CBS debuts its summer genre slate tonight with the sci-fi/horror/comedy hybrid “BrainDead,” starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Injecting a little bit of fun into our current bizarro political climate, the first episode plays out like a cross between “House of Cards” and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Mostly because of the fun premise involving a brain-eating alien parasite running wild in D.C. and Winstead’s star power, “BrainDead” is definitely worth tuning in to.
Mocking long-winded book titles from conservatives and liberals alike, tonight’s pilot is entitled “The Insanity Principle: How Extremism in Politics Is Threatening Democracy in the 21st Century,” and it sets up the inherent danger of partisan politics. Winstead’s character, Laurel, is a documentarian in a powerful political family who’s forced to take a job on K Street in order to fund her next film. As she navigates her way through the inner workings of D.C. by helping to close a deal to get Congress up and running again after a shutdown, Laurel begins to notice that something strange is going on.
Meanwhile, a meteor that’s being investigated by a team of scientists cracks open, releasing a huge number of ant-like creatures that begin to infect the local population of politicians and dignitaries at an alarming rate. Tony Shalhoub, playing a Conservative Senator named Red Wheatus, drinks his way through most of the episode and is one of the clear standouts of the pilot. His transformation and Winstead’s performance are the two clear reasons to watch moving forward.
Not to be confused with Kevin Tenney’s Brain Dead from 2007, the CBS show should be a clear summer standout if things keep escalating. There’s certainly some subtext that makes “BrainDead” aptly timed considering the continued stalemate seen by our political leaders right now, but the show isn’t banging a drum or beating you over the head with message. It’s there if you want to delve a little deeper, but on the surface “BrainDead” looks like it will have a great balance of humor, horror, and sci-fi – and a whole lot of space bugs and brain matter.
“BRAINDEAD,” from Robert and Michelle King, acclaimed creators and executive producers of “The Good Wife,” premieres Monday, June 13 (10:00-11:00 PM ET/PT). The event series is a comic-thriller set in the world of Washington, D.C., politics that follows Laurel (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a young, fresh-faced Hill staffer who discovers two things: The government has stopped working, and bugs are eating the brains of Congress members and Hill staffers.
“BRAINDEAD” stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Danny Pino, Aaron Tveit, Tony Shalhoub, Nikki M. James, and Johnny Ray Gill. Robert and Michelle King, Ridley Scott, David W. Zucker, Brooke Kennedy, and Liz Glotzer serve as executive producers for CBS Television Studios, Scott Free Productions, and King Size Productions. Judy Smith serves as co-executive producer.