A young, fresh-faced Hill staffer gets her first job in Washington, D.C. to discover two things: The government has stopped working, and alien spawn have come to earth and eaten the brains of a growing number of Congressmen and Hill staffers.
A comedy? A drama? Horror fiction? "BrainDead" is described as all three in IMDb, but I never referred to the website before watching the first three episodes. I expected a comedy, based upon television ads, so I watched episode one waiting for the moment when it diverged into that genre, but that moment never came. There were bizarre happenings that suggest a writer with a dark sense of humor, but the episode played like straight horror/drama, like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."
Still, I felt there was an undercurrent of something political. Would the show reveal itself to be left-leaning (like most everything from the west coast) or would it use Trump l'oeil to sway viewers to the right side? I watched episode two in anticipation.
Although the main character, Laurel Healy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), seems somewhat apolitical, she works for her brother, a Democratic senator, so much of the story originates from that point of view (and I think that's why some viewers think it espouses a left-of-center political viewpoint). But the barbs were evenly distributed on both sides of the aisle, I thought. I noticed that when Laurel didn't like the right-leaning political commentary on one channel, she switched to a left-leaning channel. This appears to be a more objective commentary that skewers the simplistic assertions of both extremes (and I use that term in a non-pejorative way).
So now I consider the show a mystery. What will it reveal itself to be? Will it remain a sci-fi/horror/centrist commentary about American politics and culture? I hope so.
The cast is excellent. I especially enjoy Ms. Winstead, who I had not seen before. She has an every"man" appeal and Laurel seems like someone you'd like to know. She is more than the token "person of conscience" in D.C. that the first episode painted. Tony Shaloub plays a meaty role as Red Wheatus, the colorful Republican opponent of Laurel's brother. Johnny Ray Gill plays Gustav Triplett, a quirky genius who struggles to understand the odd happenings around him.
Update 8/2/16: More than a handful of episodes in, this show has shown itself to be consistently interesting and adorable and intriguing--an unusual combination. I am raising my grade to "9".
Update 9/15/16: From the musical reminders of what happened in the previous episode to the way the show perfectly captures the BS that passes for activity in government to the insightful lampooning of PC-inspired nonsense, this show is forcing me to give it a "10" because it is one of the best in recent years. Besides, there's a nagging voice in my head compelling me to up my grade...and have a kelp shake.
73 of 78 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this