When you’re with your best friends, you feel unstoppable. Maybe it’s because of one too many margaritas you shared together, the Shania Twain and Taylor Swift music in the background or the non-stop giggles. But no matter what it is, the bond of friendship makes the idea of painting the town red or getting away with murder seem like a mundane task.
Well, that notion is taken quite literally in Apple TV+’s new series “Bad Sisters.” Not only is the phrase “Sisters Before Misters” consistently emphasized, but the show also has touches of true crime and an added dose of dark comedy.
The series, which debuted its first two episodes on Aug. 19, follows the Garvey family (Eva, Becka, Ursula, Bibi and Grace), a group of Irish sisters who have grown very close following the death of their parents. But, recently they have noticed a drastic change in behavior from their sister Grace (Anne-Marie Duff) due to her husband John Paul (Claes Bang) — perfectly described as “The Prick.” Ultimately, the sisters decide to plot their brother-in-law’s murder. With the beginning of the series taking place during John Paul’s funeral service, audiences are still unaware if the sisters succeeded in killing him or if he dies in some other manner — making it a classic whodunit that could also be the best series of the year.
The mastermind of this series is none other than Sharon Horgan, who also helped create “Catastrophe” and the HBO series “Divorce.” As an adaptation to the Belgian series “Clan,” Horgan wrote the show, served as the showrunner and gave a sharp performance as one of the sisters, Eva. Horgan’s first attempt at writing a comedy-thriller was a ferocious success simply because of the series’ effortless combination of drama and comedy. Although murder mystery is the trendiest of genres right now, with “Only Murders in the Building” at the top, “Bad Sisters” takes a different approach and works backward. Most of these series begin with a murder and retrace the steps to who committed the crime, but “Bad Sisters” starts with the motive to kill — with its only lingering question being if the suspect got away with the crime.
“It (the series) felt like the kind of thing I love to do, which is to cross the dark with the light, but it also felt like something I could make my own,” Horgan said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “Even if it’s sci-fi, murder mystery, or horror or comedy, for me, it has to be relatable. Then you can go wherever it wants.”
Not only is Horgan’s writing stellar and full of wit, but the show also maintains its intrigue through the inclusion of a perfect villain. Bang’s performance as John Paul is so compelling that the audience cannot look away — no matter how terrible his character proves to be. Even though JP causes a storm of abuse, unnecessary gaslighting and snark in each of his scenes, he is full of layers that are unlike any other television antagonist. Viewers can see JP in one moment criticizing his sisters-in-law with his cold demeanor, but another minute later he is seen slipping in some mud during a hiking trip.
Obviously with a title like “Bad Sisters,” one would assume the relationship between the sisters to be strong enough to commit a crime together. That couldn’t be more true with this bunch of sisters — Beka the wild child (Eve Hewson), Bibi the one-eyed lesbian (Sarah Greene), Eva the sarcastic accountant (Horgan), Ursula the working mom (Eva Birthistle) and, of course, Grace, the wife of the vile John Paul. Despite their differences in personality, their connection as siblings and friends is what holds them together. And when that connection is in strife, they all strive to fix it (even if that means murdering a person).
With the series releasing eight more episodes in the coming weeks, I am truly enthralled with “Bad Sisters.” The cast, the scenery of Dublin, the folk music and the incomparable writing from Sharon Horgan equal a devilishly fun watch for anyone. Even if you are not a fan of “Dateline” and tend to lean towards sitcom versus drama like myself, “Bad Sisters” is the perfect in-between. Plus, watching the bond of these sisters makes you want to plan the next get-together with your friends — but hopefully, that involves Bloody Mary drinks instead of bloody murder.
New episodes of “Bad Sisters” are available to stream every Friday on Apple TV+.