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BrainDead

Drama . Sci-Fi & Fantasy . Comedy . Horror
 

BrainDead is a comic-thriller set in the world of Washington, D.C. politics that follows Laurel, 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. The daughter of a Democratic political dynasty who left Washington, D.C. to become a documentary filmmaker, Laurel is pulled back into the family business when her brother, Luke, the Democratic whip Senator from Maryland, needs her help running his senate office. On the Hill, Laurel becomes unlikely friends with Gareth, the smart, hardworking Legislative Director to a top Republican, Senator Red Wheatus. Her other allies include Gustav, an eccentric genius who is the first in D.C. to recognize that something sinister is attacking the Capitol, and Rochelle, a medical student who teams up with Laurel and Gustav to protect and defend the citizens of D.C. from an untimely fate. As the tiny bugs continue to multiply, Laurel and her allies must work quickly to identify the other-worldly creatures, stop their infiltration and ultimately save the world.

 
Status: Ended
TV Channel: CBS
  • Jeff Korbelik

    The Kings’ clever summer horror thriller.

    The Lincoln Journal Star Full Review
  • Emily Nussbaum

    BrainDead is aggressively funny and a little sloppy, and it’s that sick-joke aggression, the refusal to take itself seriously, that is the key to its appeal.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    The genius of BrainDead, an enjoyably offbeat sci-fi/political satire hybrid, is in reminding us that it's possible to have fun without leaving one's brain at the door. [20-26 Jun 2016, p.17]

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Jen Chaney

    I’m not sure the whole thing gels perfectly just yet. But BrainDead is still engaging, deliciously weird, and well worth adding to your DVR rotation.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Mark Dawidziak

    Beneath all of the insanity, BrainDead again and again demonstrates it has a brain in its head. It's goofy-good-time stuff, all right, yet it has a point.

    Cleveland Plain Dealer Full Review
  • Mitchel Broussard

    BrainDead is a whole lot of surprising, straight-up-entertaining things over the course of its opening hours but, this summer, it also feels like a no-brainer.

    We Got This Covered Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    It’s an ambitious, almost indescribable series that has fun while feeding into American rage over our government’s partisan mania.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Scott D. Pierce

    Braindead is pretty much completely insane. But in sort of a good way. At least for a while.

    The Salt Lake Tribune Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    BrainDead is an entertaining enough summer distraction through its first three episodes, but it’s no “Good Wife.”

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Maureen Ryan

    Ultimately, for a show with a lot of zombie flavoring, BrainDead too often lacks bite.

    Variety Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    BrainDead is, overall, a smartly put-together piece of work, but it lacks the sharp sting of political criticism it seems so ardently to want to burrow into your brain.

    Yahoo TV Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    The idea and many of the pieces have promise, but as a whole, BrainDead just seems to have gotten away from them.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Verne Gay

    Not exactly satire, not exactly horror, BrainDead is not exactly much fun, either.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Daniel D'Addario

    It’s less a missed opportunity than entirely misbegotten.

    Time Full Review
  • Mark A. Perigard

    Despite some graphic moments of heads exploding, BrainDead is neither comic nor thrilling.

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    The cast’s good work is fatally underminded by the show’s fuzzy concept.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Glenn Garvin

    Not that BrainDead isn't bleakly hilarious, to a pee-your-pants-laughing degree, and drive-in-movie creepy. It sooooo is, and it's the show of the summer and possibly of the year. But not since The Werewolf Of Washington popped up during the 1973 summer of Watergate has Hollywood captured the moment's political gestalt with such deadly accuracy.

    Reason.com Full Review
  • Aaron Riccio

    Character, not concept, drives BrainDead. The Kings have always stacked their deck with talented, scene-stealing stage actors, and that serves both the bombastic, egoistic orators of D.C. and the everyday eccentrics.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Joshua Alston

    A political satire built on such a wacky conceit, it practically demands to be mocked. And yet the show is clever, brisk, and compelling, and it succeeds not by dancing around its inherent weirdness, but by zealously embracing it.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Bruce Miller

    BrainDead comments better than a Sunday morning pundit, moves faster than a New York to D.C. train and never pauses to filibuster.

    Sioux City Journal Full Review
  • Hank Stuever

    Ridiculous, yes, but also engaging--and maybe some relief for viewers who are preoccupied with politics but could still use a break from cable news. BrainDead is no “Good Wife,” but it does have the Kings’ sense of wit and momentum. It also, to some degree, displays their knack for timely social commentary.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Jeff Jensen

    It’s a blend of political satire and semi-campy horror--a darkly comic zombie yarn, a cheeky Invasion of the Body Snatchers. And if the whole season is like the pilot, it might actually be fun.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Ed Bark

    One of the better things about this series is its ongoing updates via clever Gilligan’s Island-esque sing-along lyrics preceding each new chapter. Better yet is Winstead’s assured, appealing performance as a D.C. tenderfoot thrust into a new world of mystery and political polarization that escalates once those bugs begin infesting and in some cases, exploding the heads of their prey.

