Bad Sisters
Genre
Based onClan
by Malin-Sarah Gozin
Developed bySharon Horgan and Dave Finkel & Brett Baer
Starring
Opening theme"Who by Fire" by Leonard Cohen, performed by PJ Harvey
Country of origin
  • Ireland
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes10
Production
Executive producers
  • Sharon Horgan
  • Dave Finkel
  • Brett Baer
  • Faye Dorn
  • Clelia Mountford
  • Dearbhla Walsh
  • Bert Hamelinck
  • Michael Sagol
  • Malin-Sarah Gozin
Running time49–58 minutes per episode
Production companies
Original release
NetworkApple TV+
ReleaseAugust 19, 2022 (2022-08-19) –
present (present)

Bad Sisters is an Irish black comedy television series developed by Sharon Horgan, Dave Finkel, and Brett Baer. Set in Dublin and filmed on location in Ireland, it is based on the Flemish series Clan, which was created by Malin-Sarah Gozin. The first two episodes aired on 19 August 2022. Apple TV+ renewed the series for a second season on 8 November 2022.[1]

The series received a positive reception from critics and won a 2022 Peabody Award. It received a leading twelve nominations at the 19th Irish Film & Television Awards, winning four including Best Drama, and received the British Academy Television Award for Best Drama Series at the 2023 BAFTA Awards alongside two additional wins. The series received four nominations at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Horgan.

Premise

The five Garvey sisters—Eva, Grace, Ursula, Bibi, and Becka—live in present-day Dublin. After Grace's abusive, controlling husband John Paul dies unexpectedly, the sisters find themselves at the centre of a life insurance investigation. The series flips between timelines—one before John Paul's death, in which Grace's sisters plot to murder their brother-in-law, and another after his death, in which a determined insurance agent tries to prove the sisters' malicious involvement to save his struggling business.

