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Recommended: Bad Sisters on Apple TV+

Sharon Horgan leads a talented ensemble in this layered dark comedy.
  • Sharon Horgan, Eva Birthistle, Sarah Greene, and Eve Hewson in Bad Sisters (Photo: Apple TV+)
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    Bad Sisters | Apple TV+
    Hourlong Dark Comedy (10 Episodes) | TV-MA

    What's Bad Sisters About?

    The Garvey sisters are different as can be, but their commitment to one another knows no bounds. When their odious brother-in-law suddenly dies, his life insurers launch an investigation and set their sights on the five sisters, all of whom had motives to kill him.

    Who's involved?

    • Series creator Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe, Game Night) stars as Eva, the eldest Garvey sister. Eva was responsible for raising her younger siblings after their parents died, and years later the alcoholic spinster still serves as something of a mother figure for the group.
    • Anne-Marie Duff (Suffragette) plays Grace, who finds herself in a toxic marriage. Mild-mannered around her husband, Grace comes alive when she’s not in his presence.
    • Eva Birthistle (Brooklyn) plays Ursula, a mother of three keeping a big secret from her husband.
    • Sarah Greene (Frank of Ireland) plays Bibi, the most outspoken of the siblings. Married to a woman, Bibi finds her homophobic, racist brother-in-law particularly detestable.
    • Eve Hewson (Behind Her Eyes) plays Becka, the youngest Garvey. She's an aimless twentysomething with a dark sense of humor.
    • Claes Bang (Dracula, The Northman) plays John Paul Williams, Grace’s sadistic husband. His unceasing digs and insensitive remarks have ruined his relationship with his sisters-in-law, to the point where they begin to wish him dead.
    • Brian Gleeson, the son of Brendan Gleeson, plays Thomas Claffin, the grubby insurance adjuster looking into the circumstances surrounding John Paul’s death. Thomas is desperate to avoid paying out John Paul’s insurance policy, as doing so would bankrupt the business he inherited from his father.
    • Daryl McCormack (Good Luck to You, Leo Grande) plays Matthew Claffin, Thomas’ half-brother. Unlike his brother, Matt is hesitant to bother the Garveys during their time of grief, and he objects to Thomas’ heavy-handed approach.

    Why (and to whom) do we recommend it?

    There’s no shortage of morally ambiguous figures on television, but it’s rare to find a character more straightforwardly despicable than John Paul Williams. Bad Sisters never presents JP as anything other than a pure, unadulterated villain — he makes crude jokes about Eva’s inability to bear children, denies his daughter the pleasure of dancing to Lizzo, and gaslights and manipulates his wife. Even in death, JP is, quite literally, a prick: the series opens with a scene of Grace attempting to hide his post-mortem erection as she scrambles to prepare for his funeral.

    It’s this dark comedic sensibility that drives Bad Sisters, which is less laugh-out-loud funny than Sharon Horgan’s previous ventures, Catastrophe and Shining Vale, but just as biting.

    Horgan, who adapts the show from a Belgian series, gives herself the opportunity to flex her drama chops as Eva, the de-facto leader of the sisterhood who finds herself in the unfortunate position of being both JP’s sister-in-law and co-worker. Eva clearly detests JP, but it’s not until he humiliates his daughter, with whom Eva shares a special bond, that she considers putting those feelings into action. With JP so clearly positioned the show’s bad guy, Horgan doesn’t have to do much to endear herself to the audience, but as she’s done in the past, the creator and star goes above and beyond as she deftly navigates her character’s conflicting feelings of obligation, loathing, and morality.

    Despite Horgan’s strong presence, Bad Sisters is an ensemble, and performances from Anne-Marie Duff, Eva Birthistle, Sarah Greene, and Eve Hewson only elevate the dark comedy. Much like the Garvey sisters themselves, the actors each bring something different to their respective roles, be it Greene’s jagged edges or Birthistle’s quiet desperation. With so many characters to develop, Bad Sisters is a balancing act, but it succeeds by unfolding like an onion, delivering its story in layers that reveal something new about the five women and their sordid tale.

    Pairs well with

    • Catastrophe (Prime Video), Sharon Horgan’s acclaimed series about the compromises we make for our loved ones.
    • The Lake, Prime Video's spiky comedy about a morally compromised family. (Read our review)
    • Knives Out, starring Daniel Craig as a master detective investigating the mysterious death of the patriarch of a wealthy, dysfunctional family. (Available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon)

  • Bad Sisters
    Premieres on Apple TV+ August 19, 2022. New episodes Fridays through October 14th.
    Created by: Sharon Horgan. Based on the Belgian series Clan
    Starring: Sharon Horgan, Anne-Marie Duff, Eva Birthistle, Sarah Greene, Eve Hewson, Claes Bang, Brian Gleeson, and Daryl McCormack.
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    TOPICS: Bad Sisters, Apple TV+, Anne-Marie Duff, Brian Gleeson, Claes Bang, Daryl McCormack, Eva Birthistle, Eve Hewson, Sarah Greene, Sharon Horgan, Sharon Horgan