Banshee (TV series)
Banshee title card
|Created by||Jonathan Tropper
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||19 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jonathan Tropper
|Running time||43–59 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Your Face Goes Here Entertainment
Tropper Schickler Productions
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original run||January 11, 2013– present|
Banshee is an American action drama television series created by Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler which originally appeared on the Cinemax network beginning on January 11, 2013. Set in the eponymous small town of Banshee in Pennsylvania Amish country, the series' main character is an enigmatic ex-con (Antony Starr), who assumes the identity of Lucas Hood, the town's murdered sheriff, to hide from powerful crime lord Rabbit (Ben Cross). Imposing his own brand of justice, Banshee follows Hood as he attempts to reconcile with his former lover, Rabbit's daughter, Anastasia (Ivana Miličević), who has herself adopted an assumed identity, married, and raised a family during Hood's incarceration. Hood struggles to maintain his new identity while still embracing crime alongside his partners Job (Hoon Lee) and Sugar (Frankie Faison), and coming into conflict with local kingpin Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen).
The series was developed as part of Cinemax's drive to develop original content. A 10-episode second season debuted in January 2014. Banshee was renewed for a third season that same month.
Banshee takes place in the fictional small town of Banshee, Pennsylvania. After serving 15 years in prison for stealing diamonds from a Ukrainian gangster called Rabbit, the unnamed protagonist travels to Banshee to find his heist accomplice and former lover, Anastasia. When he finds her, the protagonist learns that she is now a married mother of two living under the assumed identity of Carrie Hopewell. Later, when the incoming Sheriff is killed, the protagonist takes on his identity as Lucas Hood, becoming the town's new Sheriff. Banshee sees Hood struggle with adapting to his new identity while dealing with the machinations of local crime lord Kai Proctor, and remaining hidden from Rabbit.
Season 1 focuses on Hood's attempts to restore his relationship with Carrie under the looming threat of Rabbit eventually finding them both. Hood's attention-grabbing actions eventually draw Rabbit and his men to the town, leading to Proctor saving Hood's life and earning a favour to be called on later. Hood is later captured, tortured, and ultimately rescued by Carrie and Hood's deputies. Carrie shoots and seemingly kills Rabbit, but during a later investigation his body is not found. The season ends with the original Hood's son learning of his father's replacement by an impostor. The season also features Proctor's Amish niece Rebecca who abandons her lifestyle for the freedom Proctor's life offers.
Season 2 places a larger focus on the Indian tribes and reservations in the town, including the tribal chief Alex Longshadow, whose attempts to build a casino and compete for power with Proctor draw the pair into a bloody conflict. Carrie is imprisoned for her role in the shootout that liberated Hood, and her past is publicly revealed, devastating her family and professional life. Hood and his deputies are put on probation for their involvement, but allowed to continue their duties. Hood, accepting that Carrie has focus on her family, enters into a relationship with his deputy Siobhan. The real Lucas Hood's son Jason arrives in Banshee, aware of the impostor Hood's identity theft. Hood helps the troubled Jason find a new life, but Proctor kills Jason for sleeping with Rebecca, reigniting the conflict between Hood and Proctor.
- Antony Starr as Lucas Hood: An ex-con and master thief released from prison after 15 years.
- Ivana Miličević as Anastasia / Carrie Hopewell: Hood's former criminal accomplice and lover. She lives in Banshee under an alias as a real estate agent with her husband Gordon and children Deva and Max, who are unaware of her past. She is also in hiding from Rabbit, her father.
- Ulrich Thomsen as Kai Proctor: A crime kingpin and businessman in Banshee. Proctor was originally a member of Banshee's Amish community, but abandoned the faith for crime.
- Frankie Faison as Sugar Bates: A retired former boxer and ex-con, turned bar owner. He befriends Hood and is aware that he is a criminal.
- Hoon Lee as Job: A transvestite computer hacker and Hood's criminal accomplice. Also in hiding from Rabbit, he is forced to move to Banshee after his identity is uncovered.
- Rus Blackwell as Gordon Hopewell: Banshee's district attorney and Carrie's husband. He is a Gulf War hero and retired Marine.
- Matt Servitto as Brock Lotus: A Banshee deputy, and the longest-serving member of the force. Brock was intended to become the new Sheriff before the real Hood's appointment and is resentful of being passed over.
- Demetrius Grosse as Emmett Yawners: A Banshee deputy.
- Trieste Kelly Dunn as Siobhan Kelly: A female Banshee deputy.
- Ryann Shane as Deva Hopewell: A rebellious teenager. Deva is Carrie and Lucas's daughter, but was raised with Gordon as her father.
- Daniel Ross Owens as Dan Kendall: Banshee's mayor, an idealist and a young politician opposed to Proctor's criminal activities.
