TV Review: The Sister

Not even with Neil Cross writing and Russell Tovey and Bertie Carvel starring can I recommend the dullness of TV show The Sister

“You know how these things can spiral out of control”

With Neil Cross (he of Luther) adapting his own novel and a cast led by Russell Tovey and Bertie Carvel, plus Amanda Root lower down the bill, hopes were high for new ITV drama The Sister but boy, were they crushed. Sadly, I think it is one of the dullest shows I’ve seen in ages, rivalled only by Roadkill which I’m struggling through at the same time.

Stripped over a week, this four-parter follows Tovey’s Nathan, whose apparent marital bliss is shattered by the arrival of Carvel’s Bob, a sinister figure from his past with whom he shares some dark secrets. Namely, that after a particularly intoxicated New Year’s Eve involving a random hookup, said hookup ended up dead and buried in the forest.

What follows is the kind of credulity-straining coincidences that characterise so many mysteries but which, when the right tone is struck, you’re more than inclined to forgive. So Nathan is now married to Amrita Acharia’s Holly, who just happens to be Elise’s sister (the hookup). And Holly’s best friend is Jackie (the excellent Nina Toussaint-White) who just happens to be one of the police officers who investigated the disappearance.

This would all be fine if The Sister was carried off with a devilish panache but the truth is that Niall MacCormick’s direction leaves it all deathly dull. The fragmented timeline doesn’t offer anything unique and overall it is nowhere near vivid enough to give dramatic thrills, the writing is too perfunctory to garner emotional connection. Tovey leans hard into his everyman schtick but he can’t invest the whiny Nathan with any kind of redeeming quality to make you care. One to skip I’m afraid.

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