Cast

Main

Recurring

Episodes

No.TitleDirected byTeleplay byOriginal release date
1"The Prick"Dearbhla WalshSharon Horgan and Dave Finkel & Brett BaerAugust 19, 2022 (2022-08-19)
In a flashback, the Garvey sisters hold a holiday party at Eva's house, where John Paul insults and angers almost everyone. The next day, he refuses to let Grace meet her sisters at the Forty Foot for the Garvey family's annual Christmas morning swim. The other sisters lament how much Grace has changed due to "the prick" John Paul. When Ursula says John Paul will die eventually of natural causes, Bibi says they could "give nature a helping hand." The sisters jokingly suggest ways to kill their brother-in-law. In the present, the sisters gather for John Paul's funeral. Running late, Becka steps in front of a motorcyclist, Matt, causing him to swerve and crash. Matt and his half-brother Tom, insurance agents for John Paul's life insurance policy, attend the funeral and talk to Grace and her sisters. Matt later meets Becka again at a bar, not realizing she is Grace's sister, and she gives him her number. Tom explains to Matt that the family business will go bankrupt if they have to pay out on John Paul's substantial life insurance policy. The Claffin brothers must prove foul play in order to avoid a payout.
2"Explode a Man"Dearbhla WalshDave Finkel & Brett BaerAugust 19, 2022 (2022-08-19)
In flashback, Ursula has sex with her photography instructor Ben. Walking through Dublin afterwards, Ursula and Ben meet John Paul, who regards them with suspicion. Eva takes Blánaid shopping in advance of her confirmation ceremony. John Paul later notices a bra in Blánaid's bedroom and confronts Grace about buying inappropriate lingerie for a child. Blánaid reveals she asked her aunt Eva to buy her a bra because she couldn't ask her parents. At the confirmation after-party, John Paul accuses Eva of sexualising and grooming Blánaid, while Grace accuses Eva of stealing her moment by buying her daughter's first bra. John Paul mocks Eva's infertility and calls her a "frigid bitch." Eva and Bibi then plot to blow up John Paul while he is staying at his remote cabin in Wicklow after a hiking trip. Eva buys concert tickets for Grace and Blánaid to see Lizzo on the same night. When they believe John Paul to be asleep, Eva and Bibi sneak into the cabin, turn on the gas, and light a candle. The cabin soon explodes and they hear John Paul screaming. Unable to sleep due to his painfully blistered feet, he went outside to call Eva and was unharmed. In the present time, Matt and Tom interview Grace and suspect that she is hiding something.
3"Chopped Liver"Dearbhla WalshSharon HorganAugust 26, 2022 (2022-08-26)
In the present, Matt and Tom interview Ursula. In flashback scenes, John Paul spies on Ursula as she emerges from a hotel with Ben and kisses him. John Paul confronts her, threatening to tell her husband Donal unless she ends the affair. When Ursula tells Eva and Bibi, they reveal their murder plot, but Ursula declines to become involved. At the family's Easter gathering, John Paul furtively checks Ursula's phone and finds a sexting exchange with Ben. After changing Ben's number in her phone to his own, he tricks Ursula into sending him a nude photo. He forwards the image and her sexting messages to Donal. Ursula races to the hospital where she and Donal work, retrieves his phone from his locker, and deletes the messages before Donal can read them. After this incident, Ursula commits to Eva and Bibi's plan and acquires poison to make John Paul's death look like cardiac arrest. Eva switches poisoned liver with the liver in Grace's fridge, knowing Grace and Blánaid will be unharmed because only John Paul eats it. However, Grace drops the liver on the floor while preparing dinner and feeds it to their dog. The next morning, Grace tearfully calls Eva to tell her the dog has died. In the present, Becka and Matt go on a date and kiss.
4"Baby Becka"Josephine BornebuschKaren CoganSeptember 2, 2022 (2022-09-02)
In flashback, Becka pitches her massage therapy business plan to John Paul and is delighted when he agrees to help her. Resenting their neighbor Roger's frequent visits, John Paul joins an online forum for Roger's church group, posing as a 10-year-old boy. Blánaid criticizes Grace for having no job or pursuits outside the home, unlike her friends' mothers. Minna shows Becka an old photo album containing pictures of John Paul dressed in his sister's clothes; Becka learns that John Paul used to drown frogs in milk. After Becka puts a non-refundable deposit for a studio rental on her credit card, John Paul sends Grace to tell Becka that he never intended to help her financially. Upset by John Paul's betrayal, Becka talks to Ursula, who tells Becka about her affair and how John Paul tricked her into sending him a nude photo. After John Paul and Grace lose a pub quiz to Eva and Bibi, John Paul publicly castigates Grace. Becka confronts John Paul about the loan in the pub toilets. After the other sisters learn that John Paul has a nude photo of Ursula, Eva confronts him and breaks his phone. Eva reluctantly agrees that Becka can become involved in the plot to kill John Paul. In the present, Matt and Tom go to meet with the youngest Garvey sister to inquire about John Paul's death; Becka and Matt are both surprised to see each other.
5"Eye for an Eye"Josephine BornebuschAilbhe KeoganSeptember 9, 2022 (2022-09-09)
The Garvey sisters are invited to go paintballing for John Paul's birthday. Flashing further back, John Paul drives recklessly to terrify Bibi, knowing her parents died in a car accident. John Paul crashes the car, costing Bibi her right eye and leaving him with a hole in the back of his skull. Bibi, a decorated archer, plots to kill John Paul by shooting frozen paintballs through the soft spot in the back of his head. While she is aiming, Becka pushes her. Bibi misses John Paul and blinds another man in one eye. She is devastated to have inflicted the same injury on someone else. Eva goes on dates with her coworker Gabriel. They go back to Gabriel's houseboat and kiss, but when Eva moves to undress, Gabriel confesses he is gay. In the present, Matt and Tom interview Bibi, whose wife Nora reveals they both hated John Paul. Tom's wife tells Matt how to access a locked drawer at the Claffin & Sons office, where he discovers his father's suicide note. Having believed his father died of an accidental overdose, Matt angrily punches Tom for concealing this information and the brothers argue. Tom reveals that their father used his clients' insurance premiums to fund his lifestyle, without filing their policies. John Paul's policy, with a death benefit of €875,000, has never been filed.
