When Claws started out on Stan it just seemed like a nice little black comedy about nail artists-cum-money launderers. But over three seasons the ensemble comedy has turned into something else: Claws is a female led Breaking Bad, only with savage nailwork and madder fashion.
Without wanting to give away too much, it’s a smart, self-aware show which focuses on the take-no-guff Desna Simms (Niecy Nash) whose ambitions go from entirely reasonable to oh-dear-god-how-did-we-get-here in a way that Walter White would only hope at.
And the first season’s great, but season two did the classic thing of upping the stakes, and season three – in which Desna and her rag-tag bunch of nail artists finds herself part-owner of a casino and all the drama that goes along with it, and hoo boy: it also dialled up the crazy.
The cast has some impressive credentials too: Nash was one of the stars of the cult comedy series Reno 911!, Carrie Preston’s (Polly Marks) is Elsbeth Tascioni from The Good Wife/The Good Fight, and Judy Reyes (Quiet Ann) was Carla Espinosa in Scrubs – and, pertinently, Breaking Bad‘s Dean Norris is downright amazing as Uncle Daddy.
Also, Harold Perrineau (Desna’s brother Dean) was Michael Dawson in Lost, and this season also had Twin Peaks alumnus Michael Horse as casino co-owner Mac. It’s a bunch of people that know what they’re doing, in other words.
But do those Breaking Bad comparisons stand up? Well…
Best intentions going badly awry? Check!
Ensemble cast that could hold a series on their own? Double check.
Violence that knocks you off your chair with its suddenness? Checkity.
Awesomely charismatic villains whose comeuppance you simultaneously want and fear? Oh hells check.
And sure, it might be something of a niche – but if you’ve been looking for a comedy that makes regular left-turns into graphic violence, or a crime drama with a lot of laugh-out-loud dialogue and the occasional 90s r’n’b video pastiche, then this is your series.
The final episode is streaming right now, and at this point it’s not clear whether Claws will get a fourth season or if this is as close to closure as we get, but in either case now is the time to devour the whole damn thing.