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Herc Screams About Cinemax’s
Latest Action Series BANSHEE!!

I am – Hercules!!

“Banshee,” a cliché-happy brainchild of novelists David Schickler (“Kissing In Manhattan,” “Sweet and Vicious”) and Jonathan Tropper (“Plan B,” “The Book of Joe”), follows an ex-con who assumes the identity of a small Pennsylvania town’s new sheriff after the real lawman is murdered. Writer-director Alan Ball (“American Beauty,” “Six Feet Under,” “Towelhead,” “True Blood”) is aboard as producer.

The pay-cable fornication, nudity, gore and violence come early and often.

The ease with which the ex-con assumes the sheriff’s identity is absurd. It turns out one doesn’t have to do a lot more than pay $5,000 to a sassy, foul-mouthed Asian transvestite with a laptop.

The town of Banshee is in Pennsylvania Dutch country and its biggest mobster is a fellow with an Amish background. He likes to put a prairie bonnet on the head of the black girl who fellates him.

There’s an fight straight out of “Witness” and the cattle bolt-gun from “No Country For Old Men.” So it’s not what I’d call wildly original or creative.

The show can get pretty dopey. There are a handful of thugs who decide there will be no repercussions if they try to beat up the new sheriff in front of an armed and uniformed deputy.

The lone female deputy on the show is played by Trieste Kelly Dunn (“Canterbury’s Law”). None of her co-workers seems aware that she looks like a supermodel.

It’s not going on my DVR, but I confess I find “Banshee” more watchable than most of what’s on USA and TNT these days.

The New York Times says:

... Through two hours this all feels more artificial and cooked up than involving …

The Los Angeles Times says:

… It isn't really a town either so much as a place constructed in a pitch meeting … Welcome to Cinemax's "Banshee," population: Whatever it takes to keep this absurd storyline rolling. ... What it doesn't have, at least in the first two episodes, is anything new to say, about small towns, power, corruption, fear, crime or love. …

The Washington Post says:

... “Banshee” has the audacity to behave as though its bloody violence, implausible set-up and studied ugliness are somehow vanguard television. In fact, it’s just more of the same. …

The San Francisco Chronicle says:

... You've probably seen it all before, but "Banshee," a new Cinemax action series, gives it a sexy new spin. …

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

... it's the characters of Banshee and their labyrinth of relationships that make the show an engrossing, entertaining portrait of a fictional small town. …

The Boston Globe says:

... isn’t half bad. The show doesn’t pretend to be anything more than what it is — a violent, sexy, somewhat cheesy, but generally entertaining genre drama …

The Hollywood Reporter says:

... Yes, it can often sound like a pulp setup bound to go sideways, but Banshee ends up being taut, entertaining and smart enough, and you won’t completely turn your brain off. …

Variety says:

... The participation of "True Blood" producer Alan Ball raised expectations "Banshee" might be a tad more ambitious than the Cinemax dramas that have preceded it, but alas, no such luck.…

10 p.m. Friday. Cinemax.

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