Banshee: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray Review)

BansheeFrom executive producer Alan Ball, creator of True Blood, this Cinemax action drama charts the continuing twists and turns that follow Lucas Hood (Antony Starr), an ex-convict who improbably assumes the identity of sheriff of the rural, Amish-area town of Banshee, where his former lover and partner-in-crime (Ivana Milicevic) lives under her own alias, Carrie Hopewell. Season 2 takes up immediately after the S1 finale, when Carrie’s father, gang kingpin Rabbit (Ben Cross) was left for dead after a climactic warehouse shootout. Carrie, now exposed and estranged from her husband and kids, is torn between her devotion to her family and her connection to Lucas, who had given himself up in order to save her years earlier. The new season finds Lucas, having escaped detection after being interrogated by FBI agent Jim Racine (guest star Zeljko Ivanek), with his hands fuller than ever as sheriff, dealing with (among other things) the murder of a Kinaho tribe girl, the continuing escalation of tensions between Amish overlord Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) and Kinaho tribe leader Alex Longshadow (Anthony Ruivivar), and the unwelcome appearance of a surprise visitor: the reprobate son of the real (dead) Lucas Hood. 



Here we are together again with our latest review of Cinemax’s latest show called Banshee. It’s been a busy week, because I was not at all familiar with the show and this being a review for the second to a show that I am not familiar with meant that I had to get cracking on season one first. Fast-forward a week and I devoured season one and then binge viewed the complete season two and here we are. Banshee season two takes place immediately following the events that transpired that left Russian gangster Kingpin Rabbit to die. Lucas Hood (Antony Starr) and Rabbit’s daughter Carrie (Ivana Milicevic) are living under aliases in the small town of Banshee. Lucas was an ex-convict who served 15 years in prison after getting caught by police robbing a bank. Due to some unfortunate circumstances that happened in season one, Lucas is now Banshee’s Sheriff.

He plays by his own rules and isn’t above cracking someone’s head open in front of everyone to get his point across. Carrie, Rabbit’s daughter, is also married to the town Mayor and has two children of her own now. All is well or as good as it seems. Banshee borders an Indian reservation and an Amish community. This Amish community is where the local Banshee crime lord, Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) was excommunicated from many years earlier for his transgressions. Proctor has now claimed Banshee as his but those around him seeking power will not let him sit on throne too comfortably.

Banshee is an awfully complex show that manages to weave many threads into a coherent storyline that is relatively easy to follow. Lucas is our anti-hero, Carrie is the woman of his dreams, or at least was, but can’t seem to get over, and Kai Proctor is at the top of the food chain. Many plot lines come into play, like those revolving drama and politics within the reservation, Amish community, and Banshee itself. I should point out that this fictional town of Banshee is located in Pennsylvania.

On the side, and while Lucas tries to navigate through and around Kai Proctor he sets up shop with some of his compatriots. These are Job, the very funny and eclectic computer hacker extraordinaire, and Sugar, the local Banshee bar owner and Lucas’ mentor. They’re thief’s, let’s not kid ourselves. By day Lucas has his law enforcement obligations to get through and by night he’s a master thief and makes a lot of money on the side stealing from various people and companies.

I really liked the fact that Lucas’ facade as a Sheriff goes unnoticed by everyone and that certain episodes stand on there own independent from the main Rabbit and Kai Proctor story lines. One such episode involves the investigation of an Indian girl and the possible connection it has to the Amish community-bordering Banshee. Tensions flare and both communities point a finger at each other but our “fake” Sheriff is there to tackle the case and make sure that justice is served. Do you see the irony in that? The Sheriff is a criminal himself who assumed the identity of the real Sheriff and has now taken over those duties. I love it!

Banshee: The Complete Second Season is filled with enough action and adventure thrills that will satisfy the most skeptical of action fans. I’d also go far as to say that this is a neo-noir-western type of show. I have nothing bad to say about the show with regards to anything that I watched during the first two seasons. Season three premieres next month and you best believe that I will be watching. For now, you’re mission, should you choose to accept it, is to seek out the first and second seasons of Banshee on Blu-ray. Oh, and keep reading to see how the rest of this Blu-ray set turned out.


