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HBO Renews 'Big Love' for Fifth Season

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 4th 2010 9:46AM
big_love_casino_hboThe television gods have spoken. Okay, not really. But the people in power at HBO have had their say and 'Big Love' will be back for a fifth season. Ten more episodes have been ordered as the fourth season continues to unfold. Hallelujah! The story of the Hendricksons goes on and on.

Unlike some other HBO drama series, 'Big Love' has not been a sky-rocket. It's been more a slow boil, gradually picking up fans and followers as the show evolves. Perhaps it was the very nature of the situation, a polygamist family living in plain sight in modern day Utah while keeping their way of life a closely guarded secret.

Bill and his three wives and passel of children try to keep to the principle while blending with suburbia, but they're continually pulled into controversy based on their individual pasts and the choices they've made. It all adds up to great drama.

Since returning on January 10, the show has been doing well (enough) in the ratings and plot-wise, it's better than ever. Bill's responding to the calling to run for political office in order to legitimize his polygamist lifestyle has not gone over well with the family. Margene is on the verge of a nervous breakdown, mainly because of her unnatural desire for Ben, Bill's son by Barb.

Nicki, played by Chloe Sevigny who just won a Golden Globe for her performance, continues to be a conduit back to Juniper Creek as well as Bill's chosen wife for anything underhanded, and even though Roman -- the prophet -- is dead, Alby cannot escape the judgmental presence of his domineering father. And Alby's unwillingness to eschew his homosexual desires collides with his fervent desire to become the next prophet.

The good news is that all these characters can remain in turmoil and the pot can continue to boil. HBO's commitment means that all these stories, and the others that are ongoing like Lois and the birds, Sarah and the Indian baby, Bill and the Washington lobbyist, will not have to wrap it up this season. According to Will Scheffer, co-creator and executive producer with Mark V. Olsen, the renewal fulfills their desires for the future. "We're so happy... our fans will get to experience what we have planned for next year."

Only one thing should be changed to improve the show before next season: go back to the original credits. The new opening with the characters falling and floating out of control, just doesn't work.

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I prefer the old title sequence too but it seems to me that it represents the increasing turmoil & uncertain territory the family is finds themselves in (whereas before they were so sure and secure - hence the more cutesy "milk & cookies" title sequence then). Now they are spinning out of control; with Barb excommunicated, Bill starting his own church (which has been neglected as a sub-plot) and running for political office AND running a casino (putting his lifestyle on the line), sexual tension between Marge & Ben putting real tension on Ben & Bill, etc., and the new title sequence does convey that.

Having said that, this season the writing seems different, more simplistic and amateuristic. I don't know if they have new writers or producers or whatever, but the characters seem out of character and the writing seems like something a teenager rushed to finish the night before.

Bill's sudden run for office, and especially his decision to ask Don to fall on his sword, the sudden and wild overreactions (especially by Joey) to Bill kicking Ben out, Lois' sudden protectiveness of Frank (when Bill ejects him from the casino), Barb's sudden decision to take a steam bath with Tommy, these are all examples of completely out-of-character behaviour. The show seems to be favouring intricate soap operaesque sub-plots at the expense of maintaining the characters. The characters are becoming caricatures and the quirky show is becoming a tedious soap opera.

I love this show, but something odd is going on at HBO. I hope they get back on track.

February 18 2010 at 5:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

sorry about the typos

February 09 2010 at 9:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ashley Boyd

The new credits DO WORK as they are representative of the new direction. The old ones were a symbol of ideas of Mormon heaven when the family was a tight-knit group but now they're all falling apart, and the new credits are symbolic of ideas of Mormon hell.

February 05 2010 at 2:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Have to disagree on 2 parts:

1) the show is definitely not at its peak plot-wise, this political arc is tiresome already.

2) while I enjoyed the original credits, these new ones are far more representative to what the family has become over the years, everyone grasping at each other...at anything, to hold on to.

February 04 2010 at 1:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just caught up last night. As exciting as ever!! I am amazed at the intertwining of stories and HIGHLY agree... the only thing I want to see change is going back to the old opening. This new one is almost a bit scary to watch and I think that new viewers might actually be scared off by it... not knowing that there's really a fantastic show to follow.

February 04 2010 at 11:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

OMG! I totally agree with you on the credits. The new one doesn't even make sense to me (maybe I am slow or something). If they don't want to go back to the old opening credits find something else. The new one is just bad.

February 04 2010 at 10:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Gina's comment

The intro or credits are symbolic of the family is so far gone that they have gone in other directions that they cannot even touch now....in the old credits they were together then apart....now it is getting worse it follows the story line. The stupidity of Bill to try to be in the Senate race is follish and harmful to his family and he seems to not care about anyone else including his friend who is trying to simply SEE his children ...yet he takes the fall so that Bill can look like a golden child. I liked the way it was before. I believe in the seperation of church and state and I think that our government was wrong to end the legal age consenting polygamist marriages (not the underage joy book and promised to without consent marriages of the FLDS that is not right like the Juniper Creek cast seems very FLDS and that way is not good but I do not see why the way that Bill, Barb, Nikki and Marg are is wrong).

February 09 2010 at 9:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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