I’m irrationally excited for the second season of Homeland, on Showtime. I think it’s the best television I’ve seen since those astonishing first and second seasons of the remake of Battlestar Galactica back in 2003. The Season 1 finale was so agonizingly good, it had me writhing and sputtering on the sofa with a blanket over my head just watching with one eyeball through a small gap. I felt like I needed to join a support group at the end. (If you saw it, you know what I mean, right?!) That’s good TV.
Homeland comes from the folks who made 24 and so it has all the suspense, fast pacing and reversals of that franchise. The production values here are super and with the Arab world erupting again in Islamo-fascism, the issues with which the show is concerned couldn’t be more relevant. Finally, the acting, with Claire Danes in the lead is super. She was well-deserving of the Emmy she took home Sunday night. Danes’ character is a brilliant CIA agent with bi-polar disorder. How’s that for great, high-stakes paradox right smack under the skin of your protagonist? The show is riveting and smart – so smart that my husband and I keep guessing what is certainly coming next, but we are rarely right.
Beyond just the gripping puzzle of what to do about an Al Quaeda ‘Manchurian Candidate,’ Homeland works because it is about a few other things: how the anitpathies, sympathies, insecurities and defects of basically little people with power end up driving the locomotive of the most powerful government in the world; the morally fuzzy state of pre-emptive war in which spies dwell all the time; brilliance and insanity and how it’s hard to tell the difference between them sometimes; the sources of betrayal and the corrupting climate that surrounds power; and then, as always, the basic human need to love and be loved no matter what kind of creepy things they do for a living, or what kind of ideology to which they subscribe. It’s some very good stuff.
As “premium content” on Showtime, be warned that Homeland depicts the brutality of the Islamo-fascists in an unblinking way. The show is also over-sexualized. The sex mostly dropped out after the first few episodes, but be prepared to fast forward if that kind of thing bugs you.
It’s a really good show. So good, that having seen Season 1 on DVD, we actually subscribed to Showtime yesterday, just because I couldn’t wait a year for Season 2 on DVD.