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Review Roundup - Aaron Tveit Stars in CBS's BRAINDEAD, Premiering Tonight

CBS's new series BRAINDEAD, starring Aaron Tveit and Nikki M. James, premieres tonight, Monday, June 13 from 10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT. The comic-thriller is set in the world of Washington, D.C. politics and 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.

Let's see what the critics have to say:

James Poniewozik, The New York Times: "BrainDead" is a fun summer experiment, with a loopy, I-can't-believe-this-got-on-CBS charm. It's sci-fi, it's comedy, it's political commentary. But it's also about as nuanced as an ant COLONY lodged in your cranium.

Liz Raftery, TV Guide: It's unclear how long BrainDead will be able to keep up its goofy premise, which sounds more suited to a movie than a TV series. The Kings have talked about having a four-year plan for the show, which has thus far only been picked up for one 13-episode summer run by CBS. But regardless of how long the show lasts, they'll have plenty of real-life political fodder to turn to for inspiration.

Allison Keene, Collider: Fans of THE GOOD WIFE will find a lot of familiar aspects (and cast members) inBrainDead, which essentially is built on that former show's subplots and quirkier aspects. For those who didn't watch The Good Wife, the show did politics exceptionally well...the same carries over toBrainDead, where characters are constantly on their phones or computers in way that feels natural and timely.

Michael Slezak, TV Line: Here's something troubling about BrainDead, CBS' new political dramedy from THE GOOD WIFE creators Robert and Michelle King: After watching three hour-long episodes, I can honestly say I wouldn't be upset in the slightest if any of the central characters fell victim to the alien bugs feasting on the brains of Washington, D.C., POWER PLAYERS and turning 'em all into deeply uncompromising, rabidly partisan monsters.

Jeff Jensen, EW: The satire is as thin as Donald Trump's skin. And the pilot commits the sin of a wimpy climax. It ends on a major reversal of fortune and an ominous development, but neither land with much force. I wasn't left super-confident that the Kings have enough imagination to sustain this enterprise. But I liked it enough to find out.

Dominic Patten, Deadline: The 13-episode Mary Elizabeth Winstead-led series is also full of tax proms, jockeying for power, love across party lines, exploding heads, an old tune from The Cars and... the terrible feeling we all have that something is really wrong in Washington D.C. - 'cause it is here, in a very bloody, alien bug-farting and distinctly non-bipartisan way.

Joshua Alston, AV Club: [THE GOOD WIFE's] Robert King and Michelle King return with a madcap sci-fi comedy about alien critters that burrow into the brains of congressional leaders, forcing them to become obstructionist automatons. It's a clumsy, on-the-nose metaphor for D.C. gridlock, but the show is infused with enough giddiness and mischief that to point out the obviousness of its underlying themes would be... well, obvious.

Robert Bianco, USA Today: There are amusing moments, some provided by Laurel's exchanges with Gustav, an eccentric genius played by Johnny Ray Gill. And there is some plot-driven interest in seeing who the bugs eat next and what their ultimate goal might be. Whether that's enough to pull you in depends on how desperate you are for something to watch, and how willing you are to stumble clumsily through the halls of Congress.

Watch a preview for tonight's premiere episode below:


Photo: Jeff Neumann//CBS


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