Cinemax: ‘Banshee’ Renewed For Season Two

Banshee

Via Press Release:

CINEMAX RENEWS ACTION SERIES BANSHEE FOR SECOND SEASON

cinemax-logoLOS ANGELES, Jan. 29, 2013 – CINEMAX has renewed the action series BANSHEE for a second season, scheduled to debut in 2014, it was announced today by Kary Antholis, president, HBO Miniseries and CINEMAX Programming. The show is currently in its first season, with episodes debuting Friday at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT).

Executive produced by Jonathan Tropper, David Schickler, Peter Macdissi, Alan Ball and Greg Yaitanes, BANSHEE stars Antony Starr (“Rush”) as Lucas Hood, an ex-con and master thief who assumes the identity of the sheriff of Banshee, Pa., where he continues his criminal activities, even as he’s hunted by the shadowy gangsters he betrayed years earlier. Scripts for the first season are conceived and written by Tropper and Schickler.  Writers John Romano (“Monk”), Evan Dunsky (“Two and a Half Men”), and Doug Jung (HBO’s “Big Love”) join Schickler and Tropper for season two.

Also starring in season one of the series are: Ivana Milicevic (“Charlie’s Angels,” HBO’s “Mind of the Married Man”), Ulrich Thomsen (“The Celebration”), Frankie Faison (“The Good Wife,” HBO’s “The Wire”), Hoon Lee (“Premium Rush”), Rus Blackwell (“Burn Notice,” HBO’s “Recount”), Matt Servitto (HBO’s “The Sopranos”), Demetrius Grosse (“Justified”), Trieste Kelly Dunn (“Brothers and Sisters”), Ryann Shane (“Blue Bloods”), Daniel Ross Owens (“Prison Break”), Lili Simmons (“Fat Kid Rules the World”) and Ben Cross (“Star Trek,” “Ben-Hur”).

The ten-episode first season of BANSHEE, which began Jan. 11, has inspired critical raves, with the Hollywood Reporter calling it “taut, entertaining and smart,” and the Wall Street Journal describing the show as “enticing” and “indisputably satisfying.”

For more on the series, visit cinemax.com/banshee, facebook.com/cinemax, twitter.com @Cinemax #Banshee and youtube.com/Cinemax.

Cinemax: ‘Strike Back’ Season Three Confirmed For This Summer, Robson Green Joins Cast (VIDEO)

Strike Back S3

OK, it didn’t take a press release for anyone who has been following Cinemax’s guilty-pleasure hit action series Strike Back to figure out that it would be returning this summer after the series’ renewal was announced back in October of 2012 while the second season was still in its first run, however, what this press release is good for is announcing the addition of Wire in the Blood‘s Robson Green to the main cast.  For fans of that British crime series, this is good news indeed as Green is a phenomenal actor and excellent addition to the cast. 

Via Press Release:

HIT CINEMAX SERIES STRIKE BACK LAUNCHES SEASON THREE THIS SUMMER;

PHILIP WINCHESTER AND SULLIVAN STAPLETON LEAD THE CAST;

RHONA MITRA AND MICHELLE LUKES ALSO RETURN

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Robson Green, Dougray Scott And Milauna Jackson Join The Cast

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cinemax-logoNEW YORK, March 14, 2013 Production is underway on the third season of HBO/CINEMAX’s breakout drama series STRIKE BACK, it was announced today by Kary Antholis, president of HBO Miniseries and CINEMAX Programming. CINEMAX teams up once again with the production company Left Bank Pictures and the British channel Sky for the ten-episode season, which is shooting on location in South Africa and Hungary, and debuts on the network this summer.

Philip Winchester (“Crusoe,” “Camelot”) and Sullivan Stapleton (“Animal Kingdom,” the upcoming “300: Rise of an Empire”) reprise their onscreen partnership as counterterrorism operatives Sgt. Michael Stonebridge and Sgt. Damien Scott in the third season.

The returning cast also includes Rhona Mitra (“Underworld: Rise of the Lycans”) as Maj. Rachel Dalton, Michelle Lukes (“Alexander”) as Sgt. Julia Richmond and Liam Garrigan (“Pillars of the Earth”) as Sgt. Liam Baxter.

New cast members includes Robson Green (“Wire in the Blood”) as a new member of Section 20, Dougray Scott (“Desperate Housewives”) as rogue operative James Leatherby and Milauna Jackson (“Blood Done Sign My Name”) as a key player who crosses paths with the counterterrorism team.

Returning directors are Michael J. Bassett (who also serves as co-executive producer), Julian Holmes and Paul Wilmshurst; returning writers are Simon Burke, James Dormer, John Simpson and Richard Zajdlic.

