‘Echoes’ and ‘Bad Sisters’ rreview: Michelle Monahan and Sharon Horgan star in streaming sibling mysteries


In an ideal signal of the peak-TV instances, a single Friday brings a pair of thriller sequence dedicated to sisters and their distinctive bonds, together with one with (sort-of) evil twins. “Echoes” begins with promise upon which it doesn’t ship, whereas “Bad Sisters” – too lengthy, however satisfying on the finish – performs just like the never-made third season of “Big Little Lies,” the place the actually “bad” particular person is the abusive husband who winds up useless.

Starring Michelle Monahan in a dizzying twin position, “Echoes” options similar twins Leni and Gina, who’ve spent years perfecting the strangest sister act conceivable: Going away collectively for his or her birthday annually, then buying and selling locations to spend the subsequent 12 months dwelling one another’s lives.

When one in every of them goes lacking, nevertheless, it opens a door not solely to probably exposing the ruse however raises thorny questions on their previous, which comes dripping out in a sequence of flashbacks – together with the dying of their mom and a deadly fireplace – and attracts the eye of the native sheriff (Karen Robinson), the one character who appears to be having any enjoyable.

Produced by “13 Reasons Why’s” Brian Yorkey, “Echoes” encompasses a stable forged, together with Matt Bomer and Daniel Sunjata because the twins’ respective husbands, and Michael O’Neill as their stoic however involved dad.

As is so typically true of those excessive ideas, although, the sequence feels more and more tortured down the stretch, to the purpose the place the alternating which-sister-did-what beats don’t essentially grow to be tough to comply with however moderately problem your endurance when it comes to being motivated to strive. That’s regardless of Monahan’s newest addition to the lengthy checklist of actors who’ve carried out each side of a dialog to some stunt double.

Netflix will get plenty of mileage out of those sort of mysteries, however for all its contortionist-worthy twists and turns, “Echoes” begins trying like an attractive plunge and doesn’t fairly pull itself out of the shallow finish of that gene pool.

“Bad Sisters,” in the meantime, is a way more intricate assemble, however boils all the way down to a easy query: Who and what killed the horrible husband of one in every of 5 unusually shut sisters, all of whom have motive to despise him separate from the truth that they hate the best way he treats their sibling?

Created by and co-starring Sharon Horgan (“Catastrophe”) because the eldest of the bunch, the present additionally options Eva Birthistle, Sarah Greene and Eve Hewson because the plotting quartet.

Nonetheless, the pivotal position belongs to Claes Bang (“The Northman,” “Dracula”) because the quietly loathsome John Paul, who torments his spouse (Anne-Marie Duff) and quietly plots to hurt and undermine her siblings, together with Horgan’s Eva, with whom he works.

Darkly humorous, the present operates in numerous time frames, with the later half involving a pair of insurance coverage brokers (Brian Gleeson, Daryl McCormack) satisfied that foul play was concerned in John Paul’s demise. Sadly for them, John Paul is such a dedicated jerk the sisters aren’t alone in having motive to wish to see him out of the image.

There’s an virtually Rasputin-like high quality to the sisters’ initially hapless efforts, with Eva at one level noting – when somebody proposes staging a work-related accident – “What are we gonna do, paper cut him to death?”

Tailored from a Belgian sequence, the story drags a bit an excessive amount of alongside the best way, getting misplaced amid a maze of facet alleys and subplots. And whereas these threads come collectively effectively on the end, probably the most apt latest comparability could be one other Apple entry, “The Afterparty,” which additionally contained intriguing twists however took too lengthy to disgorge its secrets and techniques.

For all that, “Bad Sisters” offers a stronger payoff than “Echoes” and feels much less far-fetched, which matches a great distance in serving to justify the funding. Within the realm of streaming, as with household, these are the sort of ties that bind.

“Echoes” and “Bad Sisters” premiere Aug. 19 on Netflix and Apple TV+, respectively. Disclosure: My spouse works for a unit of Apple.