BANSHEE “Pilot.” Cinemax. 11 January 2013. Antony Starr, Ivana Miličević, Ulrich Thomsen, Frankie Faison, Hoon Lee, Rus Blackwell, Ben Cross. Created and written by Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler. Director: Greg Yaitanes.

   This is a pilot that pretty much does exactly what it’s supposed to do. It sets up the characters and the situation, tell a story as it does so, and makes the viewer want to  come back for more. In this case, though, it takes the entire hour’s length of running time to squeeze everything in, and the average viewer  (me) will still have a lot of questions. I guess I’ll have to watch the next one!

   I’ll start with the characters, then, and maybe fill in the situation as I go. It’s rather complicated, but I’ll try to make things simple, if I can. A man (an appropriately tough-looking Anthony Starr) is just out of prison, and with the help of an old friend (Hoon Lee) he’s is able to find his way to the small Amish town of Banshee PA, where a former girl friend and (as it turns out) accomplice (Ivana Miličević), who is now married to the D.A. (Rus Blackwell), who trying his hardest to put a local mobster (UlrichThomsen) behind bars. On the ex-convict’s trail back in Manhattan is a crime boss (Ben Cross) who has a powerful reason for finding him.

   I hope you’re still with me, since the most outrageous piece of the plot line is yet to come – and this occurs early, so I’m not giving too much away, I hope – the convict manages to take the identity of the new sheriff in town before he can present himself to the mayor who has just hired him, sight unseen.

   That’s enough story line for a full season of ten episodes, wouldn’t you say? The show was, in fact, popular enough to be on for four seasons, probably based on that last gimmick, but I’ve resisted temptation and not looked that far into the future. Except an unnecessary focus at the results of some ultra-violence, I enjoyed this one and will go along for the ride, at least for now.  You might even say I’m hooked.