It's not everyday you see top Hollywood stars the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley and Nicole Kidman band together for a TV drama, but that's what made the prospect of HBO's 'Big Little Lies' all the more exciting. Unfortunately, the story itself has on the whole proved rather mediocre.

Reese WitherspoonReese Witherspoon stars in 'Big Little Lies'

Based on the 2014 best-selling Liane Moriarty novel of the same name, this 7-episode mini-series seems to be something of a disappointment to the general consensus of critics. It's about a trio of Californian housewives whose children all go to the same elementary school, with their personal lives intertwining and culminating in disaster.

In the words of Detroit News, it 'follows the constant bickering of a group of overwhelmingly rich, overwhelmingly white people'. The publication slated the show as exhaustingly 'soapy' and scoffed at the 'boorish characters'. They also admit that while there are 'formidable female leads', it 'doesn't mean 'Big Little Lies' is worth enduring'.

Vulture was kinder to the series, branding it an 'addictive, often corrosively funny social satire' and insisting that it is 'a must-see because of its extraordinary actors'. But then, they also realise that 'there are times when the show falls off the wire' of the proverbial comedy-drama tightrope. Plus, while USA Today had a lukewarm attitude to the story as well, they conceded that 'there is entertainment value to be found in the feuds and the gloss'.

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Despite the majority, however, the Washington Post's review was comparatively glowing. They described it as: 'a deeply absorbing, highly addictive murder mystery'. The actors were, of course, exalted for their peformances. 'They have each outdone themselves here, bringing to their roles a real sense for the contours of pain, as well as a mature, wry sense of humor', they said of the stellar cast.

Generally, though, the Hollywood Reporter summed up the predominant attitude well when it said 'Big Little Lies' was 'more annoying than entertaining' and 'never subtle'.