BrainDead Premiere: Did CBS' Comic Thriller Infect Your Brain?

No one took the obvious route and yelled “Braaaaainnnns!” during the premiere of BrainDead — not that we could hear, anyway.

Then again, given that the alien baddies in CBS’ new comic thriller from The Good Wife bosses Robert and Michelle King are the size of ants, how can we be so sure that such gleeful calls to feast weren’t simply too quiet to be detected by the political noggins into which they burrowed, leaving pink goo where grey matter once resided?

107970_D-0108bThe premise resides at the corner of satire and sci-fi. Laurel (Mercy Street‘s Mary Elizabeth Winstead), wants to make documentaries about Melanesian choirs, but when her dad offers to pay off her student loans in exchange for working for/keeping tabs on her U.S. Senator brother Luke (Law & Order: SVU‘s Danny Pino), she can’t resist. Amidst the nation’s hyper-polarized political landscape, Laurel hears a constituent’s story about how her husband returned from work on a cargo ship with an altered, politically rigid personality and camera-phone footage of some sort of mysterious encounter involving a Russian crate.

We know said shipment contained a meteor-esque object that’s delivered brain-eating aliens to Earth, ones that cause people to give up alcohol, play The Cars’ 1984 hit “You Might Think” on repeat loop, slick up their hair and become completely hardcore in their political beliefs (be they Democrat or Republican).

107975_0007bUnfortunately for Laurel, the deal she helps broker to avoid a government shutdown gets the thumbs down from her slick, slightly skeevy brother — and just as things are getting flirty with Garrett (Aaron Tveit of Graceland and Grease: Live fame), the right-hand man of a powerful Republican named Red Wheatus (Monk‘s Tony Shalhoub). Later, though, it’s Red who ups the partisan ante — after his brains get pushed out his ear and turned to pink sludge by those tiny outer-space rascals. (Did I mention Luke’s right-hand aide/mistress is also under the spell of the aliens? They’re busy little bugs!)

Things get worse for our protagonist, though, when the head scientist investigating the meteor thingy becomes the aliens’ next victim, and as he tries to resist their hostile takeover in the back of an ambulance, his head explodes all over Laurel’s face. And as Red flips a Democrat to the conservative side and Luke is pushed out of his majority-whip post, the hour ends on a symbolic note: A television left on its side as Luke’s team vacates his offices, declaring “Bipartisanship is dead.”

What did you think of BrainDead‘s series premiere? Will you be back for a second helping? Grade the hour in our poll, then sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Lana says:

    Awful…..truly awful. I was looking forward to it, and it was a huge disappointment. It was just……stupid.

  2. Suso says:

    Not as bad as TVline’s review. A solid “B”

  3. dlraetz says:

    Skipped and really glad I did

  4. EJ says:

    It was genuinely terrible. CBS should pull the plug fast on this one.

  5. Vic says:

    Whoever thought this show was a good idea should be fired.

    • PatriciaLee says:

      “That’s a good one. That’s a funny one.”, says the husband, who had me look for the posts that felt the way he does about the show. He got a good laugh over yours.

  6. JBC says:

    Too many good actors to be in this strange show.

  7. laurelnev says:

    Meh…weak opener, but I’ll give the concept a week or 2 before deciding, especially considering the dearth of good summer TV. But following 12 Monkeys in the watch schedule will be a hard act to live up to. At least my namesake appears to be the good guy this time around.

  8. luke says:

    Mary Elizabeth Winstead is awesome…

  9. Dave says:

    Ugh. Love the actors. Love the people behind it. But hated it. Skipping for sure.

  10. wrstlgirl says:

    What the hell was that?!?! Weird enough for me to watch again, lol!!

    • Bethwriter47 says:

      Too gross for my summer entertainment.

    • Bwhit says:

      It was so out there…. Exactly what I want in my summer programming lol!!

    • Nero tTVFiddler says:

      Well said – I thought the same thing when the premiere reached its conclusion:
      “What the hell was that!?”
      However, I may not be back to watch episode 2, even though I like the cast so much – particularly Mary E. W.

      Even for summer fare, ‘heart’ in the scripts matter. Shows need some ‘heart’, and I’m not sure this one will have enough to keep viewers week on week. I remember ‘Mars Attacks’ when it had its theatrical release. I kept thinking of that movie as I saw this episode. I remember thinking – ‘what a missed opportunity.’

  11. Tracy says:

    Really really bad.

  12. S.uddemly says:

    Good Summer mindless fun-plus the Cars’ “you might think!”

  13. Steven says:

    Seems like a weird, fun Summer show. I’ll keep watching.

