True Blood creator Alan Ball is a busy boy these days. With True Blood just having received an entirely unsurprising fifth-season renewal, now the L.A. Times brings word that Ball is also exec producing a new series called Banshee for HBO's sister network, Cinemax. Here's how the LAT described the series, because I simply can't word it any better:

The series will be set in a small town in Pennsylvania Amish Country (the titular Banshee), according to a person who was briefed on the project, and feature an enigmatic ex-con who's also an expert in martial arts. Darkly comic in tone, the show will have the ex-con posing as a murdered sheriff, imposing his own brand of justice while also cooking up plans that serve his own interests. Unlike the sagas of Sookie Stackhouse, there will be no supernatural element to the series.

There are so many WTF elements in that description that I don't know where to begin. The Amish Country setting could be cool, if only for the extremely distant possibility that Seth Green's character from Sex Drive might show up. The "darkly comic" part is no surprise, but the martial-artist ex-con posing as a dead sheriff kind of sounds like a Danny McBride character. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. I'm not quite sure how the impersonating the dead sheriff thing will work, though. I guess everybody in Amish Country is really unobservant maybe?

If all goes well, the show could begin shooting this spring. Writers Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler actually brought the idea to Ball, so they will be involved as executive producers as well, alongside actor Peter Macdissi. Tropper has worked on several as-yet-unproduced screenplays, as well as novels including The Book of Joe. Schickler also has a couple of unproduced projects on his resume, so this show will be a chance for these two to prove themselves (or not) in the series world.

Banshee is part of Cinemax's broader move into original, scripted programming that isn't softcore porn. If you've watched HBO at all recently, you've probably been assaulted with trailers for their new series Strike Back, based on a British series about special-ops agents from both sides of the pond. Strike Back premieres on Cinemax this Friday night. The network is also developing a show based on the Transporter movies.


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