6"Splash"Josephine BornebuschDaniel CullenSeptember 16, 2022 (2022-09-16)
John Paul returns home to see Grace dancing in their garden with their single neighbor, Roger. John Paul makes an anonymous complaint that Roger is a paedophile, which leads to Gardai arresting and questioning Roger and seizing his computer. The Garvey sisters come up with a new plan to drug John Paul and have him drown in his bathtub. They sneak into his house and drug his nasal spray; he returns early, which forces them to hide. After he takes the nasal spray, he passes out on his bed. The sisters prepare to move him into the bathtub, when he awakes suddenly. In a drugged state, he urinates in his closet, then gets into his car and drives to the marina. The sisters watch as he gets onto his boat, but falls overboard.
7"Rest in Peace"Rebecca GatwardPerrie BalthazarSeptember 23, 2022 (2022-09-23)
The sisters watch as Gabriel, from his nearby houseboat, dives into the water and rescues John Paul, who later awakens in a hospital under suspicion of trying to commit suicide. He insists that someone is trying to kill him. John Paul returns to work, where he and Eva interview for the same promotion. John Paul tells Gerald about Eva's previous mental health struggles and alcoholism in an attempt to convince him not to give her the promotion. Becka gives a massage to Minna, John Paul's mother, when she mentions the freezer in their basement that John Paul always goes to. After Minna falls asleep, Becka investigates the walk-in freezer, where she finds the frozen corpse of George, John Paul's father, hidden beneath taxidermy specimens. In the present, Thomas convinces Inspector Loftus to approve the exhumation of John Paul's corpse. He tells Matt to stay away from Becka. Matt ignores Becka's calls and stands her up on their date plans.
8"The Cold Truth"Rebecca GatwardPaul HowardSeptember 30, 2022 (2022-09-30)
In a flashback, John Paul visits his father George, who is working in his basement taxidermy studio. John Paul asks for a loan of several thousand euros to meet expenses, but his father refuses. George then begins choking on a glass taxidermy eyeball. John Paul considers performing the Heimlich maneuver, but instead lets George die and hides the body in the walk-in freezer. Becka decides to kill John Paul by locking him in the same freezer. At work, John Paul gets the promotion over Eva, which causes Gabriel to confront John Paul. John Paul, who had observed Gabriel on a date with another man, tells Gabriel that Eva had revealed that he is gay. Upset, Gabriel leaves work and tells Eva he does not wish to speak to her. Becka hides in a closet, and when she sees someone go in the freezer, she locks the door. In the present, Inspector Loftus and a Garda team exhume John Paul's body. Matt visits Becka, who tells him she sat home the previous night waiting for him. They then share that they have real feelings for each other and initiate sex, but Matt cannot achieve an erection. When he goes to the kitchen for a glass of water, Becka checks his phone and sees a text from Thomas saying that John Paul's body has been dug up. Becka rushes to the cemetery, where she sees the Garda team around John Paul's grave. She alerts Eva, Ursula, and Bibi, who panic and worry about going to prison. Eva finds out that Becka has been sleeping with Matt Claffin and quarrels with Becka and her other sisters.
9"Going Rogue"Rebecca GatwardSharon Horgan & Ailbhe KeoganOctober 7, 2022 (2022-10-07)
John Paul arrives at a gathering at Eva's house, and Becka realizes that she did not lock him in the freezer. She races to Minna's house, only to find that Minna was frozen to death in the freezer. Becka escapes and watches John Paul discover his mother's body; he moves it to her bed and calls the police to say that she had died in her sleep. He hides his father's body in the pond behind their house. Becka is distraught, and believes that she killed Minna. John Paul and Grace go up to their newly-rebuilt cabin and invite the rest of the Garvey sisters to meet up with them the following day. The sisters all go their separate ways, and wake up with suspicious circumstances. They go to the cabin, where they find a crying Grace saying that John Paul is dead.
10"Saving Grace"Rebecca GatwardSharon HorganOctober 14, 2022 (2022-10-14)
John Paul and Grace have a night in. While there, Roger arrives and confronts John Paul, saying that he knows it was him who framed him for paedophilia. Roger says he forgives John Paul and walks away; Grace sees him through the window. Grace and John Paul have dinner and she attempts to have sex with him; when he refuses, he blames his erectile dysfunction on when Eva seduced him. He reveals that he raped Eva but attempted to blame her. Grace grabs his pyjamas and strangles him. She goes downstairs and begins knitting; she watches the film Isadora, where Isadora Duncan is killed by her scarf becoming entangled in the axle of her car. She and Roger dress John Paul, put him on an all-terrain-vehicle, and wrap a scarf around his neck and the axle, making it look like that was his cause of death. She admits this to her sisters. Matt, investigating the death, finds the movie and the yarn, and realizes how John Paul's death was staged. Becka attempts to commit suicide over guilt in Minna's death, but her sisters stop her. They discuss how Grace killed John Paul, only for Matt to overhear their conversation. He burns the evidence, and they agree to not make a claim on their life insurance policy. Grace and Blánaid move in with Eva.