    Uncle Barky Full Review
  • Michael E. Ross

    The pacing in the early episodes can be uneven, and some plot points you see coming from a long way off. But BrainDead is promisingly original, a deft combination of the tropes of a horror movie, the pace of a forensic drama and the barbs of a political satire that’s thoroughly of the moment.

    The Wrap Full Review
  • Willa Paskin

    BrainDead is zippy and witty, a thinking person’s beach read, but there is something not quite enough about the premise. Our political culture is so crazy it is nearly un-satirizable. BrainDead knows this: Its point--not a joke at all--is that a Washington infested with extraterrestrial creepy-crawlies is indistinguishable from a pest-free D.C.

    Slate Full Review
  • Robert Lloyd

    If the series is too schematic and too noncommittal to really function as satire, that doesn't matter much; it’s fun--“The Good Wife” was always the best at its funnest--and Winstead has just the right mix of innocence, intelligence, idealism and pluck for the job. And it functions capably as a monster movie.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    Though no sillier at heart than Under the Dome, Zoo or Extant, the Kings' Washington, D.C.-set BrainDead is sci-fi with a healthy sense of the ridiculous.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Allison Keene

    BrainDead moves along at a plucky pace, with the always charming Winstead as an affable and compelling lead, especially as she starts to unravel more about the space bug conspiracy. ... While those aspects work--though they are occasionally too on-the-nose (early episodes were re-tooled to include timely references about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton)--the series’ tone may be divisive.

    Collider Full Review
  • Megan Garber

    It serves up all the stuff you’d expect of political satire--the betrayals, the dramas, the jokes at the expense of overeager staffers--but never blends them deftly enough to suggest the deep knowledge that is required to make satire truly scathing.

    The Atlantic Full Review
  • Josh Bell

    The Kings deserve credit for taking a risk and not just putting out another legal drama, but if anything BrainDead isn’t weird enough. By hedging its bets, it ends up in an awkward middle ground between straightforward drama and something more original.

    Las Vegas Weekly Full Review
  • James Poniewozik

    Throughout, BrainDead has the goofy-A-student vibe of a particularly saucy public-radio show. The other parts of this mash-up are weaker. The sci-fi plotting is perfunctory. Ms. Winstead is charming, but Laurel is conceived mainly as an audience surrogate, there to roll her eyes for us at the egos in Washington. The pols, like Tony Shalhoub’s boorish Republican senator, are flat characters even before they come down with brain-bugs.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Gail Pennington

    Everything about this new summer show is confounding. Is it horror? Political satire? Slapstick comedy?

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Joanne Ostrow

    The subtlety that made [The Good Wife] work is not in evidence here. Nor does this hour demonstrate the sophisticated humor of “Veep,” a better parody that doesn’t need a zombie-like subplot.

    Denver Post Full Review
  • Michael Slezak

    BrainDead manages to be intermittently intriguing just through the sheer strangeness of its premise not to mention the sparkling chemistry Winstead exhibits both with Tveit and Semine. And in a different series, Pino’s cheerful, adulterous, win-at-all-costs politico could’ve been downright fascinating. Ultimately, though, like the inside-the-beltway white matter that gets consumed by those little alien critters and winds up turning to pink goo, BrainDead goes splat under the weight of its outsized aspirations.

    TVLine Full Review
  • Dan Fienberg

    There are enough likable actors and easily digestible bipartisan political jabs here for occasional amusement, but it's sometimes exhausting to watch a show trying this hard for such limited returns.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Brian Tallerico

    BrainDead just isn’t funny enough, and is nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is. Perhaps in 2016’s truly odd political climate, a show about Capitol Hill being taken over by aliens isn’t extreme enough to work as parody.

    RogerEbert.com Full Review
  • Brian P. Kelly

    While the show shoots for Sorkinesque commentary and the hilarity of “Veep,” it doesn’t come anywhere close to either. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Danny Pino, Aaron Tveit, Tony Shalhoub and other familiar small-screen faces don’t have much to work with, given writing that’s as weak as the excuses offered during high-profile sexting scandals.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review

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  • white house

  • alien invasion

  • meteorite

  • remake

  • body snatcher

  • evil alien

  • conspiracy

  • congress

  • female protagonist

  • documentarian

  • senator

  • political aide

  • secretary

  • murder

  • alien infection

  • scientist

  • ship

  • government shutdown

  • negotiation

  • russia

  • paranoia

  • hive mind

  • telepathy

  • alien insect

  • brain eater

  • pandemic

  • end of the world

  • manipulation

  • music lover

  • brain melting

  • cover up

  • brain parasite

  • brain removed

  • brain drain

  • republican

  • democrat

  • reference to hillary clinton

  • reference to donald trump

  • reference to bernie sanders

  • pattern

  • election year

  • exploding brain

  • brain falls out of the head through the ear

  • song

  • swarm behavior

  • exploding head

  • political satire

  • politician

  • brains

  • father daughter relationship

  • brother sister relationship

  • american politics

  • alien

  • politics

  • government

  • washington d.c.

  • based on novel

Episode Guide For Show: BrainDead
1