The Pen Continues and Banshee is Totally Cool!

How many of you have watched “Banshee” on Cinemax? If you haven’t you are missing the only show on TV that doesn’t try to force political views down one’s throat, doesn’t force any agendas whatsoever and it definitely doesn’t preach to any side of the moral spectrum. Why? Because nobody is innocent in that town–except a few kids.

You have many characters who have either lost their way–or they deliberately went off on a certain path to escape from someone or something…Take Ana/Carrie Hopewell and Sheriff Hood…Fifteen years prior, she left home, got a new identity and began a new “soccer mom” lifestyle. Prior she was the daughter of a Ukrainian gangster and very involved in her father’s organization.  Evidently when she got pregnant she wanted more than that life for her own child. Who can blame her for running away?

Then there is Sugar, played by Frankie Fayson…He is what I call the “God” character. He knows everything about everyone…Why? He owns the bar. Go figure. However he and a transvestite hacker named Job provide a bit of comic relief at times in this show considering the plots and sub plots…In fact, Job at times is a scene stealer and he totally kicks ass! He really has me cracked up at times. Check out this scene.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZ7mSXN1J4s

At least you now know this is one character that doesn’t put up with BS!

You really need to save a duck and watch Rabbit too…That is Ana/Carrie’s dad…He’s just your average old softie with a bit of a sociopathic twist!  Strangely enough, both he and Ana are characters one ends up having some empathy for…I mean, who wouldn’t be pissed after finding out one is a grandparent of two and they were kept from you?  Rabbit is not without his flaws though. If you watch Banshee: Origins, one learns that years ago he stole his brother’s wife–who is Ana’s mother…AND he killed a few people…Oh–but wait…Alright! He killed a LOT of people! There!

It’s a good thing his brother forgave him and became a priest, but let’s just say they need to keep Julian Sands around because he is bad ass!  The character is likable despite the fact that he does have a dark side to himself. I know if I were him, I’d sleep with a gun nearby being that Rabbit is capable of almost anything.

Then there is Kai Proctor. He is the town mayor and on a bad day, he can make Rabbit look like a bit of a choir boy depending on how pissed off he gets. He is behind almost every criminal enterprise in Banshee.  He is also allowing his niece, Rebecca, to live with him now that she has gotten kicked off of the family farm…Oh by the way, they were raised as Amish.  Proctor has a lot of issues stemming from his relationship with his father, too.  I feel that as Banshee unfolds over time, we will see why it is Proctor chose his path as well.

As one watches this show, it is like watching a novel unfold. The writing is excellent. There is no political crap getting in the way of the story line and definitely nothing preaching to anyone’s morality on this show.  This is exactly the type of show I would watch because I am really tired of prime time TV injecting crap from the political realm into every show. I watch TV to escape that garbage. However, I’d rather not have a TV and watch what I can online.  One needs to be aware that this  is not a show for kids to watch but this is one of the best shows that most of you probably  have not heard of–yet.

I will say this–IF you like Sons of Anarchy, you will probably like this show too because there are times that everything going on is total lawlessness and chaos. There are no motorcycle gangs, but the very nature of the Ukrainian gang and Proctor’s operations make this show intriguing enough. The acting is flawless in this series. Each actor and actress seems to have been carefully picked and plays his/her part to perfection. However, I’d love to see some of the out takes!

The acting ensembles are above and beyond anything you will get on the regular networks. They all know their craft and do an excellent job. All of these characters stand out on their own and their stories work well within the time frame the show is given for each episode.  There is character growth and development as well.  Ana/Carrie is the one I see evolving the most. Her past has come back to haunt her, and her kids are paying the highest price for it. The big question is, will it destroy her entire family, or will they be able to pick up the broken pieces later and put them together into something new.

Rabbit’s character is even understandable in some ways. He is not incapable of love, but his sociopathic nature prevents him from simply letting go of Ana and doing what is best for his grandchildren. He wants vengeance on Hood for “stealing” Ana from him. Being that she left Hood behind and began a new life with a new identity years ago–and married someone else, one might think Rabbit MIGHT have some empathy for Hood…After all, they both got, in essence, “screwed over”.   Hence the reason the entire town of Banshee is now in an uproar. Between Rabbit, Hood and the agendas of Proctor and now the newly introduced Agent Racine, I’m sure this season will be just as explosive as the last, if not even more so.

