Streep's performance on the Season 2 premiere alone will have you saying "God damn, Meryl Streep is a great actress," says Willa Paskin, who is especially impressed by the "Streep-time-sharing scheme" devised for her and the other big-name Big Little Lies stars. "I had initially considered the news of her casting on the show to be a kind of triumphant piece of PR, the TV equivalent of the Vanity Fair Hollywood Issue photo spread," says Paskin. "Streep joining the already movie-star-flush cast of Big Little Lies for the former miniseries’ second season was like her taking a seat on a divan next to Reese and Nicole. Whatever work she actually did would presumably be very good—she’s Meryl Streep!—but the real dividends would come this fall, when La Streep was, as always, her impossibly charming self on the awards show circuit. But Streep is better than that—startlingly, arrestingly better—and her work exemplifies the delectable disconnect at the heart of Big Little Lies. Within the story, more is decidedly not more. The haves of Monterey, California—wealthy one percenters as attractive as famous actresses—are swimming in largesse, but while their wealth protects them from certain material hardships and bad interior design, it can’t protect them from abuse, heartbreak, deceptions, stress, whisper campaigns, guilt, or daughters who don’t want to go to college. Outside the story, however, the new Big Little Lies is a decidedly more-is-more proposition: more seasons, more storylines, more sumptuous landscape shots, more movie stars."
By God there's something about Meryl Streep: "Meryl Streep in the new season of Big Little Lies almost makes me believe in homeopathy," says Lucy Mangan. "No matter how tiny the performance dosage in a scene or episode, she leaves the whole thing somehow charged with her presence long after she has vanished into the wings. You can believe the very molecules of the air are still humming with her memory."
Streep joining Big Little Lies is like Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors: "The teeth, the slurry devastating line-readings, that f*cking scream!" says Phillip Maciak. "There hasn’t been such an unnecessary overkill of talent in the Bay Area since Kevin Durant joined the Golden State Warriors. (In this analogy, Streep is Durant, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman are Steph Curry and Klay Thompson — the Splash Brothers — and I guess Laura Dern is Draymond Green?"