Tonight, Cinemax’s golden goose of a series, Banshee, is wrapping up its four season run and I’m a sad sack of shit. Tears aren’t going to be shed. I’ll need steak, whiskey, and a boxing bag. It’s more than just a great series. For me, the show has been a reexamination of why I love great television and where the future needs to go for creators and producers looking to give fans another awesome show. Banshee delivered on so many fronts that the absence of it in 2017 is going to sting like one of Ivana Milicevic’s punches as Carrie Hopewell.
This show had it all. Violence served in a special “whatever fucking happens happens” package. Romance that dug deep. Drama that wasn’t skipped over. Sex like someone would expect on a series living on a network that made its name with porn. If you are going to fuck on Cinemax, you better make it so hot that the remote falls out of your goddamn hand. What Banshee did best was thrill the shit out of you.
Have you seen a man and woman fight brutally to the end? That happens every season on Banshee. Check it out.
Have you seen a sheriff(or criminal posing as a sheriff) fight an MMA fighter in order to avenge a beaten up and raped woman? Have you seen one that lasts six minutes? Check it out.
Have you seen a show where bad guys are truly bad and other times they are misunderstood Neanderthals trying to make it in a harsh world or reeling from a terrible childhood? At first glance, Ulrich Thomson’s Kai Proctor looks like a typical villain placed there to disturb but eventually as the 39 episodes roll over you, he becomes something more.
Sure, Matty Rauch’s Burton has barely any dialogue but the facial expressions and physicality he brings to the role of the world’s most terrifying henchman speak for pages of dialogue.
How about leading man Lucas Hood(played to the end of the world and back by Antony Starr)? Here is a guy who started out bad, broke good, broke back towards bad and then decided to drop it all and get the fuck out of dodge. He isn’t breaking bad or good. He is stuck in between the past, present, and future. The whole time, Starr keeps you guessing as to whether you should love or hate his character. The pain in his eyes and the words he spoke were always real.
This show packed a bigger punch than most and while the action was heightened to a near comic book level, the emotions were always real. Let me thank a few people.
Thank you Jonathan Tropper for deciding to reach inside your head and pull this wicked fantasy out and make it a reality. This will always be your crowning achievement.
Thank you Matt Servitto for a performance that will be underrated for years. Even when Brock Lotus broke bad, we kept watching. Your comic relief was almost as good as your speeches.
Thank you Ivana. Now I know what a true female action hero looks like. You threw every inch of your soul into Carrie and made her real. Such a performance.
Thank you Hoon Lee. Job may be wise and witty and the show’s most likable character, but you made the pain inside him something to fucking behold. This was the hardest role to play because there’s so much to Job and only so much time to exude that. Thank you.
Thank you Antony. I didn’t think a performance could remind me of Steve McQueen, Bruce Willis and Clint Eastwood but you made it possible. You never passed up the “less is more” route and due to that, Lucas Hood’s struggle was captivating every Friday.
Thank you Ulrich for refusing to just give fans another bad guy. Instead, you gave us a dual edged man capable of good and bad.
Thank you Frankie Faison for taking every bartender in real life to school on how to properly dispense advice. Fuck!!
Thank you Tom Pelphrey for climbing inside a character and having a boxing match with Bunker’s heart.
Thank you Geno Segers and Langley Kirkwood for creating larger than life, entertaining as fuck and deeply oppressed bad guys.
Thank you Lili Simmons for showing us a beauty that could make a caveman chisel on a wall and a willpower that reminded me of a young gangster going for broke.
Thank you Greg Yaitanes for connecting these actors to Banshee and producing, directing, and captaining the ship for three years.
Thank you Adam Targum for bringing the bluntness of your writing to your producing.
Thank you Trieste Kelly Dunn for creating a character that sent our protagonist down a road that was no doubt exhausting and depressing but made for wonderful entertainment for us.
Thank you OC Madsen for being a true artist. Thank you Marcus Young for being the doctor of all things action.
There’s so much about this show that wasn’t made for television yet there it was on our screens every Friday night. Better than most films and done in half the amount of time. A cinematic twist to your normal series expectations.
They shot it like a movie. Six months out of the year for four years. Sometimes a performance gets better because that actor gets to know their character even more. Banshee is a living testament to that. A show that never stopped trying to wow its fans and blow them away.
I wanted more and always will but it’s better to leave than drift away or give a product that is less than what has come before. Tropper is closing the door on his own terms and tonight’s series finale will be re-watched for weeks. Fans will pry inside its darkest corners for the secrets even the creators don’t want you to see.
A great television show isn’t one that thrills you, confounds you, and makes you think. A great TV show is one that you can appreciate more after the 3rd or 4th viewing, or when you have peeled the sheets off the bed and recognized the moral to the story. Loving a show takes work.
No matter what happens tonight, Banshee is my favorite TV show of all time. Thanks to the men, women, and prosthetic’s that made it all happen.