Production

Development

In September 2021, it was officially announced Sharon Horgan would co-write, produce and star in a series for Apple TV+ developed by her production company Merman. The series, which had a working title of Emerald, was an adaptation of the Belgian series Clan.[2][3] Malin-Sarah Gozin, the creator of Clan, joined the project as an executive producer alongside Bert Hamelinck and Michael Sagol for the Belgian Caviar Films. Other producers were Faye Dorn and Clelia Mountford for Merman as well as Brett Baer and Dave Finkel.[3] The series was created as part of Horgan's Apple TV+ deal.[4]

Casting

The cast was initially believed to include Assaad Bouab, Eve Hewson, and Brendan Gleeson in early reports.[2] The cast was later confirmed in March 2022, with Anne-Marie Duff, Eva Birthistle, and Sarah Greene, and Hewson set to star alongside Horgan. Claes Bang, Brian Gleeson, Daryl McCormack, Bouab, and Saise Quinn complete the ensemble.[5]

Filming

Principal photography took place in 2021. Cast and crew were reported filming in and around Dublin at locations such as Sandycove, the Forty Foot, Howth, and Malahide in August. They would also film in Belfast.[6]

Title sequence

The title sequence depicts a physical Rube Goldberg style machine made from dangerous objects and props from the show that foreshadow narrative elements in the main storyline.[7] The sequence was mostly hand-made,[7] designed and made by Peter Anderson Studio.[8][9] The theme music is a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Who by Fire" performed by PJ Harvey.[10]

Reception

Critical response

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 100% approval rating with an average rating of 8.2/10, based on 52 critic reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "Dark secrets are a family affair in Bad Sisters, a riotously funny murder mystery that makes fine use of its gifted ensemble while exemplifying creator and star Sharon Horgan's penchant for salty warmth."[11] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 79 out of 100 based on 22 critics, indicating "generally favourable reviews".[12] IndieWire graded it B and says:

Aside from a few minor red herrings, "Bad Sisters" sets a trajectory and sticks to it for much of the run. As a dramedy of errors, "Bad Sisters" doesn't always feel like the freshest or most elegant execution. But as a family showcase, the engine is there to power this show through an ordeal of any length.[13]

The Hollywood Reporter called it "Fun but Empty" and said:

...it's a bit of an oddity — easy to breeze through but a little too mordant to be sincere, a little too heavy to be hilarious, a little too sour to be purely fun.[14]

The Atlantic called it "a semi-comic murder caper" and said:

The setup of Bad Sisters is deliberately absurd, a throwback to sillier shows such as Desperate Housewives and Why Women Kill. The ease with which the Garvey sisters decide to kill John Paul, and their resoluteness when their attempts repeatedly and catastrophically fail, are pure fantasy.[15]

Variety said:

Bad Sisters is less about the mystery than its cutting, empathetic take on all the relationships that tangled into such an overwhelming knot along the way.[16]

Accolades

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2023 Peabody Award Entertainment Bad Sisters Won [17]
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Drama Series Bad Sisters Nominated [18]
Best Actress in a Drama Series Sharon Horgan Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards New Series Brett Baer, Dave Finkel, and Sharon Horgan Nominated [19]
Episodic Drama Sharon Horgan, Dave Finkel, and Brett Baer (for "The Prick") Nominated
Royal Television Society Programme Awards Writer – Drama Sharon Horgan Nominated [20]
British Academy Television Awards Best Drama Series Sharon Horgan, Dearbhla Walsh, Faye Dorn, Brett Baer, Dave Finkel, Johann Knobel Won [21]
Best Supporting Actress Anne-Marie Duff Won
British Academy Television Craft Awards Best Director: Fiction Dearbhla Walsh Nominated
Best Scripted Casting Nina Gold, Lucy Amos Nominated
Best Titles & Graphic Identity Peter Anderson Studio Won
Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards Best Streaming Series, Drama Bad Sisters Nominated [22]
Best Actress in a Streaming Series, Drama Sharon Horgan Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Streaming Series, Drama Anne-Marie Duff Nominated
Eve Hewson Nominated
Hollywood Critics Association Creative Arts TV Awards Best Casting in a Drama Series Bad Sisters Nominated
Irish Film & Television Awards Television Drama Won [23]
Director – Television Drama Dearbhla Walsh Won
Script – Television Drama Sharon Horgan Nominated
Actress – Television Drama Won
Supporting Actor – Television Drama Brian Gleeson Nominated
Daryl McCormack Nominated
Michael Smiley Nominated
Supporting Actress – Television Drama Eva Birthistle Nominated
Anne-Marie Duff Won
Eve Hewson Nominated
Sarah Greene Nominated
Production Design Mark Geraghty Nominated
Ivor Novello Awards Best Television Soundtrack PJ Harvey and Tim Phillips Nominated [24]
2024 Artios Awards Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Television Drama Pilot or First Season Nina Gold Pending [25]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Sharon Horgan Nominated [26]
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series Dearbhla Walsh (for "The Prick") Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Sharon Horgan, Dave Finkel and Brett Baer ("The Prick") Nominated
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series Nina Gold and Lucy Amos Nominated

