Sharon Horgan’s new AppleTV+ series puts a hilariously dark twist on the classic whodunnit formula.
From Promising Young Women to Big Little Lies, we’re in a golden age of female revenge stories. Looking to add to the ranks is AppleTV+’s new series Bad Sisters. It follows the tight-knit group of sisters who slowly turn on their prick-ish brother-in-law after years of misogynistic torture. It’s a dash of thriller Big Little Lies with a sprinkle of the comedy of 9 to 5, all set in a coastal Irish town.
Bad Sisters follows the tight-knit Garvey sisters Eva (Sharon Horgan), Ursula (Eva Birthistle), Bibi (Sarah Greene), Becka (Eve Hewson), and Grace (Anne-Marie Duff) in the aftermath of the untimely death of Grace’s husband, John (Claes Bang). In flashbacks, we see John as a gaslighting toxic male, putting his wife and her sisters through various forms of abuse. As the series unravels, so do the motives of the Garvey sisters, revealing they may have given nature a “helping hand” in accelerating the demise of the “Prick” (the not-so affectionate nickname they’ve bestowed upon John). Hot on their heels are the brothers Thomas (Brian Gleeson) and Matthew (Daryl McCormick), two insurance investigators hoping to prove fraud to avoid a pricey payout.
The cast of Bad Sisters is fantastic. Anne-Marie Duff plays Grace, the ever-compliant wife of John, with poise and goodwill. It could be easy to turn her into a meek homemaker, but Duff knows how to play with the layers underneath Grace, a wife starting to question her fulfillment in her home. Sarah Greene excels as the bristling Bibi – she’s got an eye patch and a heavy grudge, both at the hands of John, determined to exact some good old-fashioned revenge. Eva Birthistle is great to watch as Ursula, the dutiful housewife and nurse with a salacious secret life of her own. Eve Hewson is fun as the youngest sister Becka; her life is a bit of a hot mess, rebounding from a failed business venture (thanks to John) with an accidental fling with Matthew.
The real star of the show is Sharon Horgan. She’s wearing multiple hats as creator, executive producer, writer, and star of the series. As a performer, she commands every scene as Eva, the older sister who’s the glue keeping the family together. She’s the boozy divorcee who agrees to their murderous schemes under the guise of protecting her sisters from the devious John.
Their murder plots also showcase some classic Horgan humor almost pulled straight from her other series like Catastrophe and Pulling. For example, there’s a moment when Eva and Becka hide from John under a bed. Eva takes a sniff, grimacing as Becka has farted, thus putting their hiding spot in jeopardy. Horgan’s not afraid to unleash some crude comedy to undercut the thriller tension of Bad Sisters.
The cast of Bad Sisters is fantastic.
Based on the original Belgian series Clan (original series creator Malin-Sarah Goetz is also an executive producer on the show), Bad Sisters doesn’t stay far from the source material. Nonetheless, it manages to feel like a lived-in dark Irish comedy. Part of that authenticity is due to the scenic Irish locations. At the iconic and picturesque Forty Foot in Dublin, the sisters dive into the Irish Sea, discuss in hushed tones the pros and cons of getting rid of John, and plot murder. John can’t swim, so there’s no risk of accidentally running into him while swimming. Ironically, the safest place for the sisters is in the icy depths of the sea.
At ten-hour long episodes, Bad Sisters is a slow-burn series, the twists and turns meticulously unfolding as the Garvey sisters plot their revenge. Luckily AppleTV+ is sticking with the weekly release schedule, starting with a two-episode premiere on August 19th (just enough to get viewers hooked). As summer winds down and fall approaches, get ready to curl up with the cozy dark comedy Bad Sisters.
Bad Sisters starts planning Friday, August 19 on AppleTV+.