We are in a golden age of television. We are also in an age of excess. As such, we often have to pick and choose what we watch, because we simply don’t have enough time to watch everything that is good. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of great shows slip through the cracks. As a fan of TV, who watches much more TV than the regular person, I am always sad to see some of the best TV shows slip so far beneath the radar that they become obscure and unknown. In an effort to improve the standing of some of these “lost” shows, I have decided to create Spotlight, a new Feature series at TVEnthusiast. Spotlight will be a regular article series that, with each iteration, pleads the case of a different series that has somehow slipped under the radar.
One of Cinemax’s first original series, and executive produced by Director/Producer Alan Ball (True Blood, American Beauty), Banshee is largely representative of Cinemax’s current push into television drama, which also includes series like Strike Back and The Knick. As a flagship for the network’s original scripted content, Banshee has reaped the benefit of a full 4 season run. On the other hand, as the first major push in originals for a network, the series doesn’t grab the same attention that a new show on an already formidable network would. So this week, let’s explore the Cinemax series Banshee for TVEnthusiast’s Spotlight.
What is Banshee?
Banshee follows a criminal, as he is released from prison and escapes the notice of a gangster with a vendetta against him by locating an old flame in the small town of Banshee. While in town he stops in a bar and has a drink with the man who is taking over as sheriff. Thugs rob the bar, the new sheriff intervenes, and in the end, our protagonist assumes the identity of the Sheriff, whom nobody else in town had yet met. Oddly enough, our hero, now going by the name Lucas Hood, might just be the exact kind of Sheriff the town needs as it struggles with a formerly Amish gangster named Kai Proctor, a violent faction of a Native American tribe called the Redbones, and even Neo Nazis. Of course, the fake Lucas Hood is still a criminal, and continues to act as such, planning and executing crimes just outside of town. Banshee’s Sheriff will soon find himself in the crosshairs of various criminal elements in town, and others from his past as they all converge on the small town of Banshee.
Is Banshee any Good?
Well, it is in the very Spotlight feature you are reading, so it is obvious that I think the series is good. But what about others. Season 2 of Banshee scored a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Season 3 scored a 100%. IGN’s Matt Fowler called the series “Supremely satisfying”, while Entertainment Weekly’s Jeff Jensen said that he watched season 3 with “the popping eyeballs of a devoted and dazzled new fan”. It is an interesting spike in critical reception considering the first season scored a significantly lower 61% on the review aggregate. Banshee excels as a dark and stylish action series that packs a lot of fun between its moments of extreme grit.
Why is Banshee Being Featured on Spotlight?
Banshee has gone mostly unnoticed among larger audiences, while maintaining a small but loyal fanbase. What Banshee takes in viewership is all that it needs, with seriesShowrunner Greg Yaitanes (LOST, House) putting the series to bed himself. As such, the show is ending on its own terms, and doesn’t need additional fan support. TVEnthusiast, however, is not about catering to the needs of shows, but rather to the needs of the fans. Banshee is worthy of greater fan support, and fans who have yet to enjoy the series deserve to learn of its existence. It is also a series with a planned ending that will come to fruition, a rare treat for fans of serialized TV shows, so there’s that
Who is Involved in Banshee?
Besides Alan Ball and Greg Yaitanes, who I have mentioned previously, Banshee was created by Writers Jonathan Tropper (One Last Thing Before I Go) and David Schickler (Sweet and Vicious), and is produced by HBO (Game of Thrones, The Sopranos), Cinemax’s parent company. Kiwi Actor Antony Starr leads the cast as Sheriff Lucas Hood, a wild eyed Criminal assuming the identity of the real Lucas Hood. Lucas is surrounded, and pursued, by larger than life characters such as Kai Proctor, a formerly Amish gangster who terrorizes the town of Banshee (portrayed by Danish Actor Ulrich Thomsen), English Actor Ben Cross as Rabbit a Ukrainian Gangster who has history with our hero, and Job (as portrayed by American Actor Tong Hoon Lee), our heroes cross dressing friend/co-conspirator from his previous life as a criminal. Other notable appearances are been made by Geno Segers, as the physically imposing Chayton Littlestone, and Frankie Faison, as Sugar Bates a retired Boxer, current Bar Owner and friend of the new Lucas Hood.
Should I Watch Banshee?
Do you like action series? Do you enjoy the conflicts between various criminal and law enforcement elements (as found in shows like Sons of Anarchy and The Shield) as a central plot point. Do you like the creepiness of crime stories set in a small town? Have you ever thought that there simply isn’t enough violence on TV for your tastes? If any of those questions relate to your own interest, Banshee might be worth exploring. If those questions raise alarm bells for you, than perhaps Banshee is not for you.
Banshee is entering its 4th and final season in January of 2016 on Cinemax. Past seasons are available on Cinemax Go. Season 1 of the series is also available to stream on Amazon Prime Instant Video. Season 2 is only available for purchase at this time, and season 3 has yet to receive a digital or DVD/Blu-Ray release.
Have you watched Banshee? Are you interested? Let us know in our comments, and stay tuned to TVEnthusiast for more coverage of all of your favorite shows.