There is one scene that stands out between Rabbit and Ana/Carrie.  It is where she said, “I will kill you.” and he replies, “You already have.”  At that point one sees pain in Rabbit’s eyes. That is when one knows that Rabbit, for all the evil stuff he has done, does have a heart capable of breaking in that carcass of his someplace.

It would be nice to see a few of these cast members up for prime time Emmy’s in 2015.  So far, Ben Cross, Ulrich Thomsen and Hoon Lee top my list on this show.  It would be nice to see Ivana Millicevic get a nod as well. Not only is Ana/Carrie a strong, surviving character, but her vulnerabilities also come out well on-screen.  Antony Starr is the perfect one to cast opposite her as there is much growth in both characters as the realities of their situations slap them both squarely in the face–and the chemistry between them is great. This growth occurs with casualties though–both living and dead in the series 1 finale.  What will drive this sequence of events to the Series 2 finale? We will have to see but I see endless possibilities for some of the characters on this show.

I hope to see this show last for a VERY long time!

For those of you who are fans of the show and/or fans of the actors/actresses involved, here are some links to their FaceBook pages and most of them can also be followed on twitter! Enjoy! Most of them do answer fan posts and tweets too when they can and have time!

https://www.facebook.com/actorbencross

https://www.facebook.com/banshee

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Antony-Starr-official/119407884769823

https://www.facebook.com/IvanaMilicevicFans

*Hoon Lee is on twitter as @MisterHoonLee    (He’s the actor who gives us that kick ass character of Job!)

These Are the Different Types of Villains–Street Perspective…There are “Levels” and Here are a Few of Them…

NOTE:  This was written for fun.  Given that fact, feel free to add your thoughts on it, but this is not meant to make those in academia happy–it is meant purely just to have some sort of amusement about this topic.

The “Bonehead”…This is the type of villain that will steal, lie and cheat and is mainly used as a buffoon or comic relief–like John Astin in “Evil Roy Slade”  or Kirk Douglas in ‘The Villain”.  These are ones that are so bumbling you grow to like them…They just can’t get their stuff right!

The “Asshat”–This is one of those guys that’s like the drill sergeant  “Full Metal Jacket”.  These guys don’t know when to back off even though they are well intended (as in doing their job) and if something bad happens, the hero takes an instant dislike to him/her–and sometimes the viewers are glad if something happens to those characters–like jail time, demotions or even death just because they are such asshats! They either overdo it in the “zealous” faction or they don’t know how to do their job in a way that can benefit other characters. The Coach in “The Breakfast Club” can qualify here–and to me he IS an asshat! He definitely didn’t know how to “teach”. If this “coach” had handled up on these kids this way now, he’d have been put on probation himself. He did mistreat Bender in my book.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTeYncx1xmI

The “Conniving Bitch”: –I’ll use movie examples here:  Dame Judith Anderson in “Rebecca”, Bette Davis in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” or “Jezabel”…Take your pick.  How about Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction?  Mo’Nique in “Precious”?  Their levels of evil qualify them here–and I had little to NO empathy for them. The same falls true for Farah Fawcett in “Small Sacrifices” and Elizabeth Montgomery’s role in the movie “Amos”.

Glenn Close Fatal Attraction

Glenn Close in 1987’s hit “Fatal Attraction”.

The Jealous Wench:  This is actually ranked right below the “Conniving Bitch”…Just look at Jane Fonda in “Monster in Law“.  Some are a cross between this ranking and the “C.B”–and a good example of this lies in Angelique Bouchard–from the original  “Dark Shadows” or the “Dark Shadows Revival” series.  I didn’t care for Eva Green in the role. I felt that the script for that flick made no sense anyway. It was like watching “Occupy Collinwood”.  If Angelique controlled Collinwood, what the heck did she need Barnabas for? She didn’t. Trying to make her a bit empathetic at the end was a huge mistake. She’s a sociopath as she was portrayed in both the original series and in the ’91 series–sort of like Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction” and with almost a similar narcissistic quality. In fact, in the original series she stooped to killing her own sister.

