This show contains depictions of domestic and animal abuse and familial death.
(Apple TV+) BAD SISTERS has a very simple premise: five orphaned sisters, held together by the eldest, realize that the husband of the second eldest is actively trying to undermine their sisterhood, and they take action to try to get her back into the fold.
Under the surface, it’s a fraught story of power, age, and personality dynamics. Apart from EVIL, I haven’t seen another show tackle the disparity of so many interpersonal sibling personas with such tact. There’s a well-worn cadence between all of them — a familiarity but also distancing at times — that feels so incredibly authentic while they’re basically trying to erase this avenging angel of a man — John Paul Williams (the ever tall Claes Bang) — from splintering them.
As standard with ensemble pieces like this, casting needs to be perfect, and thankfully the show is masterminded by the terrific multi-faceted Sharon Horgan (CATASTROPHE), who also leads in it, alongside her sisters who are a litany of faces you’ve seen if you’ve watched any European TV in the past ten years: Eve Hewson (THE KNICK), Sarah Greene (NORMAL PEOPLE, DUBLIN MURDERS), Anne-Marie Duff (THE MAGDALENE SISTERS) as John’s unfortunate wife, and more.
It’s also extremely Irish, all lush greens and cliffs and inflections, with brilliant sweeping camera work, and one moment that reminds me of THE DROWNING GIRLS, but I might reading a bit too much into that.
It has been renewed for a second season, but whether that materializes is questionable.
Lastly, make sure to watch the very cleverly constructed title sequence, as it deftly utilizes a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Who By Fire” in a manner that absolutely recalls ELEMENTARY‘s title sequence (although ELEMENTARY is a bit more overt about its MOUSETRAP origins, but BAD SISTERS is doing something a bit different here):