Strange to think that for all the focus on appealing to female viewers, primetime dramas were mostly coed affairs for decades. There was always a man or two in the mix that steered the storylines. Even if a female character was in the driver seat, an actor was telling her when to turn. The ceiling had been busted in sitcoms with The Lucy Show and smashed with Golden Girls. Sisters changed that dynamic when it debuted in the spring of 1991. The show featured four adult age sisters and they were the focus of the episodes. This show dared to explore the bonds in a family with only girls. Sisters: Seasons One & Two let the Reed sisters be themselves amongst themselves.
Right off the bat the show declares its center being the female characters. ” ” opens in the steam room of the workout center. This is a place that no man is allowed. There is a sense of special space with the Reed sisters wrapped in towels and hot mist. They are able to be themselves since they have so little to hide behind. The four sisters were all given male nicknames by their father who recently departed. Alexandra “Alex” (Mike & Me‘s including an ex-husband who was TV’s original Bruce Jenner. Theodora “Teddy” (CSI:NY‘s Sela Ward) is a recovering alcoholic with a rather twisted relationship involving one sister and a mutual lover. Georgiana “Georgie” (thirtysomething‘s Patricia Kalember) is the sister that can balance being a mother with her career in real estate. She is not perfect and takes failure hard. Francesca “Frankie” (Fletch Lives‘ Julianne Phillips) is the youngest sister that’s a complete workoholic. Phillips is also known for being the first wife of Bruce Springsteen.
The first season was rather short seven episodes, but sets up the bonds between the sisters that keep them tight and gets them riled easily. A year after their father’s death, the mother (Elizabeth Hoffman) is selling the family house and moving a condo for older folks who can take care of themselves. The change gets to her. The sisters unite to help her although this is when things get uncomfortable. Turns out one sister is getting involved with another’s lover. This nearly derails the reunion. While the show wasn’t a massive hit, Sisters quickly developed a devoted following. This doesn’t stop them from a second season. There’s a lot of conflict and bonding between the Reeds. The series proves there’s a lot to tap from the lives of the sisters without making them merely wives of the main characters.
Sisters works on the atmosphere established by thirtysomething without becoming a clone. The four actresses have the push and pull dynamics that make it seem more real than watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians. The show makes us understand that while there were guys on the screen, the sisters were primary to each other. This helped keep the show going for six seasons. Sisters: Seasons One and Two is more believable than current reality shows that claim they’re about women.
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The series appears to have been finished on standard definition video back in 1991. The resolution does bring out the ’90s hair and fashion. The audio is Dolby Digital Stereo. They do a good job mixing the light echo found in the steam bath.
Interview with Creators Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman is a three part discussion that covers every element of the production. The topics include Thinks Backs: The Sister’s Story (29:24), Casting Sisters to Success (29:44) and Challenges and Conclusions (28:52). The talk will illuminate fans of the show.
Shout! Factory presents Sisters: Seasons One and Two. Starring: Swoosie Kurtz, Sela Ward, Patricia Kalember and Julianne Phillips. Boxset Contents: 29 Episodes on 7 DVDs. Released: September 15, 2015.