Robert and Michelle King are responsible for creating one of my most favorite shows of all time (The Good Wife), so how could I not give their second series a shot? Sadly while Braindead holds some promise, it doesn’t come together quite as well as it should have.
The strange political satire tells the story of Laurel Healy, an aspiring documentary filmmaker forced by her father to join the staff of her senator brother. Soon after, the whole of DC begins acting strange as space-alien insects begin infecting politicians’ brains. Yup, it’s a pretty bonkers premise, but the potential is sadly squandered in the show’s opening hour.
The issue is that the show can’t seem to settle on a tone. Is it a comedy? It’s not very funny. Is it a thriller? Well, it’s not even that serious. Is it a hodgepodge of a million things? Maybe, but the balance is barely maintained. Braindead even features footage of real-life politicians (Clinton, Sanders and Trump all show up for brief moments), but the show shies away from making any impactful statement about any of them. It’s a missed opportunity if you ask me.
In terms of its cast, Braindead features Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the lead role. The actress does a good job; in fact, she reminded of Alicia Florrick, the Kings’ heroine from The Good Wife, and that’s definitely a great thing. Good Wife alumnus Zach Grenier also makes an appearance as Laurel’s father, and he’s predictable terrific in his minor role. The rest of the cast is rounded out by Scandal’s newest addition Danny Pino (as Laurel’s brother), who plays almost the exact same (sleazy) character. Talk about type-casting!
Finally, can we please take a moment to admire the episode title? It’s an amusing contrast to The Good Wife’s naming scheme (season 1 had one-word titles, season 2 had two-word titles etc…)
While I appreciate its uniqueness, this wasn’t the most engrossing start.