Critical Condition: BrainDead

BrainDead (The Zone, 8.30 Tuesday)

“In BrainDead, it’s not one-per-centers but space aliens who are rigging the system: a mysterious meteorite has crashed to Earth, releasing ants from another planet, which tiptoe into politicians’ ears and literally eat their brains. Sometimes, those ants also fart inside the brain—and then the brain explodes. Perhaps this premise sounds a little juvenile and simplistic … But, two episodes in, it became clear that Robert and Michelle King—who are also the creators of The Good Wife —were working up a far stranger, more original, and certainly funkier allegory for Washington’s woes.” — The New Yorker.

“Think of every old joke there is to make about Washington — yes, including ‘It’s Hollywood for ugly people’ — and you’ll probably hear it retold in the odd but intriguingly warped summertime dreamedy BrainDead … Ridiculous, yes, but also engaging — and maybe some relief for viewers who are preoccupied with politics but could still use a break from cable news. BrainDead is no Good Wife, but it does have the Kings’ sense of wit and momentum. It also, to some degree, displays their knack for timely social commentary. Bugs in the brain are as good as any explanation for the political nightmare we’re living.” — The Washington Post.

“It’s a blend of political satire and semi-campy horror – a darkly comic zombie yarn, a cheeky Invasion of the Body Snatchers. And if the whole season is like the pilot, it might actually be fun … I love the idea of the Kings stretching themselves – or just spelling themselves – with an experiment in a different genre. Even if it’s a bust, it’s good for them. And if it’s not a bust, it’s really good for genre TV, which could always use a blast of inspired creativity. BrainDead, you have my head and my vote. Now keep earning it.” — Entertainment Weekly.

BrainDead is a fun summer experiment, with a loopy, I-can’t-believe-this-got-on-CBS charm. It’s sci-fi, it’s comedy, it’s political commentary. But it’s also about as nuanced as an ant colony lodged in your cranium … The satire boils down to ‘It’s time those Beltway politicians stopped squabbling and got to work for us,’ a take with all the heat of a public-service spot from a centrist think tank. It’s blunt yet generic.” — New York Times.

“For a parody to succeed, it needs to be insightful and funny. While the show shoots for Sorkinesque commentary and the hilarity of Veep, it doesn’t come anywhere close to either. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Danny Pino, Aaron Tveit, Tony Shalhoub and other familiar small-screen faces don’t have much to work with, given writing that’s as weak as the excuses offered during high-profile sexting scandals. True to it’s name, BrainDead is on life support from the get-go. Someone should pull the plug..” — Wall Street Journal.

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