In STRIKE BACK’s third season, counterterrorism unit Section 20 pursues a deadly terrorist network from Colombia to Beirut to Europe, uncovering deadly plots that reach to the West. As in previous seasons, the production utilizes consultants who work in the field of counterterrorism to add to the authenticity of the series, providing essential background on stories, characters, training and settings.

The second season of the show made its world premiere at Comic-Con in July 2012 and featured the world premiere of two new Bob Dylan songs. The series received an Emmy® nomination for Outstanding Main Title Design for its first season, which launched in 2011.

STRIKE BACK was the first original primetime series on CINEMAX in more than 15 years. The Los Angeles Timesdescribed the show as “a buddy movie, a simmering life-or-death bromance between its two male leads,” while AOL TV observed, “The heart of the show is the relationship between Scott and Stonebridge,” calling them “two peas in a badass pod,” and the Huffington Post hailed Stapleton and Winchester as a “dynamic team.”

For more on the series, visit facebook.com/cinemax, twitter.com @Cinemax #StrikeBack and youtube.com/Cinemax.

STRIKE BACK is a CINEMAX Presentation in association with British Sky Broadcasting Limited; a Left Bank Pictures Production. Executive producer is Andy Harries; series producer is Michael Casey; co-executive producers are Michael J. Bassett, James Dormer and Tim Vaughan; producers are Selwyn Roberts and Chris Thompson; co-producer is Bill Shepard.

Cinemax: Premiere Date Announced For New Series ‘Banshee’ (Plus Teaser Trailer)

(Scroll down for trailer)

Via Press Release:

NEW CINEMAX ACTION SERIES BANSHEE, FROM A TEAM INCLUDING 

ALAN BALL AND GREG YAITANES, TO DEBUT JAN. 11 

October 18, 2012 – HBO/CINEMAX has confirmed the debut of BANSHEE, with the ten-episode drama series scheduled to launch FRIDAY, JAN. 11 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on CINEMAX.

Executive produced by Alan Ball, Greg Yaitanes, Peter Macdissi, Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler, the primetime action series stars Antony Starr (“Rush”) as Lucas Hood, an ex-con and master thief who assumes the identity of the sheriff of Banshee, Pa., where he continues his criminal activities, even as he’s hunted by the shadowy gangsters he betrayed years earlier. The production was shot in and around Charlotte, NC.

The series also stars Ivana Milicevic (“Charlie’s Angels,” HBO’s “Mind of the Married Man”) as Carrie Hopewell, Hood’s former partner in crime, who now lives in Banshee under an assumed identity with her new family, who know nothing of her past; Ulrich Thomsen (“The Celebration”) as Proctor, an intimidating, wealthy local businessman who believes he is above the law; Frankie Faison (“The Good Wife,” HBO’s “The Wire”) as Sugar Bates, a wise, powerful former boxer and ex-con who now owns the local watering hole; Rus Blackwell (“Burn Notice,” HBO’s “Recount”) as Gulf War hero Gordon Hopewell, Banshee’s district attorney, who is married to Carrie; Ryann Shane (“Blue Bloods”) as Deva Hopewell, Carrie and Gordon’s rebellious daughter; and Ben Cross (“Star Trek,” “Ben Hur”) as Mr. Rabbit, a ruthless Ukrainian gangster who has been hunting Lucas and Carrie, his former top thieves, for 15 years.

Other cast regulars include Demetrius Grosse (“Justified”) as Emmett Yawners, a deputy in the Banshee sheriff department; Trieste Kelly Dunn (“Brothers and Sisters”) as Siobhan Kelly, a spitfire female deputy in the sheriff’s department; Matt Servitto (HBO’s “The Sopranos”) as Brock Lotus, the longest-serving deputy in the Banshee sheriff department, who is threatened by Hood’s new role as sheriff; Lili Simmons (“Fat Kid Rules the World”) as Rebecca Bowman, a local Amish girl in her early 20s who lives a devout life by day, but is a rebellious, sexually adventurous party girl by night; Hoon Lee (“Premium Rush”) as Job, a dangerous transvestite computer hacker who assists Lucas in his criminal enterprises; and Daniel Ross Owens (“Prison Break”) as Dan Kendall, Banshee’s young, idealistic mayor.

Scripts were conceived and written by Tropper and Schickler. The directors are Yaitanes (Emmy® winner for “House M.D.”), S.J. Clarkson (“EastEnders,” “Dexter,” CINEMAX’s “Hunted”), Ole Madsen (“Edderkoppen,” “Flame and Citron”), Dean White (“Once Upon A Time”) and Miguel Sapochnik (“Repo Men,” “House M.D.”).

