Alan Ball is an impressive figure in both television and film making, winning countless awards that include Emmys, a Golden Globe, an Academy Award, as well as an assortment Guild of America awards. In making his mark on the industry, he has sparked a strand of cultural iconography (like the roses in American Beauty) and thus firmly established a cult following for his various TV series.
To commemorate the release of Banshee, available to own and watch instantly via blinkbox and out on DVD and Blu-ray on 2nd September, his most recent enterprise, we reminding ourselves of the gay writer/producer’s genius capabilities in continually entertaining (and the fact that everything he’s done has touched on mixed sexualities, even if it’s never been the main subject).
TRUE BLOOD (Creator/Writer/Producer) – True Blood, predominantly known for its toothier moments, is a triumph for Ball as the Creator. In the scene above from Season 1 Episode 8, Bill emerges out of the ground, reuniting him once again with his paramour, after he was believed to be dead. Much to the relief (and pleasure!) of Sookie, this is just one example of the kind of vampire-based viewing we sink our teeth into each week.
BANSHEE (Creator/Writer/Producer) - Reminiscent of Ball’s earlier work, Banshee is set in a fast-paced hyper reality, bursting with the type of explosive full-on-action enjoyed at the cinema. Centred on the rogue outlaw of a Sheriff that is Lucas Hood (Antony Starr), there is a tone of heightened insanity that manifests within the series. This shootout scene filled with violence from the Season 1 finale is just one example of the kind of the crime and brutality we are accustomed to in this series – and we love it!
AMERICAN BEAUTY (Writer/Producer) - Hailed as a ‘triumph of acting, writing and direction’ by Rolling Stone magazine, American Beauty is the most iconic venture made by Alan Ball, winning him three awards and a further nomination. Depicting the effects of a mid-life crisis, the film largely focuses on a father infatuated with an underage cheerleader. In this memorable scene, Lester (Kevin Spacey) fantasises about Angela (Mena Suvari) lying naked in a bed of falling rose petals, a visual masterpiece that has left a lasting impression on popular culture.
SIX FEET UNDER (Creator/Writer/Producer) - Comedic yet dark, Six Feet Under follows the lives of a dysfunctional family with the looming presence of death hanging over them. This opening scene from the Pilot episode was starkly brilliant! Within the first few minutes we were shocked by the sudden twists on TV show conventions, such as the death of the person who initially seemed like they’d be the main character (and he was, kind of, making appearances from the afterlife) and a fake funeral coach advertisement. Clever, witty and definitively unsettling; it’s no wonder it was so successful.
CYBILL (Writer/Producer) - The 90s sitcom Cybill was Ball’s breakthrough, as it was here he climbed through the ranks, eventually becoming co-executive producer. The series is based on a twice-divorced single mother (Cybill Shepherd) attempting to pave her way into the acting industry. Full of comedy, gossip and witty banter as insinuated in this screen shot, it was a sure-fire hit.
Banshee – Season 1 is Released on Blu-ray, DVD and available to own and watch instantly via blinkbox on 2 September 2013