Apple’s ‘Bad Sisters,’ Get ‘Sprung’ on Freevee, A Medical Misinformation ‘Superspreader,’ Double Trouble in ‘Echoes’
Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe) is one of the Bad Sisters plotting murder in a macabre dark comedy. Raising Hope’s Garret Dillahunt and Martha Plimpton reunite in the wacky caper Sprung. The New York Times Presents series exposes the methods of an anti-vax misinformation huckster. Netflix’s Echoes traps twins (played by Michelle Monaghan) in a spooky missing-persons plot.
The family that slays together—or tries to—stays together in a macabre dark farce from Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe), based on a Belgian series. She plays Eva, the eldest of five Garvey sisters in Ireland, who would kill for her sibs. Turns out they all have the murder gene, with a common enemy: Jean-Paul (a deliciously smug Claes Bang), the cruel and manipulative husband of timid sister Grace (Anne-Marie Duff). The humor in Bad Sisters derives from the elaborate ruses the Garveys contrive to rid them of their foe, which invariably collapse. “I swear to God, you’d have an easier time offing the bloody Road Runner,” Eva laments. It’s not a spoiler to reveal John Paul meets his maker—a sight gag establishes that in the opening scene—but who done it? And how? And can the sisters evade the snoopy insurance agent trying to expose their cover-up? Getting the answers to these questions reminds us there are few things more satisfying than a guilt-free guilty pleasure. (Premieres with two episodes, the rest following weekly.)
An even wackier caper takes place in the early days of the pandemic, when non-violent prison inmates Jack (Garret Dillahunt), Rooster (Phillip Garcia) and Gloria (Shakira Barrera) are given early release and end up sheltering-in-place in the home of Rooster’s petty-criminal mom, Barb (Martha Plimpton). Jack is a soft-hearted soul who yearns to go straight, but he reluctantly joins this ad hoc gang, trying to find a way to do good while breaking bad. This is the latest offbeat comedy from Greg Garcia (My Name Is Earl, Raising Hope), and it’s fun to watch Hope co-stars Dillahunt and Plimpton play off each other again, in wildly different yet still over-the-top comic roles. (Premieres with two episodes, the remainder following weekly.)
A new edition of The New York Times Presents docuseries is enough to make you sick. Superspreader is an exposé of Dr. Joseph Mercola, an influencer and huckster who’s the very model of a modern snake-oil salesman, profiting off the cures he markets on his website while spreading insidious misinformation about vaccines and modern medicine. “He’s selling mistrust and skepticism, and he’s recognized there’s a great demand and a great market for what he’s selling,” a magazine journalist observes. How this guy hasn’t gone into politics yet is a mystery—although the way he plays on fears indicates he already kind of has.
This is the kind of role Bette Davis lived to play—and she did twice, as identical twins in A Stolen Life (1946) and Dead Ringer (1964). Now it’s Mission: Impossible’s Michelle Monaghan in the spotlight, as twins Leni and Gina in a seven-part thriller available for binge-watching. When we meet them, Leni and Gina have been playing a dangerous game for years, swapping in and out of each other’s lives without letting their husbands and family in on the secret. So what to do when one of them mysteriously vanishes?
Inside Friday TV:
- RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race (8/7c, VH1): The remaining undercover celebs get down tonight to groovy dance anthems in hopes of staying in the glam game.
- Secret Celebrity Renovation (8/7c, CBS): Her show (B Positive) may have been canceled, but delightful Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford is still accentuating the positive, when she heads back to her Denver childhood roots to spiff up her parents’ home. She gets her own theatrical surprise before the renovation is over.
- The Rehearsal (11/10c, HBO): Nathan Fielder’s bizarre social experiment, coaching people on how to prepare for major moments in their real lives, ends its first season with a “Pretend Daddy” scenario.
On the Stream:
- Good Sex (streaming on discovery+): Now that I have your attention…this docuseries follows sex coach Caitlin V. as she counsels five couples on their troubled sex lives. Her methodology: putting cameras in the bedroom and then reviewing the tapes with her clients to figure out what’s going wrong.
- Also new to discovery+: a CNN Originals hub featuring premium library CNN content including true-crime, food, travel and cultural programming. Titles include Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy, The History of the Sitcom, United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell, This Is Life with Lisa Ling and The Hunt with John Walsh.
- Making the Cut (streaming on Prime Video): Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are back for a third season of the fashion competition, with 10 designers tackling challenges, including in the two-episode opener an evening-wear look and an activewear collection. Nicole Richie and Jeremy Scott are the full-time judges deciding who’ll ultimately win $1 million and a mentorship with Amazon Fashion.
- The Department of Defense Warrior Games (6 pm/ET, streaming on ESPN+): Jon Stewart hosts the opening ceremonies of the competition, first held in 2010, that gives wounded, ill and injured active-duty and veteran military service members an opportunity to participate in adaptive sporting events including wheelchair basketball and rugby, indoor rowing, powerlifting and more. The games continue through Aug. 28.
- Orphan: First Kill (streaming on Paramount+): A prequel to the 2009 horror film Orphan depicts creepy imposter Esther’s (Isabelle Fuhrman) first reign of terror on an American family, with Julia Stiles and Rossif Sutherland as the understandably concerned parents.