Little Fish

The Thunder Man

The Warrior Class


The Truth About Unicorns

Armies of One

Ways to Bury a Man

Evil for Evil


Bullets and Tears




Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail: Banshee on Blu-ray looks just as good as you would expect from a premium cable channel owned by HBO. It’s reference. The clarity and detail of the show are amazing. The only parts that may show off its budget are few and far between and those would be smoke and fire elements. Those come off a bit soft but nothing to distract you from watching what else is going on. Sharpness is kept in check, as are the contrast levels. They don’t seem to have been tweaked in postproduction.

Depth: Banshee is a small town and it looks like a place where you would want to go live in and the Blu-ray brings out some exceptional depth and textures to the small town and its surroundings. The sky, mountains, greenery, etc., look incredible on this Blu-ray.

Black Levels: There are many scenes that take place in low-lit and dark exteriors/interiors and are handled well. Crush and compression were not an issue here.

Color Reproduction: The visual palette is terrific. Primary and secondary colors shine through like a perfect rainbow.

Flesh Tones: Everyone looks healthy and flush unless they’re on the receiving end of some serious violence.

Noise/Artifacts: The Blu-ray is reference, therefore, noise, artifacts, and debris where not an issue.




Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French DTS 5.1, Spanish DTS 2.0, German DTS 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, German, French, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish

Dynamics: I knew from the first episode’s grand street chase spectacle that Banshee would be a top-notch show in the audio department and I was right. The lossless soundtrack on this Blu-ray set is phenomenal! It’s a very action oriented show, so all of the gunfights, chases, explosions, martial arts, etc., come through with exceptional clarity via the sound stage. This is what reference audio dreams are made of.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE subwoofer channel gives the show that extra kick in the pants it needs and serves. The LFE packs a wallop during the more aggressive instance of the show – explosions, brutal fight hits, etc. The LFE channel is no slouch on this set.

Surround Sound Presentation: Duck for cover! That’s what this set should come packed with: a declaimer. Bullets fly and whizz by your head with great speed and precision. The rear channels compliment this 5.1 lossless surround soundtrack quite nicely.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is clear and crisp. I did not detect any instances of hiss, clipping, or echoing. All is grand on the center channel front.




Banshee: The Complete Second Season is loaded up with some really cool special features that include deleted scenes, Twitter commentary tracks with cast and crew as they live Tweeted during the season premier and finale. There’s a “zoom in” special feature that acts as a PIP (picture-in-picture) during certain episodes where you can watch what goes on behind-the-scenes of those particular episodes while you watch the current one. Interactive extras are located on the discs and they are of the many title sequences that actually offer clues to what the episode will be about. I mentioned Twitter text commentaries but certain episodes also have actual audio commentaries with the directors. Everything is presented in high definition. A digital HD UltraViolet copy round out the special features section.

  • Banshee Origins: Find out the story before the story with a dozen prequel videos featuring the cast of Banshee.
  • Zoomed In: Episodes 1-4 & 6-8: Go on the set with the cast to see how key, adrenaline filled scenes were created.
  • Conversation between Olek & the Albino: See both sides of Olek and the Albino’s phone call from Banshee origins.
  • Audio Commentaries
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Trailers
  • Inside the Title Sequence: Uncover the clues behind each episode’s opening title sequence with this interactive feature.
  • Twitter Commentary with Cast and Crew: Take a look back at the cast and crew of Banshee live tweeting during the season premiere and finale.




Banshee: The Complete Second Season takes no prisoners as a show and I’m already counting the days until the start of the third season. This Blu-ray set is spectacular, as it has reference technical specifications, and above average supplemental special features. Cinemax has really taken the bull by the horns so to speak, with Banshee. It’s one of the best television shows out there.




Order Banshee: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray!



Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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