Sisters (TV series)

Sisters (TV series)

infobox television
show_name = Sisters

caption = "Sisters" cast members Julianne Phillips, Patricia Kalember, Sela Ward and Swoosie Kurtz.
format = Drama
runtime = 60 minutes
creator = Ron Cowen
Daniel Lipman
starring = Swoosie Kurtz
Sela Ward
Patricia Kalember
Julianne Phillips
Elizabeth Hoffman
Sheila Kelley
Robert Klein
country = flagicon|US USA
network = NBC
first_aired = May 11, 1991
last_aired = May 4, 1996
num_seasons = 6
num_episodes = 127

"Sisters" is a television drama which aired on NBC for six seasons, from 1991 to 1996. The show debuted on May 11, 1991 for a seven-episode test run and was subsequently renewed for the 1991 fall schedule.


The show revolved around the Reed sisters, who lived in Winnetka, Illinois. Their recently deceased father, a doctor, had been absent and a workaholic, while their long-suffering mother had turned to alcoholism to cope with his neglect and affairs. Having always wanted sons, their father had called the girls by male versions of their full names: Alexandra was called Alex, Theodora was Teddy, Georgianna was Georgie and Francesca was Frankie.

Memorably, for the first few seasons the show began each episode with the sisters' weekly ritual of chatting while taking a steam bath together. [cite news |first=Joy |last=Horowitz |title=The Taming of a TV Series Teaser, Or Less Talk About the Bedroom |url= |work=The New York Times |date= 1991-05-06 |accessdate=2008-01-27] cite news |first=John J. |last=O'Connor |title=Critic's Notebook; After 5 Years of Family Fractiousness, 'Sisters' Exits Elegantly |url= |work=The New York Times |date= 1996-05-04 |accessdate=2008-01-27]

Another unique aspect of the show was that each episode featured a number of flashbacks, in which the characters would interact with their younger selves (played by younger actresses).

Although a drama with soap opera-style storylines, the show was also quirky and offbeat in the style of other shows at the time like "Northern Exposure" or future shows like "Desperate Housewives".

The show was created by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, who went on to adapt "Queer as Folk" for the American market.

Main Characters

Alexandra Reed Halsey Barker (Swoosie Kurtz)

Eldest sister "Alex" was wealthy and somewhat superficial, but remained protective and close to her sisters. Her first marriage was to a wealthy, cross-dressing plastic surgeon (played by David Dukes). She later married Big Al (Robert Klein), an outlandish but likeable appliance retailer who appeared in his own television commercials as "The Appliance King" and later went on to become mayor. She often clashed with her rebellious daughter Reed (played by three different actresses during the show's run: Kathy Wagner, Ashley Judd and Noelle Parker). Alex suffered from breast cancer and then became a TV talk show host.

Theodora Reed (Sela Ward)

Free-spirited second sister Teddy was a fashion designer and recovering alcoholic. Early in the show, she was extremely upset at the marriage of her ex-husband Mitch (Ed Marinaro) to her sister Frankie. In the pilot episode, she even attempted to break up their wedding in a drunken fit of jealousy by using a shotgun. Later, however, they became close friends. She had one daughter, Cat (Heather MacAdam), whose major storyline was that she got raped while at college. Teddy had long-term relationships with several men, including British millionaire Simon Bolt (Mark Frankel), police detective Falconer (George Clooney) and Dr. Gabriel Sorenson (Stephen Collins).

Georgiana Reed Whitsig (Patricia Kalember)

The most level-headed and responsible sister, "Georgie" was a stay-at-home mom and off-and-on real estate agent. She was the most trusted confidant of her sisters. On the surface, she had a seemingly perfect domestic life with a loving if eccentric husband John (Garrett M. Brown) and two sons. However, behind closed doors she faced domestic crises that included her younger son's battle with leukemia, a troubled older son, financial troubles and marital struggle which eventually resulted in divorce. Georgie would at one point became a surrogate mother for her sister Frankie.

Francesca Reed Margolis (Julianne Phillips)

Youngest sister "Frankie" was a workaholic businesswoman who suffered from infertility. She married her sister Teddy's ex-husband Mitch and had a surrogate baby courtesy of her sister Georgie. She was also married to her career though, which put a strain on her relationship with Mitch. In the fourth season, Phillips left the show and the Frankie character moved to Japan for work, although she did return for the two-hour series finale.

Dr. Charlotte Hayes

In 1994, the sisters discovered a fifth sister, a half-sister who was the love child of an affair the Reed father had had with another woman. This fifth sister, Charley Hayes (played by Jo Anderson and then Sheila Kelley) was integrated into the storylines starting in 1995, when Julianne Phillips decided to leave the show.

=Beatrice Reed Ventnor (Elizabeth Hoffman)=

The family matriarch, the sisters' mother suffered from alcoholism. She later married retired local judge Truman Ventnor, who suffered from Alzheimer's. She died in the series finale.

Final Season

In the series final season, many things had changed: Georgie was divorced from John, went back to college, and fell in love with Brian, a much younger student from school; Cat had decided to become a cop, while her mother, Teddy finally found happiness and married Dr. Gabriel Sorensen; Charley becoming more of a part of the family, and growing close to Beatrice; and Alex dealing with her returning daughter, the troublesome Reed, who had lost custody of her daughter. In the final episode, Georgie's college thesis on her sisters drove the sisters apart. Beatrice had a stroke, and Frankie rushed back to Winnetka. She arrived in time to say good-bye, and the five sisters watched as Beatrice died. The sisters reconciled, and Teddy learned she was expecting a daughter. Frankie decided to move back home, and it looked as though John and Georgie had reconciled. Though, Alex, who had now assumed the position of family matriarch, and husband, Big Al departed for Tennessee, but promised that she would always be home for Christmas.

Famous Guest Stars

*George Clooney had a recurring role as Detective James Falconer in 1993-1994, just before going on to star in "ER". His character dated Teddy after he investigated the rape of her daughter Cat.
*Ashley Judd starred as Alex's daughter Reed for the first two seasons. She left the show in 1993 to focus on her film career, after she won critical acclaim from starring in the film "Ruby in Paradise".
*Actor Paul Rudd (from "Friends" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin") starred as Reed's husband, Kirby for the first two seasons.
*Actress Nora Dunn of "Saturday Night Live" had a recurring role as Alex's TV producer "Norma Lear" (a clear play on the name of famous real-life TV producer Norman Lear).
*"7th Heaven" star Stephen Collins played Dr. Gabriel Sorenson in the final season.
*In the final season, Joe Flanigan ("Stargate Atlantis") played Georgie's much-younger lover Brian, a student she met after returning to college.
*Eric Close (Santa Barbara/"Without a Trace") played cop Billy Griffin during the sixth season.


The series received eight Emmy Award nominations over the course of its run, winning once, in 1994 for Sela Ward as Best Lead Actress. Swoosie Kurtz was also nominated twice in the Lead Actress Category. [Search result. cite web |url= |title=Advanced Primetime Awards Search |accessdate=2008-01-26 |year=2008 |work=Academy of Television Arts & Sciences]


External links

*imdb title|id=0101199|title=Sisters

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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