Tuesday, July 19, 2016

TV Tuesday: BrainDead

Without a lot of shows to watch during the summer, my husband and I decided to try something new last week. I'd been seeing ads for BrainDead. Frankly, I thought it looked really weird, but it's from the creators of The Good Wife (one of our recently departed favorites!), so we thought we'd give it a try. What followed was one of the oddest hours of television we've ever watched! As strange as it is, though, it is also really, really good - we're hooked!

OK, so try crossing the political drama and satire of House of Cards with the sci fi plot of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and add in a hefty dose of humor. Got it? No, probably not. This is one show you definitely have to see to understand. Basically, it posits that the reason politicians seem so crazy these days is that a bunch of them have had aliens eat their brains. It makes as much sense as anything else, doesn't it?

Laurel Healy, a young woman who grew up in Washington, DC, reluctantly returns to her hometown to earn some money so that she can return to her real passion: making documentaries about obscure types of music in isolated places. Laurel is not all that happy to be back and really hates politics. The rest of her family, though, are DC-insiders. Her father, Dean, played by Zach Grenier (The Good Wife's David Lee), has worked in politics all his life and agrees to give Laurel the money she needs to finish her current documentary if she will work in her brother's office for 6 months. Her brother, Luke Healy, played by Danny Pino, is a Democratic Senator.

Right from Laurel's first day as Constituent Coordinator, it is as she feared: politics as usual, with back-room deals, extremist views, and power-hungry members of Congress (including her brother). To make matters worse, Congress can't agree on a budget and is about to shut-down the government. To try to avoid that and keep thousands of people in DC working, Laurel agrees to meet with Gareth Ritter, played by Adam Tveit from Graceland, a staffer for Republican Senator Red Wheatus (played hilariously by Tony Shalhoub), who is on the opposite side of the budget crisis.

Meanwhile, something very strange is going on in DC. Some aliens that look like ants have escaped from a meteor that was delivered to the Smithsonian. They crawl into people's heads through their ears and either eat up (and spit out) a good portion of their brains or their brains explode. Really. And to top it all off, Laurel keeps hearing "You Might Think" by The Cars playing.

Yes, it's just as weird as it sounds! But somehow, despite the complete goofiness of the concept, it works. The acting is excellent: Mary Elizabeth Winstead does a great job as smart, good-hearted Laurel, and the rest of the cast is great, too. The writing is top-notch; you can tell it shares a pedigree with The Good Wife. It manages to be a political satire, a sci fi mystery, and a comedy all at once. Oh, and there is even some romance in it, as Laurel and Gareth are clearly attracted to each other but on opposite sides of the aisle. We have now watched three episodes, and it just gets better and better. You have to at least try 2 episodes, minimum, so you can hear the hilarious little "previously on" song they sing at the beginning of the show!

I know it sounds incredibly strange, but you have to trust me on this one. Give it a try - it is oddly compelling and very funny.

BrainDead is currently airing on CBS Mondays at 10 pm and all three of the current episodes are available On Demand (I think episode #1 comes off Demand on 7/24, so hurry up!). All episodes are also available for free on Amazon Prime or for $1.99 an episode for non-Prime members (link below). They are also available on CBS All Access, if you are a member (since when do the networks require membership to watch their shows?).


Anonymous said...

They just moved it to Sunday nights at 10pm.

Sue Jackson said...

Thank you!! I knew they'd just switched days, but it looks like I got it backward (can I blame brain fog? or aliens that eat brains??) We never watch anything when it actually airs anymore (and anyway, 10 pm is past my bedtime!) - we watch everyone on Demand, so I never know when shows air. I just went with what CBS said on their website.

Thanks for the heads up!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue, I hope everything is ok with you, the serie you recomended seems rather entertaining (you got a candidate for beeing president that most of the world really are baffled that this person could even be a candidate). I tried Inosine (I asked you about it in an earlier post) it seems to work and do some good. I tried with the version of 2/day the first week (weekends off) and then 6/day and weekends off). Six was to strong for me, not in symtoms but the risk for kidney stones I think. I got problems with taking a leak in the end (not painful but strong smell and needed to go much more than usual and some pain in kidneys I think). I stoped when I felt this but I will try again in lower doses. Have you or your son experienced stronger smell in urine (maybe thats something all will have with inosine) and more worring pain in kidneys. Potassium Citrate could be used to fight kidney stones so I use that.

Sue Jackson said...

Ha ha - yes, our political scene is unbelievable right now - it would be funny if it weren't so serious - and that makes this show extra entertaining!

No, we've never had any problems with kidneys or urination; however, we also found 6 pills a day too much for us - it just triggered worsened immune symptoms in us. So, we have done well alternating weeks with 2/day and 4/day, weekends off, and taking a couple of weeks of entirely every few months - that helps to keep it working effectively. Good luck! Let me know if it helps you - we saw an increase in good days and far fewer crashes, including virally-induced crashes (the worst!). I hardly ever get a sore throat anymore since inosine. Hope it helps you, too!