold’s folly. As reported last week, Arnold’s true vision of the show was never seen, as HBO, showrunner David E. Kelley, and season one director Jean-Marc Vallée edited Arnold’s work in post-production. At the core, the problem of Big Little Lies’ second chapter is confused storytelling...Big Little Lies is still delivering satire and soap opera, but it’s dropping the ball in some of the more emotional and thoughtful scenes involving the show’s less comedy-driven characters, like Jane and Bonnie. And the result has been a season of Big Little Lies made up of a few hit singles and a bunch of forgettable album tracks, rather than a solid season of good television through and through."