  14. Wtll says:

    It wasn’t funny, and it certainly wasn’t thrilling. I’ll be skipping it from now on.

  15. Rob Horine says:

    Knew it, Democrats are good, Republicans and conservatives are evil.

    I get enough of that BS watching Hillary and trump.

    • Tom says:

      Not actually true at all as the ant-liens were taking over both sides of the spectrum.

      Also the entire plot was about making a deal for the good of the country, which is something that definitely doesn’t exist in reality.

  16. dan says:

    Quirky, but not sitcomy-funny. I like the cast and the storyline is unique. Better production values and acting than Under the Dome! I’ll give it one or two more episodes before deciding if I stick with it for the summer.

  17. Bwhit says:

    I enjoyed it, and I know I’m in the minority but I think the pilot had good set up. It’s a good summer offering for me!

  18. Lysh says:

    I didn’t watch it. My mother gave me the run down and it sounded weird. But I heard they have musical recaps before each episode (obvs not the pilot) and I kinda want to check that out next week.

  19. christopher bee says:

    Loved it. It´s weird, it´s funny, it´s sassy. Peter Jackson will enjoy it too.

  20. Clayton says:

    I love Mary Elizabeth Winstead but the Kings really needed more time to develop this in my opinion. It felt like a rough draft.

  21. PatriciaLee says:

    The only thing that made sense were the ants, and maybe that was the point. The husband said, “You will be watching #2 by yourself.” Wrong! I won’t be watching it, either. We only watched it because we were huge Monk fans, but the husband was very disappointed, “It stunk to high heaven. I was so embarrassed, I wanted to give up my card membership in the human race.” On the other hand, I’ll check out episode 13 to see how it all wound up.

  22. mikefrommarkham says:

    Terrible… Complete waste of a good cast.

  23. BobbiW says:

    The Kings should have spent their “energy” on writing better scripts for the Good Wife. Now THAT was a good show – in the beginning before it turned into a soap opera. They really failed on this one and I hope it gets cancelled in favor of a new show or maybe even reruns.

  24. Much smarter than your average show.

  25. Eurydice says:

    It was OK, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it again.

  26. Tim Medlock says:

    awful waste of my time…actually it was stupid…tivo’d it and immediately deleted it and the one pass i created….

  27. Mr. Smith says:

    Now, I thought the last season of “Under the Dome” was bad, but folks, “BrainDead” has that one topped… or bottomed.
    BrainDead sucks. Like bug sucks.

  28. patrickmaloney33 says:

    This show is so wacky, in the best sense of the word!

  29. Sarah says:

    I actually enjoyed it! It’s definitely a subtle tongue-in-cheek satire, as opposed to the typical in-your-face comedy (which I don’t usually find all that funny). Sounds like it’s not going to last that long though, which is unfortunate.

  30. W says:

    A refreshing mindless wonder. Thanks for the chuckles.

  31. HAP says:

    I missed it last night in favor of the new season of Major Crimes. Plan to check it out on demand. That said, for all you Mary Elizabeth Winstead fans, of which I am one, 10 Cloverfield Lane is out on Blu-Ray this week in case you have not seen it.

  32. EWood says:

    It was comical, except that the little brain eating buggars should have looked like bed bugs instead of marching ants. So my question is – Is the current Senate BrainDead or is this just make believe? I’d believe it.

  33. Linda says:

    I enjoyed the opening. As the first show, it had to introduce the characters prior to mind control to set the stage before getting into the purpose of the show. Some people seemed surprised by the Mind Control Ants, but all of the promos showed the ants on the pillow. I think it will be a fun comic relief this summer. Tony Shalhoub is a great comedian.

  34. Christine Aria says:

    Loved it. Cross between Invasion of the Body Snatches an Advise and Consent.
    Very clever.

  35. PatriciaLee says:

    The husband thinks it should have been presented as a “straight thing”, not a farce. He is a huge fan of McCarthy’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, btw. I (nor neither of us) was never interested in watching The Good Wife, even though my 91 year old father loved it. So, I’m thinking there is just a lack of common taste, here.

  36. Sandy says:

    I liked it, thought it was fun. So did my 48 year old son. We really enjoyed it.

  37. cuius says:

    So you reckon “The Good Wife” was a couple of seasons past its sell-by date – think this will struggle to complete the first one

    • cuius says:

      P.S. The tragedy was, without the weirdness, it had potential to be a minor West Wing or House of Cards summer show

  38. Gwen Harvey says:

    CBS has failed us, all these goofy stupid new shows, really, you are in need of a new programming Crew

  39. Cynthia Waite says:

    BrainDead – weird, kooky, strange, funny. Love it.