Banshee: Entertainment That Works Without Guilt
I have read a few reviews on Banshee, the new original series from Cinemax, and I am honestly surprised at how stupid and out of touch most critics are. Either that or they are just trying to get some notice by trashing a wonderful and innovative visual treat that chooses to be both politically incorrect and honest with itself.
As soon as I watched the first episode of this new offering I was hooked. The plot was ingenious and the actors gifted. It was a breath a fresh air compared to the sea of stagnant garbage that permeates most of broadcast television these days. The wonderful thing about cable series like Banshee is that we get to choose whether or not we like and want to watch it without being subject to warnings that we should watch because it teaches tolerance or the actors involved happen to be on the correct side of all things political as in the case of 30 Rock which should never have made it out of its first season.
I have the benefit of being in my late fifties which means that I have witnessed the transition of television from a medium that barely tolerated non-white actors in a network series to a day when most anything goes. The only problem with that is that many of today’s programming choices are made with a fear that TV will somehow return to its intolerant days of yesteryear. Any show or presentation that does not make a moral point or teach toleration of one point of view or another instead of just being created to entertain the audience has no place on network schedules.
The argument has been made that you can entertain people and teach them what is right in the mind’s eye of the production team at the same time. I beg to differ. I think that making a moral point when appropriate is fine and there is nothing wrong with using the medium to occasionally share a personal viewpoint with the audience, but creating a series that delivers a series of lessons about tolerance and a particular point of view ad nauseam is unnecessary and tiresome.
The reason that I like Banshee is because it delivers the goods. Every episode offers excitement and allows the viewer the rare opportunity of actually being able to yell support or disdain towards the TV screen for or against the various characters without worrying about who they vote for, how many sugary drinks they consume or the size of the ammunition clips they carry for their weapons. Watching the show is like enjoying a guilty pleasure without being annoyed that the plot ends up being watered down by too much dialogue or concern about teaching moral lessons. It is what it is and you can take it or leave it.
In a day when when there are so many laws that no one can possibly live out twenty-four hours without technically breaking one, it is nice to watch a series that throws caution to the wind and allows the characters to assert their individuality without guilt or concern for upsetting the audience. Banshee is a place where people break all the rules they can find, than go and look for a few more to scatter to the wind. I love that place and hope that the series has a long life on Cinemax.
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