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'Bad Sisters' Season 1 Review: Five Sisters Try To Survive A Villainous Man In Apple TV+ Dark Comedy

Four of the sisters looking mournful, two are holding flowers
Apple TV+

Don't you worry, the ''prick'' is indeed dead even if you can see the actor—that would be Claes Bang—moving around in the open casket during his character's (known as John Paul/''JP'') funeral scene as the actor is trying hard not to break. How has this middle-aged man died while his wife Grace (Anne-Marie Duff) is mourning beside him? As it turns out, plenty of people had a motive to possibly have killed him, like all of Grace's four sisters; John Paul's colleague and main target Eva (Sharon Horgan, also the showrunner), one-eyed Bibi (Sarah Greene), Ursula (Eva Birthistle) who's having an affair, and massage therapist Becka (Eve Hewson) whom JP screwed over financially. Meanwhile, life insurance agents and brothers Thomas (Brian Gleeson) and Matt Claffin (Daryl McCormack) start investigating the cause of death as the payout would mean demise for their business.

That is the murder mystery that the new dark comedy series Bad Sisters (adaptation of the Belgian series 'Clan') is untangling with its first season. Decisions about continuation of the show are better left for another day as perhaps the biggest compliment you can give for it is that it feels perfectly complete, while slightly bittersweet, at the very end. Horgan and her fellow writers' penmanship is extremely sharp throughout the season as it drives home comedic bits with absurdity while giving every single character a distinct personality, which is highly important when there are this many sisters just in one family. Occasionally, the execution of that writing doesn't exactly translate as well as it could since the direction shatters under the weight of darker subject matters, exemplified in the season finale where the very darkest parts come to light.

Fortunately to repress that tonal imbalance along with the scripts is the truly wonderful cast, assembled flawlessly by Nina Gold and Lucy Amos, where it genuinely would be impossible to point just one or two out without feeling like you've committed a crime yourself.

Combined efforts of writers and actors shine brightest in interactions where no one is trying to solve the mystery; the sisters' conversations feel like they don't need to talk about mundane things and can just cut to the chase, or JP's torment of pretty much everyone seems like it's never his first time and he's just gained more power overtime, especially considering how broken and small Grace is after years of marriage with him. You can also see that escalation in JP and the sisters' resentment really clearly thanks to the editing (contributors include Isobel Stephenson and Catherine Creed) which seamlessly cuts back and forth timelines while also helping to deliver every comedic or thrilling moment as well as possible.

Smileys: Performance by a cast, writing, casting, editing

Frowneys: Tone

When you sign up for paintball but it's just pain-for-the-eyeball.


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