‘BrainDead’ series review
By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter
Imagine America’s present political backdrop. Now simply add mind-controlling alien bugs trying to take over the government, and you’ve got a TV show. BrainDead, a comedy-thriller summer series, provides a glimpse into the world of politics in the present day from a satirical perspective. Surprisingly, a more lighthearted take on politics allows BrainDead to draw fresh eyes to the political drama genre, which has been done to death.
Laurel (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a young documentary filmmaker, is recruited by her brother, Luke (Danny Pino), a persuasive senator, to be a caseworker, as she has run out of funding for her recent project. While in DC, Laurel realizes that bugs from outer space have been eating the brains of politicians. Let the screams begin.
Throughout the season, the world in the show and the world as we know it seem almost identical. Filled with shouting democrats and republicans, the TV series gives audiences a somewhat behind-the-scenes look into the presidential campaign that is sweeping the nation. This TV series couldn’t have come at a better time.
Winstead’s portrayal of Laurel in the series is yet another reason to watch BrainDead. She brings a heroic character to life in her tireless efforts to find out what’s eating Washington. While the political talk provides half of the show, the best part is the other half—the humour. It’s a pure joy to watch each episode begin with a musical number recounting the events of its previous one.
During the whole political ordeal, Laurel recruits some help from a scientist and an NSA employee. These three get into mischief, and can be counted on to provide a chuckle here and there. In addition, the jabs at the political hierarchy are sure to surprise and entertain.
Gareth (Aaron Tveit), a political adversary turned admirer, tries his best to prove to Laurel that individuals on different sides of the aisle can find more than one thing to agree on. While Tveit’s chemistry with Winstead comes off as natural, it seems as though his role could have been cast to any attractive guy. While Winstead’s role is quite memorable, Tveit’s will most likely be forgotten.
On a positive note, BrainDead’s creators, Robert and Michelle King, should be given praise for their keeping-up with the times. While the series aired over the summer, the plot line included a handful of nods to the present election.
Additionally, the over-arching plot never feels scattered. While it does tend to lead characters to say things that weren’t expected, or provide answers ahead of questions, each episode provides the audience with a hook at the end of the closing scene, with just enough pull to keep viewers coming back. All in all, BrainDead is a great way to pretend you know a lot about politics, have a good laugh, and watch some heads explode.