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Cinemax series 'Banshee' aims to hold on to viewers beyond TV

The new cable show's opening titles will give codes that enable viewers to find out details of characters on the Web.

January 11, 2013|By Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times

In one of the photographs in the "Banshee" pilot's title sequence, Sugar Bates, an aging bar owner down on his luck — played by Frankie Faison — is captured in his youth when he was a boxing champion. It conveys Bates' deep longing to climb back into the ring of life, something he thinks may be possible now that Hood has come to Banshee, Yaitanes said.

"There's something magical about a still photograph, and I pictured this as an album of this town on a table, and someone is sifting through the photographs for clues about who these people are," Yaitanes said.

The images that flash quickly on the screen are jarring. They are all "Banshee-ized," shot in such a way that they obscure far more than they reveal, giving the whole sequence an unsettling, almost sinister look and feel that sets the tone for the show, Yaitanes said.

Stone, a founding advisor to Tin Punch Media, came up with the idea of using cinemagraphs, still photographs that move in a fleeting way to capture a vivid moment in time. At the end of the opening credits, viewers see a close-up of a raven-haired woman, a shard of memory from Hood's happier times with Ana, the woman he has come to Banshee to find. In an unexpected flutter of movement, Ana, played by Ivana Milicevic, blinks.

Dunstan Orchard, Tin Punch Media's director of new media, brainstormed the idea of an online safe where viewers could unlock the dark secrets the cagey characters in Banshee have tried to bury. Using interactive video technology, the vault will eventually contain all 10 title sequences and commentary from the show's creators.

"It took a Silicon Valley start-up that did not know anything about titles to understand what we were after," Yaitanes said. "As far as someone is willing to go with 'Banshee,' there will be something there for them."

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