Disney+ / Disney Star, TV-14, season 1, 10 episodes á 1h, released November 2020
A private detective teams up with an ex-cop to solve a kidnapping case in Montana. Several strong women carry the story, on one hand the kidnapped siblings Danielle & Grace Sullivan (Natalie Alyn Lind, Jade Pettyjohn), on the other the detectives Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick – almost as bad-ass as in “Vikings”) and Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) determined to find them before it’s too late.
Nothing for the anxiety-ridden, as some episodes put – especially female – nightmares pretty bluntly on screen. Creator David E. Kelley and his writing/directing team obviously tried to capture a bit of this Twin Peaks feel when dwelling in panorama / landscape / mood music scenes. Yes, on one hand it does creep out any viewer because you realize finding lost people in such a vast mountain & woods area is a pretty hopeless endeavor. On the other hand, at some point it feels like slowing down when it should pick up speed instead. Some criticized the “singing” via imdb – however, I actually liked those scenes and the score with this overall “Brother Where Art Thou” feel.
Several scenes and character rants are important social commentary – e.g. that it requires two middle-class white girls to vanish before investigators even bother to notice dozens of missing local Native American females. However, repetitive dialogue /character background scenes seem to have “slowing down the pace” as their only purpose. Maybe 7 or 8 instead of 10 episodes (the 10th being a transition to upcoming season 2) might have been a better solution. Big Sky slightly cut & edited could have been an absolute nail-biter a la “Silence of the Lambs” – luckily there is this fast-forward button…
Apropos “Silence of The Lambs” – you inevitably think of body lotion when noticing those 2 united again, although they don’t have scenes together:
Brooke Smith – Merilee Legarski
Ted Levine – Horst Kleinsasser
The cast is flawless, they all deliver a great job from endearing to extremely creepy:
John Carroll Lynch – Rick Legarski
Patrick Gallagher – Sheriff Walter Tubb
Brian Geraghty – Ronald Pergman
Valerie Mahaffey- Helen Pergman
Guest star Ryan Phillippe as Cody Hoyt could have had a bigger feature, though. When it comes to “endearing”, Jesse James Keitel as Jerrie Kennedy is heartbreakingly intense, THE character you will be rooting for. Hopefully the major mainstream breakout role for Jesse, known as the first non-binary actor to play a non-binary series regular on prime time television (e.g. Forever Alone, Miller & Son).
Summing up: Despite feeling a bit “stretched” on occasion, Big Sky is still absolutely worth watching.