When I first read that Alan Ball was producing a new show for HBO, I was a bit apprehensive. I loved “American Beauty” and the “Six Feet Under” series, but I just don’t go in for vampires. So when I saw the new series was titled “Banshee,” I nearly dismissed it as something that would probably be good, but just not for me.
After learning that the show gets its title from a fictional Amish community set in Pennsylvania — not Transylvania — I dove a little deeper to see if it was worth staying in Friday night to watch the premier. After a quick look at the cast and crew it looks like I have a date with my TV this Friday. Here are 7 reasons I wouldn’t dare miss the premiere of Alan Ball’s “Banshee” on HBO’s sister network, Cinemax.
1 The first is obvious. Executive producer Alan Ball is the best there is at portraying morally ambiguous protagonists in tense situations.
2 Authors Jonathan Tropper, author of “How to Talk to a Widower” and David Shickler, author of “Kissing in Manhattan,” will combine efforts to bring us at least 10 exceedingly well written episodes.
3 The Primetime Emmy Award winning director of House M.D., Greg Yaitanes, is directing the pilot.
4 The lead role of Lucas Hood will be played by Antony Starr. Although well known for his dual role as the West twins in over one hundred episodes of the New Zealand drama, “Outrageous Fortune,” Starr is a fresh face with a set of six pack abs that even money can’t buy.
5 The protagonist’s love interest, Carrie Hopewell, is played by the gorgeous Ivana Milicevic. You may remember Milicevic as the villainess Valenka who tried to poison James Bond in Casino Royale.
6 Ben Cross plays the scary bad guy, Mr. Rabbit, that has been hunting after the show’s protagonist for the past fifteen years. In 1981, Cross played the lead role of Harold Abrahams in “Chariots of Fire.” If you’re too young to remember the seminal film, it won 4 Oscars, including best picture.
7 If you’re a fan of “The Wire” — and who isn’t? — you’ll recognize Frankie Kaison as local bar owner Sugar Bates.
The plot so far:
Banshee is the story of a small town in Pennsylvania, surrounded by an Amish community. The town is run by an exiled Amish gangster played by Ulrich Thomsen. Banshee’s mayor hires Lucas Hood to clean up the mess, but he is killed in a bar robbery before they meet in person. Antony Starr’s character is also on his way to Banshee to get his ex-partner/girlfriend back when he assumes the identity of the murdered sheriff. In this small town it seems like the good guys are bad, and the bad guys are worse.
The first episode of “Banshee” premieres this Friday, January 11, at 10PM on Cinemax.