Thursday, February 21, 2013

Banshee Review

When I first started watching the pilot episode of Cinemax's Banshee, I didn't make it through to the end because I was distracted. I had all but given up, having not really given the show a chance, and two weeks later, I found myself unable to sleep and turned on the third episode just to see if I was missing out on anything. I was.

If you don't want a spoiler, don't play the video below. It is a fight scene from episode three, "Meet the New Boss," that had me on the edge of my seat. Without a doubt, it is one of the best fight scenes I have ever seen on TV, and I have been addicted to Banshee ever since. The next day I went back and started the season over from the beginning.

Lucas Hood (Anthony Starr) is a master thief that has recently been released from prison after fifteen years. He tracks down his ex-lover, Carrie, an ex-thief hiding from a mob boss, and assumes the false identity of the local sheriff with the help of a cross-dressing hacker named Job. If I had to compare Banshee to anything, I would call it a mix of Justified, Oz, and Sopranos. It's gritty and violent, taking a look at the dark side of humanity.
No one would ever want to live in Banshee. There are no heroes; most of the characters exist in a state of gray. A lot of them are downright despicable, yet even the Amish mob boss, Kai Proctor, is capable of an act of kindness and concerns himself with the protection of his people, though it's often street justice. Hood is no different, struggling to reconcile his time in the pen and the life he wanted to have when he got out, what he lost while behind bars. Donning his badge, he tends to take on the role of sheriff more each episode, yet he is not the man he used to be, and his torment shows.
While Banshee has a bit of realism in terms of characters, setting, and themes, it must also be given leeway in order to enjoy. A major draw for me is the outlandish attitude of the show, where it doesn't really take itself too seriously and allows room for a character to become unhinged. There are no pretenses that Banshee is anything more than fiction, bordering on a comic book filled with anti-heroes. As a lover of both comic books and anti-heroes, it's perfect for me, and I'm hooked.

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