“Bad Sisters” is a sinister mystery from the beginning. In the opening scene we see Grace (Anne-Marie Duff) chopping onions as she weeps. But is she crying because of the onions, or the dead husband parked in her living room, wearing pajamas and sporting an erection she’ll have to hide from guests arriving for his funeral? That husband’s name is John Paul (Claes Bang) and he’s introduced to us as “The Prick.” He’s a jerk and Grace and her four sisters have reason to kill him, hence the plot of this devilishly fun family drama on Apple TV+.
The witty and darkly comedic murder mystery series certainly induces laughter, but will compete in drama categories at the upcoming Golden Globes and SAG Awards. Emmy nominee and BAFTA Award-winning creator and star Sharon Horgan developed the 10-episode series that debuted globally with the first two episodes on Friday, August 19 and concluded Friday, October 14.
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The tight-knit Garvey sisters have always looked out for each other. When their brother-in-law winds up dead, his life insurers launch an investigation to prove malicious intent — and set their sights on the sisters, all of whom had ample reason to kill him. In addition to Duff and Horgan, the “Bad Sisters” ensemble cast is led by Eva Birthistle, Sarah Greene and Eve Hewson as the Garvey sisters.
Bang, Brian Gleeson, Daryl McCormack, Assaad Bouab and newcomer Saise Quinn round out the ensemble. The Irish tale could be of interest to members of the Hollywood Foreign Press, whose Golden Globe Awards will return to TV this winter. Although it’s submitted as a drama, “Bad Sisters” has drawn comparisons to “Desperate Housewives” and “Dead to Me,” both of which had successful awards runs.
“Housewives” fared particularly well at the Globes, scoring 12 bids throughout its run, winning Best Comedy in 2005 and 2006, with a matching Best Actress win for Teri Hatcher in ’05. The series had eight SAG Awards nominations, winning Best Comedy Ensemble and Best Actress for Hatcher in 2005. In 2006 it repeated in Best Comedy Series, with Felicity Huffman taking Best Actress. The series also won seven Primetime Emmys, including Best Actress in a Comedy for Huffman.
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“Dead to Me” scored a Golden Globe nomination for its star Christina Applegate in 2019, which was followed up with a Best Actress bid at the SAG Awards that same year. In 2020 the acting guild liked the show even more, nominating both Applegate and Linda Cardellini for Best Actress and adding a Best Comedy Ensemble nom as well. The series was nominated for five Primetime Emmys, including two for Applegate and one for Cardellini.
Both of the shows mentioned featured female ensembles with a dark, twisted humor. Can “Bad Sisters” follow in their path? The freshman series currently holds a perfect 100% freshness rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. The 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.” It’s certainly one to watch out for, especially at the Golden Globes, where they often toss a few shockaroos into their lineup — 2018’s “Bodyguard,” 2020’s “Ratched” and 2021’s “Lupin” come to mind.
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