Having charmed us with The Mandalorian’s Baby Yoda and given us more Mickey Mouse content than we could shake a set of giant plastic rodent ears at, for its next trick Disney+ is serving up a heart-warming tale of sex-trafficking, feuding lovers and corrupt cops.
Big Sky is obviously a teeny bit of a departure for a streaming service that has to date marketed itself as the home of wholesome family fare. As if to underscore that point an otherwise cliché-devilled and predictable opening episode concludes with a jaw-dropping twist straight out of Game of Thrones (though unlike GoT it doesn’t go so far as to push any children out of windows – it’s still Disney after all).
This is called extending the brand. After clocking up 95 million global subscribers, Disney + is hoping to broaden its appeal with a new “Star” channel, slotting alongside its Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar offerings. The slate will largely consist of older programming repackaged for the streaming generation, with highlights including Donald Glover’s Atlanta and classic movies such as The French Connection (don’t get excited but Golden Girls arrives over the summer).
Big Sky is one of Star’s loudly-touted original productions – though, actually, it isn’t all original having already aired in the US on ABC last year. It’s from David E Kelley, the hit-whisperer behind Big Little Lies (starring Nicole Kidman in a glamorous kitchen) and The Undoing (starring Nicole Kidman in a glamorous overcoat, walking around New York).
However this series, adapted from a sequence of airport thrillers by CJ Box, has almost nothing in common with those sophisticated smashes. There’s no Nicole Kidman for one thing – and no glam kitchens or iconic overcoats either. As per the title, the setting is the “big sky” country of Montana. Here, as the action begins, private detectives Jenny Hoyt (Vikings’ Katheryn Winnick ) and Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) are taking a break from solving crimes to engage in a spot of romantic rivalry.