The Ones We LOVE to Loathe:  Let’s see…This should be easy because it is definitely like “beauty”–in the eye of the beholder in a sense because these villains wire people up…  J. R. Ewing from “Dallas”.  Not that any of them are saints on “Sons of Anarchy” but Gemma Teller Morrow (Katie Sagal) takes the freaking cake…She plays several sides of a fence…Seriously.  Then there is Robert  Mitchum’s character in “The Night of the Hunter“?  That movie kept us on the edge of our seats. Check out this recent review! Very well done:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jfz9Q0Qblw

The same thing goes for two on the show “Banshee”…There are several “villains” there because most are not upstanding, law-abiding citizens, that’s for sure.  Two of the best villains on here are Rabbit (Ben Cross) and Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thompson).  Even the main characters are villains (Lucas Hood and Ana/Cassie Hopewell)–and it gives new meaning to an old bible verse about “…not one being righteous”  in that town, too.   However,  viewers are going to have empathy for some and total loathing for others and my bet for the honor of this particular title  is on these two characters–Kai Proctor and Rabbit.  Both have some bad ass underlings.

Ulrich-Thomsen-as-Proctor-in-Banshee-Cinemax

Ulrich Thomsen as “Kai Proctor” on Banshee in the above photo.

However it is hard to classify Ana/Cassie, Lucas Hood or Job as true villains when they are on the run from Rabbit and his lot and have led (for the most part) “quiet” (I am joking here!) lives for 15 years–while Lucas was locked up. It is very  hard to say that Lucas is “quiet” because he did kill some folks.  Again, hard to classify him and Ana.  However I am tempted to put Ana in the “conniving bitch” category because of how she treated her father–Rabbit and lied about who she really is to her hubby.  There is something up with that because he did love his daughter. This is where some will actually empathize with Rabbit.  However others will be baffled as to why Lucas even bothers with her because she really pulls some wicked crap that he should have grown a pair and killed her over in my book. Ah…The joys of true love. What can I say?  I mean, she cuffed him to a bed and left him for Rabbit, for Chrissake! I can say this, he is correct when he tells her that “Carrie” (as in her identity) is a “hiding place”.

ivana millicevic anttony starr Banshee

Ivana Millicevic (Ana aka “Carrie) and Antony Starr (Lucas Hood) in “Banshee”.

Some do feel a bit of empathy for Rabbit when a couple of things get revealed–but he’s still gonna be one twisted, sick–well, you get it.  It’s also easy to empathize with Kai over the issues with his father and his upbringing–and that is where it ends with him.  He’s almost as twisted as Rabbit, I think, but in a different way. No, I take it back. Rabbit is NOT as twisted. Watch the scenes Proctor has with his niece and you will know why I say that…

Ben as Rabbit

The pic above is a screen shot of Ben Cross as “Rabbit”.

If you have not seen “Banshee” I highly recommend it! It is very well-written and directed,  but it is NOT a family show. There is nudity and such–after all it is Cinemax, so use your brains and put the kiddies to bed first or send ’em to Grandma’s!  After you watch that, come back and tell me which character (NOT CAST MEMBER) you want to kick in the shins! Just remember! Those men and women are ACTING!  It’s the characters we loathe–not the players!   I wonder if Mo’Nique got flak for her role in “Precious” now that I think about it…

I don’t know about the rest of you but when villains fall in the last category above, it just totally rocks! People  LOVE hating villains like these!  I am going to go a little further here.  I think the character of “Mr. Rabbit” is going to be so detested by some that he’ll end up being one of the best TV villains of all time–which would dethrone J.R. Ewing–and believe me, this guy makes J.R. look like a cub scout in comparison!

To give you an idea of how twisted the family tree is–here is one card Carrie/Ana will NEVER send to her father Rabbit–even though there might be a little truth in it:

snakeplissken

And I am going to add here that since “Banshee” is the highest rated show Cinemax has ever aired, I think some prime time Emmy nods will come out of this–and if not, someone hasn’t got their head on straight.  This series has some excellent writing in it–so even if you’re not into the nude scenes and such–it is worth watching for the fact that it has plot, organization, innovation and originality.  Those of you anticipating Sons of Anarchy’s new season should tune in to this one in the meantime.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

I look for Hoon Lee, who plays “Job” on here to get a best supporting actor nod too.  Some people tune in to see what stunt he’s going to pull next! He has a lot of scenes in this series that will crack you up, so here is one of them (and it has adult language, so if you’re offended easily, sorry. This cracked me up!) :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=3UQdGPp3BDs

As I dive further into the villain topic, I’m sure there are other categories to add later, but these are the main ones and these are meant for a general audience–not the academic one. If I were to go into the “Abrams Book of Literary Terms” it might bore a lot of you to death so I spared you that…However it is a good tool for writers to have on hand.  And a good resource to look at is Chuck Wendig’s “Terrible Minds” blog.  Here is a link to that too–and he’s as blunt as the Banshee writers!

http://www.terribleminds.com/