References

  1. ^ Porter, Rick (8 November 2022). "'Bad Sisters' Renewed for Season 2 at Apple TV+". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 8 November 2022.
  2. ^ a b Richardson, Jay (21 September 2021). "Sharon Horgan writes and stars in Apple TV+ series Emerald". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  3. ^ a b Otterson, Joe (21 September 2021). "Sharon Horgan to Star in, Co-Write, and Produce Apple Dark Comedy Series". Variety. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  4. ^ Clarke, Stewart (19 December 2019). "'Catastrophe' Creator Sharon Horgan Cuts Exclusive First-Look Deal With Apple". Variety. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  5. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (24 March 2022). "Sharon Horgan's Dark Comedy Series For Apple TV+ Reveals Title, Cast & First-Look Image". Deadline. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  6. ^ Falvey, Deirdre (11 August 2021). "Is that Sharon Horgan in the Forty Foot? 'Swim to her!'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  7. ^ a b Frazbelina (14 October 2022). "Bad Sisters Ending Explained". IGN Southeast Asia. Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  8. ^ "Bad Sisters Title Seqeunce". Peter Anderson Studio. Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  9. ^ Gilbert, Matthew (22 September 2022). "As title sequences go, 'Bad Sisters' is in good company". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  10. ^ Ryan, Gary (1 July 2022). "Sharon Horgan on working with PJ Harvey for new 'Bad Sisters' theme". NME. Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  11. ^ "Bad Sisters: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  12. ^ "Bad Sisters: Season 1". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved 26 August 2022.
  13. ^ Greene, Steve (19 August 2022). "'Bad Sisters' Review: Sharon Horgan's Murder Mystery Is a Sharp Family Story Spread a Little Thin". IndieWire. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  14. ^ Han, Angie (16 August 2022). "'Bad Sisters' Review: Sharon Horgan's Apple TV+ Series Is Fun but Empty". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  15. ^ Gilbert, Sophie (1 September 2022). "The Wrath of a Woman Without Any Options". The Atlantic. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  16. ^ Framke, Caroline (19 August 2022). "With 'Bad Sisters,' Sharon Horgan Smartly Combines 'Big Little Lies' With Irish Wit: TV Review". Variety. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  17. ^ Voyles, Blake (13 September 2023). "83rd Peabody Award Winners". Retrieved 13 September 2023.
  18. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (15 January 2023). "Critics Choice Awards: Full List of Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 16 January 2023. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  19. ^ Coates, Tyler (11 January 2023). "WGA Awards 2023: 'Abbott Elementary,' 'Andor,' 'The Bear' and 'Severance' Among New Series Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 January 2023.
  20. ^ Ramachandran, Naman (28 March 2023). "Kate Winslet, Kit Connor, 'The Traitors' Among Winners at U.K.'s Royal Television Society Awards". Variety. Retrieved 30 March 2023.
  21. ^ Ritman, Alex (22 March 2023). "BAFTA TV Awards: 'This is Going to Hurt,' 'The Responder' Lead Pack of Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 22 March 2023. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  22. ^ Anderson, Erik (11 July 2023). "'The Boys', 'Yellowjackets', 'Abbott Elementary' lead 2023 HCA TV Awards nominations". AwardsWatch. Retrieved 11 July 2023.
  23. ^ ""Bad Sisters" and "Banshees" lead this year's IFTA nominations". IrishCentral. 8 March 2023. Retrieved 8 March 2023.
  24. ^ Ophelia, Maya (18 April 2023). "Nominations announced for The Ivors with Amazon Music 2023". The Ivors Academy. Retrieved 29 May 2024.
  25. ^ Clark, Jason (12 January 2024). "Wonka, Barbie, Oppenheimer, The Iron Claw, Across the Spider-Verse Among Artios Awards Film Nominees". TheWrap. Archived from the original on 14 January 2024. Retrieved 14 January 2024.
  26. ^ "75th Emmy Awards Complete Nominations List" (PDF). Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 12 July 2023.