BANSHEE is the latest primetime drama to be added to the CINEMAX slate. The Emmy®-nominated hit action series “Strike Back” just completed its second season and will return in 2013, and “Hunted,” the new spy thriller from creator and writer Frank Spotnitz (“The X-Files”), debuts tomorrow, Oct. 19.

For more on the series, please visit cinemax.com/banshee, facebook.com/cinemax,twitter.com @Cinemax #Banshee and youtube.com/Cinemax.

CINEMAX: ‘Strike Back’ Renewed For Third (Actually Fourth) Season

Cinemax has renewed their guilty-pleasure action thriller series, Strike Back, for a third season with the network.  Note, this will actually be the fourth season of the series as the first season aired in the U.K. under the title Chris Ryan’s Strike Back based on the novel of the same name.  Check out our review of the series, here.

Via Press Release:

NEW YORK, Oct. 3, 2012 – The Emmy®-nominated series STRIKE BACK will return to CINEMAX in 2013 for a third season of ten new episodes, which will shoot in South Africa and Hungary. CINEMAX/HBO will again produce the series with Partners Left Bank and Sky, who will air the series in the U.K. Returning for season three will be Left Bank’s Andy Harries as executive producer, series producer Michael Casey and head of production Marigo Kehoe. Sky’s Huw Kennair-Jones will executive produce.

Others returning for season three include director Michael Bassett (“Silent Hill: Revelation 3D”) and writers Simon Burke (“Persuasion”), James Dormer (“MI-5”) and Richard Zajdlic (“EastEnders”). Additional directors and writers will be announced as they are confirmed. Due to plot spoilers in upcoming episodes of season two, the cast of season three will be announced at a later date as well.

Also returning to the drama series for next season are the show’s confidential consultants, who work in the field of counterterrorism. Their expertise is a resource for story, lingo, procedure, accuracy, character development and regional issues, providing a look inside the highly secretive black ops world. They also train the cast in battle tactics, weapons and fighting, as the lead actors do most of their own stunts.

Debuting in 2011, STRIKE BACK was the first collaboration between CINEMAX/HBO and Sky. The first season introduced an unlikely pair of operatives in the stealth counterterrorism unit Section 20: Sgt. Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester), an exceptional British Special Forces (SBS) soldier, and the less-conventional Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton), a former U.S. Delta Force member. In the second season, currently debuting new episodes Fridays at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT) and concluding its run Oct. 12, the team tracks nuclear triggers stolen by a powerful businessman with dangerous geo-political ambitions, while the two lead characters face personal challenges and contend with the pressures of their high-stress work.

In addition to Philip Winchester (“Crusoe,” “Camelot”) and Sullivan Stapleton (“Animal Kingdom,” the upcoming “Gangster Squad,” “300: The Battle for Artemesia”), season two stars of STRIKE BACK include Rhashan Stone (“Episodes”) and Michelle Lukes (“Alexander”). Season two guest stars include Rhona Mitra (“Underworld: Rise of the Lycans”), Charles Dance (HBO’s “Game of Thrones”), Vincent Regan (“Snow White and the Huntsman”), Liam Garrigan (“Pillars of the Earth”) and Shane Taylor (“Band of Brothers”).

The Los Angeles Times said the show “shoots high with plenty of action and thrills and a simmering bromance that’s fun to watch,” while New York’s Daily News hailed STRIKE BACK as “appointment television for the next 10 weeks” and the Washington Post described it as a “stylish and addictive new counterterrorism series.”

Recently nominated for an Emmy® in the category of Outstanding Main Title Design, STRIKE BACK was the first original primetime series on CINEMAX in more than 15 years. The next series to debut will be “Hunted,” launching Oct. 19, starring Golden Globe nominee Melissa George (“In Treatment,” “30 Days of Night”) and created and executive produced by Frank Spotnitz (“The X-Files”), followed in Jan. 2013 by “Banshee,” executive produced by Alan Ball (HBO’s “True Blood”) and Greg Yaitanes (“House”).

For more on the series, please visit facebook.com/cinemax, twitter.com @Cinemax #StrikeBack and youtube.com/Cinemax.

STRIKE BACK is a CINEMAX Presentation in association with British Sky Broadcasting Limited; a Left Bank Pictures Production; executive producers, Andy Harries for Left Bank and Huw Kennair-Jones for Sky; series producer, Michael Casey.

Strike Back – Cinemax (Friday – 10:00 p.m.)

