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“Homeland” Still Qualifies As Compelling Viewing

 

Showtime’s “Homeland” has a tough act to follow this Sunday.

After winning Emmys on Sunday for best drama, best writing, best dramatic actor (Damian Lewis) and best actress (Claire Danes), the big question is can the second season about a domestic terrorist masquerading as a war hero be as strong and involving as the first?

The answer after the first two episodes is a qualified no. It would be too much to ask of “Homeland” or any other award-winning series.

That is especially true with a series with the fresh premise of “Homeland,” which slowly revealed the unique characteristics of the series leads.

Claire Danes

We know who they are and why they are compelled to do what they do now. The mysteries this season are whether the characters can continue to pull their acts off and whether viewers will buy into a scary Middle East crisis in the series that so far hasn’t happened in the real world.

Sunday’s episode is the weaker of the first two made available for review as it resets the premise. Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Lewis), who escaped detection last season, is now looking more and more like a Manchurian Candidate.

He is a U.S. Congressman and prospective Vice Presidential candidate with access to information that can help the evil terrorist he befriended during his time as a war prisoner. His home life with his beautiful wife (Morena Baccarin) temporarily seems a bit more stable but that can’t last long. Carrie Mathison (Danes), the bipolar CIA agent who was unable to prove that Brody was a domestic terrorist, is out of a mental hospital and working in the safe field of teaching that can keep her sane.

Just when they appear to be out of their respective missions, they are both pulled back in. Ironically, Brody is much more trusted than Carrie is. After the set-up episode this Sunday, they are put in tense situations in the second episode on Oct. 7 that suggests “Homeland” just might be able to reclaim its edge-of-the-seat reputation after all.

For those viewers who are new to the award-winning series, “Showtime” is offering a marathon of season one on Saturday that highlights the terrific acting and wonderful storytelling.

Here’s a warning to first-timers. Based on an Israeli series and created by the team that gave us “24,” “Homeland” requires a healthy dose of suspenseful of disbelief at times.

That seemed to be a less of a requirement last season than it does in the first two episodes this year, when some of the circumstances that give Brody access to important information seem ridiculously implausible.

Brody’s relationship with his teenage daughter also threatens to invite comparison to the heavily ridiculed one involving Jack Bauer and his daughter in “24.”

However, those are minor concerns.  Even if it doesn’t appear to be as fresh as season one, “Homeland” is still solid, compelling TV entertainment.

Rating: 3 and a half stars out of 4

pergament@msn.com

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1 response to "“Homeland” Still Qualifies As Compelling Viewing"

  1. John says:

    People didn’t like Kim on 24 because there was just no point of her remaining a factor on the show after season one. Many found the relationship between Brody and Dana in the first season very moving and she proved to be vital to the plot. So, I don’t expect those types of comparisons. Unlike 24, it only sense for Dana to be a big aspect of season two.

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