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Banshee: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review

banshee-S2-bluray-coverU.S. Release

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The Series

[Rating:4.5/5]

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After HBO’s sister channel Cinemax got their feet wet wading into the proverbial pool of original dramatic programming with Strike Back with some success, they followed up with another action drama, Banshee. I have to say, I did not follow Strike Back, but Banshee intrigued me, and from the first episode, I was hooked. This is what an action series on television should be. Banshee plays like a cross between an Elmore Leonard story and The X-Files, with its weird characters, visceral violence, and otherworldly sense of being.

The action drama with the neo-noir twist goes even darker in its second season, and gets even better. Who knew it could be possible? It didn’t seem like they would be able to follow through, but the writers kept the show fresh and addictive.

Lucas Hood (Antony Starr) somehow manages to keep his cover as a thief from being blown, even as the Feds are closing in on him. Meanwhile, the love of his life Carrie (Ivana Milicevic) has had her life turned upside down. Her family has found out that her whole Banshee persona is a lie, she’s been sent to prison and is in the big house fighting for her life. And Life in Banshee is about to get even more complicated as Lucas, looking to avenge the life of the son of the real Sheriff whose identity he assumed, goes hard after local crime boss Kai Proctor’s (Ulrich Thomsen) drug business. This brings the Banshee police force in contact with local white supremacists, and leads to some shocking and violent events involving the Deputy Emmett Yawners (Demetrius Grosse). And coming into her own is Proctor’s niece Rebecca Bowman (Lili Simmons). Their relationship has always seemed a tinge incestuous, but this season Rebecca flirts with danger as she begins to play multiple sides, using her sexuality and cunning to play her uncle, Lucas, and Alex Longshadow (Anthony Ruivivar) against each other.

As seems to be the standard with Banshee, the whole season ends in a violent finale and where it goes from there is anyone’s guess. I just know that, I’ll bee tuning in to see where this exciting and addictive series goes from here. Again.

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]

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Banshee is gritty and gorgeous in this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement to Blu-ray from HBO Home Entertainment and Cinemax. Crisp textures, strong contrast, deep inky blacks, and perfect flesh tones with no hints of compression noise or motion artifacts make this steps above the broadcasts.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

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HBO’s English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack for Banshee is is engulfing. It provides atmosphere perfect for this violent, neo-noir series, good dynamics, clean dialogue, and a spacious soundfield. The surrounds carry a small amount of discrete effects, and there’s a solid low end.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4/5]

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Disc 1:

  • Banshee Origins (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:44:33) – These origin vignettes go back 17 years and further explore the mythology of the characters in Banshee.
  • Zoomed In (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:04:03) – Take a quick look behind-the-scenes of the action and fight sequences in episodes 1 and 2:
    • Episode 1
    • Episode 2
  • Episode 1 – Deleted Scene (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:02)
  • Inside the Title Sequence (1.78:1; 1080p/24) – An interactive guide to the meaning of the symbolism in the opening title sequences:
    • Episode 1
    • Episode 2
  • Twitter Commentary with Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Episode 2 – “The Thunder Man” with Ivana Milicevic (Carrie Hopewell), Lili Simmons (Rebeca Bowman), Trieste Kelly Dunn (Siobhan Kelly), Odette Annable (Nola Longshadow), and Alexa Fogel (casting director)

Disc 2:

  • Zoomed In (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:04:28) – Take a look at some of the new dangerous characters introduced in episodes 3 and 4:
    • Episode 3
    • Episode 4
  • Deleted Scenes (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:58):
    • Episode 3 – Deleted Scene
    • Episode 4 – Deleted Scene 1
    • Episode 4 – Deleted Scene 2
  • Inside the Title Sequence (1.78:1; 1080p/24) – An interactive guide to the meaning of the symbolism in the opening title sequences:
    • Episode 3
    • Episode 4
    • Episode 5
  • Audio Commentaries:
    • Episode 3 – “The Warrior Class” with Allen Marshall Palmer (co-producer) and Brad North (sound supervisor)
    • Episode 5 – “The Truth about Unicorns” with Jonathan Tropper (creator/executive producer/writer), Greg Yaitanes (director/executive producer), Babak Najafi (director), and John Romano (writer)

Disc 3:

  • Zoomed In (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:04:28) – Go behind-the-scenes of the big fights, battles, and explosions that define the season’s big battle between Proctor and Lucas and the surprising turn of events involving Emmett.:
    • Episode 6
    • Episode 7
    • Episode 8
  • Audio Commentary Episode 7 – “Ways to Bury a Man” with Antony Starr (Lucas Hood) and Loni Peristere (director)

Disc 4:

  • Conversation between Olek and the Albino (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:33)
  • Deleted Scenes (1.78:1; 00:02:00):
    • Episode 9 – Deleted Scene
    • Episode 10 – Deleted Scene 1
    • Episode 10 – Deleted Scene 2
  • Trailers (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:05:33):
    • Origins Comic-Con Trailer
    • Season 2 Teaser Trailer
    • Season 2 Trailer
  • Inside the Title Sequence (1.78:1; 1080p/24) – An interactive guide to the meaning of the symbolism in the opening title sequence.
  • Twitter Commentary with Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary Episode 10 – “Bullets and Tears” with Jonathan Tropper (creator/executive producer/writer) and Greg Yaitanes (director/executive producer)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4.5/5]

Banshee-S2-BD_05

The second season of Banshee brings us new romantic and sexual entanglements, further growth for protagonist Lucas Hood, and, surprisingly, Rebecca Bowman, who, up until now seemed to be one of the few characters in the series who was simply reacting to her environment. It also brings lots of blood, vicious fisticuffs, and gun battles. The Blu-ray collection is everything you’d expect from HBO.

Additional Screen Captures

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