- Lili Simmons as Rebecca Bowman: A young Amish girl who lives a devout life with her father Elijah by day, but is a rebellious, sexually adventurous party girl by night. She is Proctor's niece, and the only member of the Amish community he has contact with.
- Ben Cross as Rabbit: A ruthless Ukrainian gangster seeking revenge on Hood for stealing from him, and turning his daughter Anastasia against him.
- Anthony Ruivivar as Alex Longshadow: Indian tribal chief and Proctor's rival. Ruivivar was a recurring character in season 1 and added to the starring cast in season 2.
The series also features in recurring roles, Matthew Rauch as Proctor's right-hand-man Burton, Christos Vasilopoulos as Rabbit's right-hand-man Olek, Odette Annable as Nola, Longshadow's sister, and Gabriel Suttle as Carrie's son Max. Season 2 introduced Geno Segers as Chayton Littlestone, the imposing leader of the local Kinaho tribe, and Harrison Thomas as Jason Hood, the son of the real Lucas Hood.
Banshee is part of Cinemax's attempt to expand its original programming content, and it joins Strike Back (co-produced with BSkyB) and Steve Kronish's Sandbox. Banshee premiered on January 11, 2013. The show was first revealed in August 2011, when it was announced that Alan Ball would produce the crime drama. Ball helped develop the project alongside creators Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler. Banshee was originally set up at Cinemax owner HBO, but moved to Cinemax when it was decided to increase original programming on that network. By August, Cinemax was finalizing casting and financial details with the intention of filming in Spring 2012 in North Carolina. In January 2012, Cinemax ordered ten episodes for the show's first season, with the first episode being directed by Greg Yaitanes. In March 2012, Servitto, Dunn and Owens were cast as, respectively, Brock Lotus, Siobhan Kelly, and Mayor Dan Kendall. Later that month, Starr was cast as lead character Lucas Hood, alongside Grosse as deputy Emmett Yawners, Thomsen as Kai Proctor, Lee as Job, and Milicevic as Carrie Hopewell. Simmons was cast in April as Proctor's niece, Rebecca Bowman, an amish girl who lives a rebellious double life, and in August 2012, Odette Annable was cast in the recurring role of Nola Longshadow, a native American assassin. Tropper, Schickler, Ball, Yaitanes and Peter Macdissi serve as executive producers.
During the first day of shooting on the series, Starr suffered a facial injury when stunt fight choreography went wrong, splitting his lip open. He continued to film for six hours to complete the scene before going to hospital to receive six stitches. The injury required digital removal for all scenes set before the fight but filmed after the stunt, resulting in lengthy post-production on the first episode. Some of the many fight scenes on the show can take up to 25 hours to film. Yaitanes cited Jason Statham-starring action films, and John Carpenter films Big Trouble in Little China (1986) and They Live (1988) as inspiration for the fights and violence in Banshee. Marcus Young serves as the series' fight choreographer.
On January 29, 2013 Cinemax renewed Banshee for a 10-episode second season which premiered on January 10, 2014. The season's opening action set piece featuring Milicevic, Starr, and Lee, performing a high-speed heist, was filmed across five miles of closed highway. Tropper originally wrote the scene for the show's accompanying graphic novel, Banshee Origins which follows the trio sixteen years earlier, but he decided that it would be an interesting live action stunt.
After three episodes of the second season had aired, it was renewed for third season, which will premier in January 2015.
Wall Street Journal critic Dorothy Rabinowitz wrote, "Its smartness comes shining through despite the claptrap (none worse than the parade of sex scenes, soft-porn variety, whose noisiness is exceeded only by their unconvincingness); its story, littered with intriguingly repellent characters, like Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen), local evil tycoon, grows ever more enticing".
Season one of Banshee drew Cinemax's highest ever ratings for an original series, averaging 433,000 viewers per episode and 727,000 in the 7 days after each episode was released. The season finale drew 455,000 viewers during its initial screening and 655,000 during its repeat, the largest audience ever for a Cinemax original series finale, and the third-highest ratings achieved by Banshee at that point.
A Banshee comic called Banshee Origins was produced by IDW and provides details of the failed diamond heist that Lucas and Carrie attempted 15 years ago that lead to Lucas' incarceration. A web series also called Banshee Origins that provided additional scenes to help supplement various characters' pasts before the events that lead to the first episode of the TV series. Currently 2 seasons have been produced.
A soundtrack album, Banshee - Music From the Cinemax Original Series, was released on CD and in digital format on February 11, 2014. The album features 17 songs from the show's first two seasons, including the main theme by Methodic Doubt, and tracks by artists including Nico Vega, Ivy Levan, The Growl, Anders Osborne, Fred Eaglesmith, and Martin Harley.
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