Big Love Season Four: What Went Wrong

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In the opinion of many, the Big Love cast is the strongest on TV. It's definitely the most expansive.

But that can prove a challenge to writers, as the just-completed fourth season of the HBO drama was considered a mess by many viewers and critics. The main reason? It tried to do too much with too many characters. Consider all the storylines:

  • Bill's ran for state office
  • Ana returned, knocked up.
  • Nicki's mother married Nicki's ex-husband.
  • The Greens kidnapped Frank, Lois and Ben.
  • J.J. was a Mormon Nazi.
  • Sissy Spacek was very mean.

And this was all over the course of a nine-episode season.

Big Family

"We asked a lot of our viewers this season," co-creator Mark V. Olsen admitted to The Los Angeles Times. "But we're ambitious, we wanted to dig a little deeper."

He continued, discussing the writing process between he and fellow creator Will Scheffer:

"Once we crack the major season stories, we turn our attention to the ensemble. What about Joey and Wanda? What about Mary Kay Place? Is Sissy's story commensurate with her stature as an actress? And Zeljko --we felt a strong obligation to give him something memorable and deep."

Scheffer thinks they gave Bill "his best season yet," but concedes that the cast must be whittled down.

"We think the show has been the richer for having such a large ensemble," he said. "But we also feel we're at a breaking point. We've got to pare it down and refocus."


Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Big Love Quotes

Sarah: Why can't we just hire a babysitter like everyone else?
Barb: Because we're not everyone else

Margene: Does that mean you miss me more?
Bill: Officially... I miss you guys all the same.