Banshee: Howler or Hit?

The first reviews are in for Sky’s new SoHo drama, Banshee, and while opinion is split over its merits, Outrageous Fortune’s Antony Starr gets two thumbs up as the hero.

Newsday dismissed Banshee as B-grade pulp, complete with “a grizzled hero fast with his fists (and the ladies), plenty of soft porn, graphic violence, implausible plotting, farcical dialogue and cliches happily pile-driving their way into other cliches”.

Yet it acknowledged the premiere was “compulsively watchable” and gave “bonus points to New Zealand-born Starr, who’s a good enough action lead to make you wonder why he’s slumming it here”.

Slant magazine thought Banshee “a sparingly entertaining ex-con-impersonates-a-sheriff revenge tale that utilises True Blood creator Alan Ball’s fertile sexy-meets-gory expertise to supplement the material’s lack of humanism”.

It said Starr does “his best hard-edged Bradley Cooper imitation” and praised the “kinetic action sequences, which range from a well-staged car chase/shootout in the streets of Manhattan to a gruesome barroom melee that includes a couple of impalings, a bullet hole through a hand, and a bottle of steak sauce shoved down an unfortunate assailant’s throat”.

The Hollywood Reporter’s bottom line was “violence, sex and intrigue are all wrapped up in better-than-expected writing” and called Starr’s turn “intriguing” while the show’s biggest fan at this stage, Entertainment Weekly, acclaimed it as “ultraviolent, over-the-top, and wickedly fun”.

Closer to home, the NZ Herald said the premiere bears all of Ball’s hallmarks. “With its hand-held camera style and grim, grey colouring, Banshee has a familiar tone for fans of his previous shows …

“It’s got the wild small-town setting (a small Amish hamlet in Pennsylvania), and enough graphic violence and wanton sex to satisfy any True Blood fan.”

The first review of TV One’s pending new serial killer thriller, The Following, also has been posted amid controversy over its graphic violence.

The Hollywood Reporter called the pilot “plenty scary” but said “no matter how you slice it, you won’t find a quality cable series hiding inside this gory drama”.

SoHo will premiere Banshee on Tuesday at 8.30, barely three days after its US broadcast; a date has yet to be announced for The Following’s debut but it sounds the perfect stablemate for the latest season of Criminal Minds.

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4 Responses to “Banshee: Howler or Hit?”

  1. Warning: preg_replace(): Unknown modifier '/' in /home/customer/www/ on line 66
    January 10, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    I really enjoyed True Blood and I hope that Banshee turns out to be as enjoyable. I watched the first episode of Hunted on Soho and it was very good. It could turn out to be an excellent series if the quality of episodes is maintained throughout the series.

  2. Is Banshee scheduled for NZ?

  3. Yes, it starts on Sky’s SoHo on Tuesday. No doubt Prime will pick it up for a FTA (sigh, SD) run later in the year.

  4. Ugh, no Sky.

    No matter.


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