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As the Cry of the Banshee Fades

Published on June 30th, 2016 | Updated on June 30th, 2016 | By FanFest

With the airing of the final season of Cinemax’s Banshee series now in the past, I find I have a gap in my life. There is a persistent nagging in the back of my head that keeps dragging me back to some of the scenes, and all the while the title music plays over and over. I believe I have what is called a series hangover.

There were many things I loved about this series; the plot progression, the characters and how they grew with the series, the title sequence and the soundtrack. But none of those things drew me to Banshee initially.

outrageous fortune
Courtesy of South Pacific Pictures

When I first heard about it, a colleague asked me if I had seen Van Wests’ new series. Now, in New Zealand, Van West is almost a household name, at least for anyone aged roughly 20-40. He was a character in one of New Zealand’s most successful TV series (if not THE most successful) Outrageous Fortune. Which ran for six seasons and the prequel series Westside is now in its second season. Van West and his twin brother Jethro were played by Antony Starr, who plays ‘The Sheriff’ Lucas Hood in the Banshee Series. I love a story of Kiwi’s doing well, it really stirs a bit of Kiwi pride in me. (Note: A Kiwi is the native bird of New Zealand and the term New Zealanders refer to themselves as – yes it’s odd, the Australians don’t tend to refer to themselves as Kangaroos, but there it is, we are a unique lot.)

 

Cinemax - banshee - job
Courtesy of Cinemax

Having been drawn into the Banshee series I was then hooked by all the aspects I mentioned above. The character development was brilliantly rolled out, with a back story for a character with each episode, that kept you coming back to learn more. And these characters had depth. I mean whoever came up with an Asian, drag queen, hairdresser that is a computer hacker, is either a genius or heavily medicated. Either way, I think Job may have been my favourite character just for the crazy mash up that he was, and how well Hoon Lee pulled it all together.

By the middle of the last season, I was sure there was going to be a huge body count of the main characters coming, and I became a little hesitant about watching. After all, the myth behind the Banshee is that their cries forewarn of death. What if the series ended badly? Nothing like a sour ending to bring down the whole series. I was also concerned by the potential of everyone being killed off in a last man standing type of showdown. I was torn. However, every time I heard that Russian Roulette-like starting sequence I was drawn back in. I loved trying to predict the events of the episode by watching the different photos shown with the actor’s names.

Those of you that know me or have read my blog www.therhythmofmyheartblog.wordpress.com (blatant self-promotion), will know that music is my thing. I am a very firm believer that it’s the music that makes a movie and the same of course holds true for a TV series too.

Courtesy of Cinemax
courtesy of Cinemax

A good movie/series can become great with the right choice of music spliced into the background. A soundtrack should heighten the emotion the actors are showing in the scene. A poor choice of music can make it feel disjointed and distract the viewer from the storyline, and even detach them from the characters. Fortunately, the music director for Banshee had things well under control. As I have already mentioned, the theme music was catching and the way the Carrie and Lucas Theme (also by Methodic Doubt) was used at poignant moments throughout the series pulled the episodes together with a familiar yet haunting quality. The other tracks had a necessary level of variability such as Nico Vegas, with their more uplifting rock style, contrasted well with some of the darker sounds contributed by the likes of Verse & Bishop. There was a regular blues influence amongst the heavier rock tracks that fitted nicely with the rural, small town feel, Banshee presented.

Where to from here then? No more Banshee but there will be something new along shortly, it will take a while for anyone to beat Banshee for me, but the pilot for Fox’ Lucifer  held promise and a classic soundtrack starting point, Neil Gaiman is also one of my favourite authors. So watch this space.

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