I just went through the first season of Homeland and I was very impressed. I hardly knew anything about the show going into the pilot, but I was immediately interested by the show.
The basic plot overview is that a US Marine returns home after being missing in action for over 8 years. A CIA agent has information that a US soldier has been “turned” by Al Quieda and she believes it is the same soldier.
This sets in motion the events of the show which consists of more twists and turns than you can count. It will keep you guessing throughout. Now usually shows that depend on intrigue such as this tend to hold onto all their information. Usually the showmakers try to stretch out that intrigue for as long as they can. What ends up happening is that the audience is never given any definite answers and this can end up causes the adverse affect, losing intrigue. Once the audience catches on that the show is more pre-occupied with maintaining it’s life span, rather than telling the story, people tend to tune out. This is what happened with shows like Burn Notice. Homeland manages to give you information and remain highly compelling.
The acting in Homeland is absolutely phenomenal. This is honestly some of the best TV acting I’ve ever seen. Before I started the show I thought it starred Damian Lewis, but Claire Danes is actually the main character. She is not an actress I was familiar with. Her performance is extremely
impressive. Not only is her performance incredibly strong, but the character is also very deep and interesting. She works for the CIA and is bi-polar which is handled very realistically. She makes the character very believable and she makes you root for the character even when she does things wrong. A very good protagonist.
Damian Lewis plays a US Marine who was imprisoned, interrogated, and tortured for over 8 years before returning home. His character is incredibly complex and he will keep you guessing as to his true intentions. Just when you think you have this guy figured out he changes course. Damian Lewis’s performance is top notch. You can really believe that this guy went through everything the character suffered through. Damian Lewis performance is consistently great throughout, but there are a few standout scenes where his performance peaks at absolute greatness.
Mandy Patinkin plays a large role on the show and he is so damn good. He is Inigo Montoya himself. Mandy Patinkin plays Saul Berenson and again his character is very deep. Mandy Patinkin plays it subtle, but you can just see all the emotions and thoughts rushing past his eyes. He is so good in this role that he doesn’t even seem like he’s acting, you can fully believe that he just IS this character. Claire Danes and Damian Lewis have both won Emmys and Golden Globes for their performances and Mandy Patinkin deserves one too. He’s been nominated, but hasn’t won yet.
The only other characters I feel the need to mention are Damian Lewis’s family on the show and the CIA Deputy Director. David Harewood plays the CIA Deputy Director and he deserves recognition for his very good performance. The wife on the show is played by Morena Baccarin and while her performance certainly isn’t bad, you can really tell that she is acting, she just doesn’t feel as natural as most of the other actors on the show.
Now on to the two children. The daughter played by Morgan Saylor is very good. She is surprisingly great. Homeland appears to be her first big role, and I could definitely see her getting very big. The son on the show however is another story entirely. He is really bad. He is honestly the only actor on the show that I have a real problem with. His performance is bad, it is groan inducing and eye rolling.
The show is well written and directed. It is a highly realistic look at terrorism and it is always engrossing. One thing that is a little annoying is the abundance of product placement. Homeland quickly became one of my favorite TV shows and I look forward to watching the next seasons, and on a sidenote I saw one of the actors on the show playing a terrorist, as a doorman on Flight of the Conchords.