This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The folks behind "The Good Wife" return this summer with a new series that's sort of a combination of "The West Wing" and "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."
If that sounds weird, it is. Although weird is too mild a word to describe it.
Once you toss in the exploding brains, "BrainDead" (Monday, 9 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2) is pretty much completely insane.
But in sort of a good way. At least for a while.
"BrainDead," the creation of husband-and-wife writer/producers Robert and Michelle King Robert also directs gets off to a very nice start as a political comedy/drama. Laurel Healy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a struggling documentary filmmaker, is co-opted into working as an aide to her brother, Sen. Luke Healy (Danny Pino).
"The premise of 'BrainDead' is that something has gone wrong in Washington, D.C.," Robert King said. "Politicians are not acting sane anymore, and this show tries to explain why."
Alien bugs is as good an explanation as any for how Donald Trump ended up as the GOP's 2016 standard bearer, I suppose.
In this fully believable parallel universe in which Hillary Clinton and Trump are running for president, the Democrats and the Republicans are locked in a battle that shuts down the government.
(There are amusing TV reports in the background, with the faux-Fox News blaming the Democrats and the faux-MSNBC blaming the GOP.)
No Ted Cruz or Mike Lee in sight. Other than glimpses of Clinton and Trump, the politicians are all fictional.
Luke, the Democratic whip, does battle with Republican Sen. Red Wheatus (Tony Shalhoub), a drunken good ol' boy. And Laurel becomes friends-and-possibly-more with Wheatus' aide, Gareth (Aaron Tveit), as they each try to manipulate the other.
But that's just part of the story. While all of this is going on, a meteor crashes to earth and is transported to Washington, D.C. to be studied. Inside the meteor are thousands of alien bugs.
And once they're out, the alien bugs are crawling into people's ears and taking over. Those folks turn into, well, aliens. They look the same, but they're not.
They are, perhaps, luckier than the ones whose brains explode. Literally. Blech.
The alien bugs take over a variety of politicians and their aides, and the battle over the budget becomes part of a battle between humankind and alien invaders.
There's humor here. Drama. A bit of sci-fi terror. A dash of gore.
The best part of "BrainDead" begins in Episode 2. The previously-on recap that opens the show is set to music it's hilarious and extremely well done.
As a summer series, "BrainDead" looks like fun. How it can possibly last more than 13 episodes is tough to imagine it seems more like the premise for a movie or a miniseries.
But in the meantime, "BrainDead" is a summer bright spot.
Scott D. Pierce covers TV for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.