What I liked:
- The intro. Let’s face it, that thing is cool. The pictures actually tell a story, and tie in to the episodes themselves, and it works. Definitely a little more different and unique than I have seen in a while, and it is actually worth watching the opening credits without skipping through them.
- I am going to wax lyrical about Matthew Rauch as Clay Burton, because holy crapsticks. <3 I know I was told that I would probably love him, but whoa. He is so damn creepy my skin crawls, and he has presence. Whenever he is on screen, you cannot help but be drawn to him. He doesn’t talk, he stares a lot, and he is just plain scary. Mesa likey. Always hovering in the background, always stepping in when you least expect it, Burton is a character I really would love to see more of. He is, hands down, my favourite character of the show, no matter that his speech styles seem limited. Plus bow ties and glasses? I mean really now!
- The cheese. Sometimes it is over the top, sometimes it is awkward, but the cheese in here is handled well. Sometimes things fall flat, but I suppose it is all hit and miss. For the most part, though, it works.
- The flashbacks into Lucas Hood’s past… I know he isn’t really Hood, but we have no other name to work with (yet). Anyway, it was dealt with well, showing us how things are going down at present, then flipping back to show us how he ended up in prison, how he survived, all of it. But never all at once, but never so little that you get frustrated. For the duration of the season you are given crumbs to work with.
- Methodic Doubt’s score for the show. It fits all that is going on.
- Frankie Faison’s Sugar Bates and Hoon Lee’s Job. They are such great characters, and even more entertaining when they get together – always sniping and being nasty and snappy, but they actually really like each other. But God forbid you try to get either to acknowledge it.
- Kai Proctor’s presence in Banshee. It’s cool to know he was Amish growing up, and to see how insanely far removed he has become from certain aspects of the religion and culture is crazy, and yet there are other places where you see he still desperately clings to other pieces of his faith. Initially he is introduced and you think there is potential, then there is this intervening section where, instead of making him the scary big bad that he is, they had these build up lines that fell flat and my eyes were rolling around my head like crazy. But after it was decided what they were going to do with him, Kai became a force to be reckoned with, and Ulrich Thomsen plays him wonderfully.
- The violence. It is crazy and over the top most of the time, making it unrealistic sometimes and then totally mad at other times, but it works for the show, and it actually gives it something extra.
- The cast. I think that everyone did a pretty darn good job all round, I liked that. They were consistent, they all brought something to the show with them, and they handled the material well, cheese and awkwardness and all.
What I didn’t like:
- How ridiculous the villains are. I don’t know, I really thought like a Ukrainian mob boss would be scarier… apparently not. The actor, Ben Cross, looked ridiculous, and Rabbit for a name? I think not.
- The continuity is a joke in this show. I had a massive gripe with this, I can’t help it. If you get into some huge and elaborate fight with an MMA fighter, and you are beat to within an inch of your life, you are not going to look like sunshine and roses in a week. Seriously. This is only complaining on the flaws with the injuries, we are not even talking about all these random things that are introduced, made a big scene of and then disappear, and it never gets explored later, so there is no use filing it away.
- How Lucas Hood just gets away with everything that is happening. How is no one really getting down and dirty investigating his unruliness, lack of complete knowledge on the law and cowboy ways? When is anyone seriously going to question the dude? Also, for instance, the videos this man is featured in (the big MMA fight I was bitching about above), how has nobody (I mean he was incarcerated for fifteen damn years – there are a lot of people he would have interacted with) seen him on TV and blown his cover wide open? Is he never going to get bust for being a false Sheriff?
- Anna/Carrie/whatever the hell you want to call her. Dear goodness, that is one selfish bitch. She irritates me on a mild Carrie Mathison level (and no, I am not missing the fact they share the same name). She cares only about herself, herself, herself. I like how she tries to hide it under the façade of looking after the “kids” and all that jazz. What she puts her husband through is unacceptable. When things got too serious and Rabbit was back, her husband and family deserved to know what the hell was going on. But NO. That is a serious inconvenience to her. But I have to give Ivana Milicevic credit for doing a great job to evoke such feelings!
- The excessively useless amount of sex scenes. I have no issues with sex scenes, I really don’t, but so many of them in here just felt forced and carried on for far too long and didn’t help much for the plot. They were like… pervy filler scenes. It was too indulgent.
- I really wish that Kai and Burton got more screen time. They are the really interesting lot, and I want to see more about them.
This came in highly recommended for me to check out, especially if I like violence and unique kills. Obviously I was all for it and got to it in a hurry. Now, there is a lot that the show does right and a lot that the show does wrong, which makes the first season a bit of a mixed bag for me. I enjoyed it and I was engrossed by it, but there were some things that had me rolling my eyes. I think the biggest thing here is that this feels like every bit the pilot season that it is. It is worth the gamble, and is well worth checking out if you don’t totally hate a lot of blood and plenty boobs and sex laced throughout the show. There is some engaging drama, some irritating characters, and some that are purely evil, and others that completely captivate and own the screen when they are on it. I think that Ulrich Thomsen’s Kai Proctor is a fascinating character. He was introduced with a bit of a rock start, but goodness me, when the writer’s got down to it and stopped stuffing around, they got him. Some guy totally worth running the town. I really liked the whole Amish aspect that they brought in here, it gives Kai a lot more depth, and it doesn’t take front and centre of the show, though it is important. I have already spoken about how much I love Burton, so I am not going to again, but he is the best. His loyalty to Kai is something I really hope that the show will explore in more depth. I think it ironic and silly at the best of times that Hood seems to be sleeping with all the women of Banshee, and that they all seem to want to get laid and move on, no more, no less. I think Carrie treated her family very unfairly, and I think Gordon was justified in losing his cool and demanding answers, and his frustration of not getting them was palpable. It is a pity, because he and Hood worked so well together initially. But then Carrie had to wreck that. Now, on to the other things. There is an excess of violence in Banshee, and it is something I enjoy. Yes, bizarre, but who doesn’t like some blood and gore and testosterone once in a while? I am a big fan of Hoon Lee’s work, and his Job never fails to have me in stitches, time and time again. He is worth the watch every second he is on screen, and I am particularly glad that they have not overused him or anything like that. Rabbit really is a disappointment from me, I really expected someone far more terrifying, and the name Rabbit just had me quaking in my boots, you must know. I wish the Deva story line would pick a direction now, because there is nothing to really explain her, and she is on a downward spiral before the whole Rabbit thing, and it would just be nice if they picked a direction to take her character, as well as Hood’s interest in her. Banshee is a really good watch if you want balls to the wall fun, entertainment and action all round, though at times the story does suffer for it. Flaws and all though, Banshee is an engaging watch and will keep you interested. Plus Burton. He alone should sell this whole show to you. Because.