Friday, February 21, 2014

TV Watch: Banshee

Fans of one of the best new programs on television will be happy to learn that Cinemax has renewed "Banshee" for a third season to begin airing early in 2015.

This means that our star-crossed hero, sheriff Lucas Hood, will return to continue sorting out the various nefarious elements in and around the fictional small town of Banshee, Pennsylvania.

There are a number of original, interesting story lines that have been developed by the producers, writers, and actors as the show moves through what is now it's second season. The most interesting of all is the very premise that the show is built upon, beginning with the developments in the very first episode of the first show aired in early 2013.

Lucas Hood is a new sheriff arriving from the Pacific Northwest, hired to take on the job as top cop in a rural Pennsylvania burg surrounded by a large Amish community. Unfortunately, the real Hood never gets to enjoy his new position, as he is murdered in a bar shootout on his way into town.

Present during the killing is a recently released convict. The con kills the men who killed Hood, and in a twist that has to be seen to be fully understood, ends up taking Hood's badge and taking on his identity. This starts the roller coaster thrill ride of a show moving, and it never lets up.


Antony Starr plays our main character, the so-far unnamed con who we learn has been just released from prison after serving 15 years for his role in a diamond heist. He is tough, jail-hardened, and handsome. He was headed for Banshee himself in order to try to reconnect with his former love and partner-in-crime, Anastasia, played by the gorgeous Ivana Milicevic.

Taking on the identity of Lucas Hood, he proves resourceful in establishing himself in the role of the new sheriff in a town where no one knows the actual Hood. With the help of a friend from his former criminal days, played by Hoon Lee, and the sympathetic bar owner, played by Frankie Faison, he manages to stay one step ahead of both the local lead thug, played by Ulrich Thomsen, as well as a nemesis from his past, a powerful crime boss played by Ben Cross.

Hood finds that reconnecting with Anastasia is not quite as easy as he might have hoped. During his incarceration she has assumed an alternative identity, and has gotten married and had children, with the local District Attorney, of all things.

The show centers around Hood's settling into his new identity and job, his relationship and experiences with his deputy sheriff staff, his attempts at reconnecting with Anastasia, his relationships with a couple of new local ladies, and his ongoing battles with the criminal and political elements in and around Banshee.

The show is tremendously well acted and paced, though the premise is hard to swallow over the long haul. When you see the circumstances under which the fraudulent 'Hood' comes to town and to power, you can suspend belief and buy it for a time, this fact that he is pulling the wool over the eyes of some pretty sharp customers.

But now in the middle of the 2nd season, what we have suspected all along seems to be coming to fruition. He cannot keep up this identity charade for long. A couple of people have already figured out that something is 'off' with the new sheriff. It seems only a matter of time before the fireworks that have already been set off erupt into a full-blown forest fire.

There is excellent supporting work from the talented ensemble cast including Hood's deputies played by Matt Servitto and Demetrius Grosse, his love interests played by Trieste Kelly Dunn and Lili Simmons, and Anastasia's family played by Russ Blackwell and Ryann Shane, among others.

"Banshee" continues the great tradition established by other outstanding cable drama series of the last decade or so. Tremendous acting by a talented ensemble cast, an attractive, charismatic lead character, high-quality production value, an interesting and original story line. It is well worth your time to catch up to this Cinemax masterpiece.

NOTE: this is the renewal and continuation of the 'TV Watch' reviews, more of which you can view by clicking on that below label.

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