Title: Banshee (Seasons #1-4)
Released: 2013

Fix: small-town dynamics, drama and intrigue, mystery, mistaken identity, action, heists, NSFW
Platforms: HBO Max

HBO Max Summary:

An ex-con assumes the identity of a small town’s new sheriff in this action series from Jonathan Tropper, David Schickler, and Alan Ball.

FYA Summary:

A master thief spent 15 years in prison and goes looking for his former lover who has been in hiding since their heist went wrong. Since he also happens to be trying to elude the mob, assuming the identity of the sheriff of the small town where she lives is just meant to be a quick con while he gets his ducks in order. But without the major score he’d been counting on, he manages to find a few more reasons to stay in Banshee than expected.

One of my favorite things about Banshee is how clearly it establishes the entire vibe in the first ten minutes, and completely lays out the premise of the show within the pilot. You’re getting a town full of secrets, a messy anti-hero, a melting pot (okay, maybe more of a powder keg) of cultures, complicated badass women, and a riveting villain. From one of the executive producers who brought you the bananas adventure that was True Blood! What more can one ask of their entertainment?

Familiar Faces:

Antony Starr as Lucas Hood

If you love Antony Starr as Homelander on The Boys (or even if you hate him, because he is legit terrifying), he is also brilliant in a completely different way as the hardened career criminal masquerading as a small-town sheriff. Starr manages to make Lucas somehow likable and vulnerable while simultaneously being kind of a dick half-assing his way through a terrible con. I couldn’t help rooting for this screw-up. Also, not that it’s relevant, but my god, he is so smoldery hot in this.

Ivana Milicevic as Carrie Hopewell

I watched Banshee before Milicevic showed up on The 100, but she gets to be tough as hell in both, and I love her a ton. Carrie Hopewell has been hiding in Banshee and living the life of a perfect wife, mother, and realtor, in an effort to escape her dangerous past. With her former partner in crime back in town, she’s going to have a hard time keeping their intense chemistry, along with all of her other secrets, dead and buried.

Ulrich Thomsen as Kai Proctor

Oh man, I love a compelling villain and Ulrich Thomsen delivers. Kai Proctor is the most successful businessman in Banshee, and also the local crime boss. His traditional Amish upbringing is so at odds with his violent schemes that you just can’t help being fascinated by the guy.

Frankie Faison as Sugar Bates

Sugar is a former professional fighter who runs the bar that Lucas finds himself in on his fateful first day in Banshee, which sets off the chain of events that powers the entire series. But there is a really good travel lesson tucked away in this: make friends with the local bartender immediately!

Hoon Lee as Job

Job is one of my all-time favorite television characters. What Lee is able to do in four seasons is just stunning. Job is clearly meant to bring the comedic relief, and his every side-eye and line reading does bring me so much joy, but he adds so many sympathetic layers and is an integral part of the team/family dynamic.

Matt Servitto as Deputy Brock Lotus

Poor Brock expected to be appointed sheriff and now has to answer to this nobody brought in from out of town who acts like no lawman he’s ever seen. You kind of can’t blame the guy for being suspicious.

Ryann Shane as Deva Hopewell

Deva is Carrie’s teenage daughter who’s going through her rebellious hellion phase. She’s just starting to become the alarming combination of her parents that will make her impossible to try to bullshit.

Rus Blackwell as Gordon Hopewell

Gordon is Carrie’s husband and Deva’s father, in addition to being the District Attorney. He’s been trying to take down Kai Proctor for years, and he definitely isn’t expecting the new town sheriff to be a threat to the peaceful life he’s built.

Couch-Sharing Capability: Summer Thrills

Banshee is full of high stakes. Whether it’s action, romance, crime sprees, reinvention, you name it, they’re doing it and in an over-the-top way. There’s a little something here for everyone, except the kiddos – unless rampant profanity, violence, and explicit Cinemax-produced sex scenes are their jam. Hey, I won’t judge your parenting if you don’t judge mine!

Recommended Level of Inebriation: Pull Up a Bar Stool

Why not enjoy some adult libations with your adult entertainment? Banshee is set in the northeast, but the small-town atmosphere, along with Sugar’s bar, gives the place a bit of a southern feel that just screams whiskey and regrettable choices.

Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Atoning For The Past

I do not know why nobody seemed to watch this show when it aired. Maybe they, like me, assumed it was about supernatural nonsense and were not in the mood this time. Maybe nobody was watching Cinemax except for the late-night soft core? It doesn’t matter why we all missed out, but trust me that we did. And bless HBO Max for allowing us to correct this egregious error in our TV catalog. This is a truly satisfying four seasons of television.

Banshee is populated by a cast of engrossing characters and an endless array of sweaty sins. The lead actors give stellar performances and even some of the guest stars are unforgettable. They manage to suck you into the family drama, small-town politics and corruption, “culture clashes”, and seamy underbelly that make Banshee feel relatable, no matter where you actually hang your hat. Yes, this town is terrible, and I am obsessed with it. You will be, too.

Kandis (she/her) is a proud member of the Austin FYA book club chapter who loves vampires, romance novels, live tweeting CW shows, and Jonah Griggs. She’s not like a regular mom. She’s a cool mom.