Wednesday, October 12, 2011


So, another day, another review for one of the new series in the Fall 2011 season.

And today? It's 'Homeland'.

I really enjoyed the pilot. I could see myself having stayed with it for at least a handful of episodes, despite the personal stumbling block which I'll get to eventually. But I saw it via an online preview, and I didn't like it that much that I would plunk down the quatloos to order Showtime in order to watch it. (HBO is already a burden on the checkbook, but every time I want to get out, they pull me back in with a great new TV series. I'm now in it until 'Game Of Thrones' has run its course.)

Anyhoo, as good as this show is, how long do the producers envision it could run? The US marketing model demands as many seasons as pozz'ble, with the traditional magic number of 100 episodes for eventual syndication. But I don't think the premise could be carried that long. 'Homeland' would be better suited to the British model - about six or eight episodes and done.

As for the characters, I think making Claire Danes' agent so flawed was a brilliant stroke. Aside from preventing her becoming Joanie One-Note in her zeal to expose the Truth, it also helps that her flaws could hamper the investigation and thus stretch the series out more.

Damian Lewis, as the POW "freed" from Taliban captiviity after eight years is enigmatically good. I admit that he's a damn good actor. But something about him - in this and his previous series 'Life' - just turns me off. Too cold, maybe? But I'm sure that immortal line line applies here - "It's not him; it's me." (And it's not because he's ginger. LOL - I'm in that tribe as well!)

Most of all, I really enjoyed Mandy Patinkin as Claire Danes' mentor, and I feel there's a lot of potential for the patented Patinkin snark. On the other hand, there's his reputation for bailing out on his TV series. So the show's creators better have a contingency plan to eventually invoke the mentor tradition. (Think Merlin, Gandalf, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Sigourney Weaver of 'Avatar'.....)

There's one other reason I may not have stayed with 'Homeland' for very long. My brain is too invested in the Toobworld concept - and if it's not a show that can be set on Earth Prime-Time, I tend to lose interest nowadays. It has to be a really good series - 'The West Wing' good! - in order to get me to continue watching "Alternateevee".

'Homeland' jumped ship in the pilot episode once Jamey Sheridan showed up as the Vice President of the United States. He looked Bidenesque, but he wasn't Joe Biden. And as Joe Biden is the Veep for the real world as well as for Toobworld, 'Homeland' must take place in an alternate TV dimension.
A point in its favor, however - it could be taking place in the 'West Wing' TV dimension So long as the President is never named, it could be he's Matt Santos. Perhaps former Vice President Eric Baker had to step down for personal reasons and so this unnamed Vice President was chosen by Santos and approved by Congress to fill the vacancy. (The fact that Sheridan never appeared in 'The West Wing' is a huge plus for this theory.)

One last O'Bservation, about the promotional aspect of the series - I do like how 'Homeland' is spelled in the print advertising, with the "E" in 'Homeland' turned... just like Damian Lewis' character.......

So if you already have Showtime, I'd suggest catching up on this show. If not, wait for Netflix to offer up the DVDs.....


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