Cinemax’s Banshee is a show I’m dying to talk about and have been for years. The only problem is that nobody watched it. Nobody has Cinemax I guess. It’s a shame because if Banshee was a Sunday night show on HBO, I don’t have to write this post.
What is Banshee?
When I first saw Banshee, my first thought was “What graphic novel is this show based on?” To my shock and amazement there was no source material.
Banshee has an extremely comic book, pulpy, almost cartoonish feel at times. Not cartoonish in the sense that it’s for children. Banshee is not for children. Cartoonish in the sense of that everyone is a caricature of a human being. Banshee is hard boiled crime fiction bred with all the pomp and flair of character you find at the comic book store. Banshee doesn’t pull punches, it’s just a wild ride of insanity from beginning to end.
The show is centered around the town of Banshee and it’s new Sheriff Lucas Hood. (played by Anthony Starr) Except Lucas Hood is dead, he died in a bar fight the day he arrived in Banshee. A mysterious ex-con has assumed the man’s identity and is playing the role of a lawman. The new Lucas Hood took no part in the sheriff’s death, he was fighting on the side of the sheriff during the altercation. Nevertheless he disposed of the body and employed his hacker buddy (played by Hoon Lee) to help him better assume Hood’s identity.
Hood is not in Banshee to be a lawman, he is there looking for his former lover Anastasia (played by Ivana Miličević.) Who he finds under a new identity, Carrie Hopewell, married to the mayor of Banshee. She has a daughter that Hood soon discovers is his. Hood’s motivation to stay in Banshee under his new identity is driven by the desire to be close to them. (This doesn’t stop Hood from nailing every thirsty girl within the Banshee city limits)
The Town of Banshee: In reality Banshee couldn’t exist, nobody would ever live there. The town is mostly run by an Amish Gangster named Kai Proctor (played by Ulrich Thomsen), he is the main criminal element but far from the only one. There is no shortage of villains thrown Hood’s way, who is a villain in his own right. Viewers will encounter Neo-Nazis in the plenty, Native Americans who’ve gone “off the reservation,” rogue military units, Russian mobsters, and all the beautiful women who decide to live in Banshee for some inexplicable reason.
A note on Sheriff Hood: In every possible situation Hood does the most bad-ass alpha thing possible. It’s just in his nature, this is probably why the women in this show drop their panties at his very presence. Sure he’s incredibly handsome but it’s his attitude that sets him apart. I think the writers of the show just sat around asking “is there a more badass way for Hood to handle this situation?” when the answer was no, they knew to move on.
Fight Scenes: Banshee has some the most brutal hand to hand combat fights I’ve ever seen. Not kidding. Of the top ten fights I’ve ever seen on TV Banshee is probably responsible for half of them. This show does action better than most movies. It does action way better than Game of Thrones. The only fight from GoT on the level with Banshee was between Brienne and the Hound, but even that pales to the fight between Proctor’s right hand man Clay Burton and Nola Longshadow.
Sheriff Hood gets in so many brutal fights that you actually start to wonder if he has Wolverine like regenerative properties. Hood even looks like Wolverine, he’d be perfect casting if they ever need a new Logan.
WARNING Spoilers in this clip:
I hope you ignored spoilers and watched that clip anyway. This is Banshee.
The show has a fine narrative but it’s the richness of the characters and the adrenaline rush of the action that keeps you watching, let me highlight a few key players.
The niece of Amish Gangster Kai Proctor, Rebecca is more like her psychotic uncle than her Amish parents, she seduces Sheriff Hood before he even knows her connection to Proctor.
An Ex-Boxer turned bar owner is one of Hood’s closest friends. The original Hood was killed in his bar and he helped the new sheriff with the cover up. He is part of the rag-tag crew that gets assembled later in the show…we at A-Train sports love a good rag-tag crew.
Kai Proctor’s main muscle, the Luca Brasi to his Vito Corleone. Lucky for Clay he fares a little better than Luca does. He is more of the strong silent type. Not much for talking, but he gets the job done.
The cross-dressing super hacker who also knows kung-fu is maybe the MVP of Hood’s squad and possibly my favorite character. He delivers some of the show’s best lines, and rocks some of the shows best outfits.
Find it, Watch it:
I have to believe that Netflix is gonna get their hands on Banshee at some point and when they do everyone in America will be able to catch up. Banshee went on 4 seasons, 38 glorious episodes, it ended right when the time was right and didn’t overstay it’s welcome.