Long before the age of Netflix and other streaming services, premium cable was viewed as the go-to destination for original series that were too risky or extreme for the traditional (and more heavily regulated) network airwaves. HBO and Showtime have long been considered the leaders in this arena, but in the last few years, Cinemax - HBO's sister network - has been vying for its own spot on that list.
The hit action/drama series Banshee went a long way towards building that reputation for Cinemax. The series - which centers on an ex-con (Anthony Starr) who assumes a new identity as sheriff of a small town - earned record-breaking ratings during its premiere (read our review) and soared even higher in season 2. However, a new report indicates that the show's run is coming to an end.
According to TVLine, Banshee's upcoming fourth season will be its last. Premiering in 2016, the final season will consist of eight episodes and is already set to add Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum Eliza Dushku to the cast. Although the news has not been confirmed by Cinemax, the show's producers reportedly have known that the show's conclusion was nearing and managed to craft a satisfying ending for the series.
While fans of the show will undoubtedly be disappointed that Banshee won't be on the air for years to come, the ability to end the show on its own terms and wrap up its narrative in just the right way is rare in television. Moreover, some of the most acclaimed drama series in recent years (The Wire, Breaking Bad, etc.) have taken this route, as well as many of the most influential shows in television history. Perhaps a shorter, more intense run for Banshee could ultimately bode well for the show's long-term reputation, especially considering just how strong season three ended.
Banshee's absence will leave Cinemax with some holes to fill, as far as its original programming goes. The network's Strike Back is set to end its five-season run this year, and once Banshee is gone only Clive Owen drama The Knick will remain. Time will tell what shows Cinemax will pick up to rebuild its schedule, but Quarry - based on the novels of Max Allan Collins - is in the queue and could provide a nice boost to the network, if successful.
Are you sad to see Banshee go, or are the producers making the right call by ending the show now? Sound off in the comments section below.
Banshee will return to Cinemax for its final season in 2016.