TV Series Review: Banshee(2013-2016)

“We can certainly evolve. I mean that’s what we try to do, right? We try to be a better version of ourselves.”

Are you a ‘Game of Thrones’ fan? Are you also mourning that this will be a ‘GOT’-less year? Are you looking for a show that will give you the excitement that is amped up with violence and sex while also providing an edge-of-the-seat storyline? Ladies and gentlemen, then ‘Banshee’ will definitely be the show for you. While it doesn’t have those medieval battles, fantastical creatures like Dragons and White Walkers, it certainly have a modern unpredictable plotline with intriguing characters.

The show starts with the unnamed protagonist’s (Antony Starr) release from prison after serving 15 years for stealing $15 million in diamonds that he was robbing on behalf of his employer Igor ‘Rabbit’ Rabitov (Ben Cross), a Ukrainian mob boss. The unnamed man flees to the small fictional Amish town of Banshee, Pennsylvania. His former lover and accomplice Anastasia Rabitov, (Ivana Milicevic) the daughter of Rabbit lives a quiet and peaceful married life there under the alias Carrie Hopewell with the real estate manager Gordon, (Rus Blackwell) who is unaware of her past. When the town’s yet to be appointed Sheriff Lucas Hood (Griff Furst) is killed in a confrontation, the unnamed man adopts the identity of the deceased Sheriff with the help of his transvestite hacker buddy Job (Hoon Lee) and performs his duty as Sheriff while still embracing crime alongside Job and the local bar owner Sugar Bates (Frankie Faison), and coming into conflict with local kingpin Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen).

The beauty of this show comes from not only its compelling storytelling but also from its layered and complex characters, each of them continually being fleshed out. This is a show where nobody is safe and just when you think you know where the plot is going, it will become harder to discuss as the writers and directors send the story screeching off in some wholly unexpected directions. It’s not all flash and gash: ‘Banshee’ attends to the inner lives of its people with a series of flashbacks. It grounds everything by doing this; even its most show-stopping set pieces reveal character. The show’s story is full of twists and unbelievable connections, as well as its telltale brutal violence. In a sick streak of creativity, ‘Banshee’, during the course of its run, continued to find new, gruesome ways to kill people. The show is dark, nasty and psychologically tormented, it’s also been fun on some level and it’s incredibly hard to have fun in this particular sandbox. The series is very engaging at incorporating elements that force the protagonist to straddle the line between Sheriff and criminal, showing it as quite a challenge for him. Cinemax’s (a subsidiary of HBO, the broadcaster of ‘Game of Thrones’) pulpy crime drama about a little Pennsylvania hamlet had convincingly grown into the show it wanted to be from the get-go: a violent, sex-filled drama whose edge is not dulled by its willingness to also be playful. Amidst all the fisticuffs, high-speed robberies, murders and mysteries, ‘Banshee’ discovers and shows the audience what it is about these characters that make them want to choose one life over the other. It features an ensemble cast with Antony Starr as the unnamed protagonist/Sheriff Lucas Hood with brilliant supporting acts from Ivana Milicevic, Ulrich Thomsen, Frankie Faison, Rus Blackwell, Matt Servito, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Lili Simmons, Anthony Ruivivar, Geno Segers, Ben Cross, Tom Pelphery, David Harbour, Matthew Rauch, Chris Coy, Ryann Shane, Eliza Dushku and last but not the least, the character I fell in love with while watching this show, Hoon Lee’s transvestite computer hacker Job. It’s been long since a character like Job was introduced in mainstream television shows and he is a character that always amazed me and at the end of the day, I absolutely fell in love with the character and its actor. Musical duo Kris Dirksen and Dane Short’s (who call themselves ‘Methodic Doubt’ and are credited thus in the show credits) pulpy background score and opening title theme accompanied by Christopher Faloona’s dark cinematography gives another dimension to the storyline. All in all, ‘Banshee’ has grown into one of the most entertaining, intriguing, compelling and exciting shows, a gloriously over-the-top example of pulp fiction strengthened by the support beams of solid characterization and inspired direction.


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