The Watchman: One Last Season Before I Go

The final season of rough-and-tumble drama Banshee kicks off on Cinemax April 1, wrapping up four seasons for the Jonathan Tropper-David Schickler series. Tropper, of course, made his name as an author before having a go of it in Hollywood, but says he can’t quite remember when his last novel came out. (It was One Last Thing Before I Go in 2012, if you’re scoring at home.) 

“I still consider being a novelist my day job,” Tropper tells The Watchman, though he admits he’s at least a year late on his next book. 

His publisher will have to wait. Tropper has written the pilot for a martial arts project called Warriors that’s set in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1870s. It’s inspired by the writings of Bruce Lee; Cinemax is home for that one too. 

Tropper also got to direct an episode of Banshee. “It was a little intimidating, but it being the last season, I figured I’d better do it,” says Tropper. He promises high “emotional stakes” for Lucas Hood and the rest of the characters in the final run. 

There’s a sharp dichotomy between Tropper’s suburban-set, character-driven books and his fist-in-your-face TV work. Pitching the former around Hollywood went nowhere, he says, while the big-action stuff birthed a new career. 

Speaking of surprise births, Tropper raves about Amazon’s shotgun-wedding comedy Catastrophe (“a painfully accurate assessment of relationships”), along with Orange Is the New Black, Shameless and Girls. “Very different from Banshee,” he says, “but all have that dysfunctional family theme.” 

And finally getting to enjoy some good primetime fare is Sam Champion, host of the new 23.5 Degrees With Sam Champion issues-oriented talker on Weather Channel. Champion moved off morning show AMHQ last fall. Not waking up at 3 a.m. has opened up a whole new world of TV for the weather maven. Narcos, Downton Abbey and Love & Hip-Hop are on his rave list. 

“It’s kind of nice to be aware of these things now,” Champion says with a laugh. “I now have the ability to have things of cultural significance as part of my life.” 

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.