A high-octane, globe-spanning thriller with storylines ripped from today’s headlines, Strike Back, Cinemax’s first scripted prime-time original drama series, focuses on two members of a top-secret intelligence agency known as Section 20: Michael Stonebridge, a British sergeant on the elite counter-terrorism team, and Damien Scott, a former U.S. Delta Force operative who was discharged on the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Stonebridge, Scott and the rest of Section 20 criss-cross the globe on the trail of a deadly international terrorist named Latif, who is planning a major attack involving a cache of WMD that could have global repercussions. – Cinemax

(NOTE:  The ‘Tastic has changed its rating system.  We are now using a 100 point scale.)

Our Rating: 90 out of 100

There are some shows that we go into saying to ourselves, “this could be a lot of fun or this could be complete crap” and it doesn’t seem like there really is a chance that there could be a middle ground for it.  Cinemax’s first serialized drama, Strike Back, is no exception and adding to the either/or possibilities for the series is the fact that it’s on at 10:00 p.m. on Friday nights… and it premiered in the middle of summer.  No one watches television at 10:00 p.m. on Friday except your grandmother who’s watching 20/20.  The coveted 18 – 49 demographic is out getting their freak on.  Well, they all need to get their twerking asses home (NOTE: thanks to YouTube, we just learned what twerking was yesterday, so… we’re hip.) and sober up because they now have a reason to not leave the house… and to subscribe to a premium cable package.

THIS is what an action show is all about.  We’ve seen a few comparisons to 24 thrown around and, honestly, for about twenty seconds we were thinking the same thing, but then it dawned on us that the shows are very dissimilar except for the fact that they focus on a counter-terrorist organization, are action-packed and seem to throw in a cliffhanger/big twist at the end of each episode. Well… OK, we will concede that it would appear “on paper” at least, that they are a lot alike but we think the comparisons and the noted similarities of the show by ourselves and others is more representative of nostalgia and 24 withdrawal more than anything else.  Don’t forget, we were promised that NBC’s The Event was going to be the next 24, heck it was going to be Lost meets 24 but that didn’t quite work out that way at all.  We’re all just jonesing for the next 24, is all.

Truthfully speaking, Strike Back plays out and is produced much more like a feature film than it is a television series, even a premium cable television series.  We can only imagine what the budget on this show is as they don’t seem to be pulling any punches at all and it should be noted that although this is the first season of the show for us here in the U.S., this was originally a Sky 1 show in the U.K. (Chris Ryan’s Strike Back) so what we’re watching now is actually season two (known as Strike Back: Project Dawn in the U.K.) . This is the same thing that Starz did with Torchwood: Miracle Day and it’s becoming kind of annoying.  Yeah, we get the fact that you’re taking great U.K. series and adapting them for the U.S. audiences in such a way that they don’t have to see the previous seasons in order to immediately catch on but it’s just retarded.  Just based on the description in Wikipedia, if you didn’t see the first season on Chris Ryan’s Strike Back, than you missed a lot and we know for certain that the same can be said for the first three seasons of Torchwood.  Hey, Cinemax and Starz: get your acts together and order the prior seasons and air them before your network exclusive show.  You’re doing a disservice to your audiences by not.

Anyway, as clichéd as it sounds, Strike Back truly is a non-stop adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  The characters are complex and well-developed, the plotline is smart and will keep you guessing and unlike the most of the shows on HBO that are just plain lazy, the violence and language is actually more-or-less appropriate when considered in context with the show.  Now, there is a TON of gratuitous sex and nakedness going on but the damned show is so good that they get a pass from us on this.  Honestly, in this case the T ‘n A seems more like an added bonus on this testosterone filled thrill-ride.

Speaking of clichéd, though, as good as the show is, we did have two complaints: we really do like the characters but the characters of both Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton) and Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester), our male leads, came off as very clichéd and cartoonish in the beginning of the first episode.  It was just kind of silly, stereotypical action-movie character crap that was very off-putting.  As the episode progressed it improved dramatically with both characters showing much deeper levels of complexity.

Our other complaint was the “cliffhanger”/”big-twist” at the end of the episode. Without giving anything away, if you watched this episode and didn’t see the twist coming the moment character-X was introduced than you were asleep.  That or you never watched 24 or Die Hard or any one of a number of action films/television shows.  It was lame, it was lazy and it was predictable.  We love a good twist, but don’t treat us like we’re morons.

You can watch full episodes of Strike Back, here.

…And for your added viewing pleasure, right here!

And to sweeten the deal, some saint has posted the entire first season, right here!