Having just finished watching the entire season, this reviewer has to admit that I was gripped, fooled and intrigued by every twist, turn and plot device in the narrative. The series opened on a bombshell: ‘An American Prisoner of War has been turned’. This piece of knowledge drives the series, and introduces characters such as Claire Danes’ Carrie, Damian Lewis’ Sgt. Brody and Mandy Patinkin’s Saul into the ever-thickening plot.
Danes is the star of the show, playing her character who suffers from (spoiler!) bi-polar disorder believably and with passion. Danes was not cast as a sexy secret agent: Homeland is above such tired stereotyping, and Carrie is an intelligent and driven career woman, totally absorbed and committed to her work.
Lewis as Brody is also brilliant, constantly making us question is he/isn’t he until the close of the series, and to engage with his tortured, yet questionable character. Lewis, as an English actor has made his name in American series such as this and Life (2007-09) and his performance here is gripping, as he conveys the trauma of being a POW whilst keeping the audience guessing as to his motives now he is home.
Aside from a stellar cast, Homeland has a brilliant plot, which keeps the viewer actively aware and involved on a political, moral and emotional level, something which we see little of in an era of broadcasting saturated with reality TV. The story is complex and multi-faceted, with weaving sub-plots and constant use of dramatic irony to keep the audience on the edge of their seats.
I have only one complaint about Homeland and that is a small one: the opening credits are a little pretentious and unnecessarily ‘arty’, but aside from that, this is the best series I have seen on television in a long time, and I hope the creators can continue to produce new, exciting and intelligent television for the foreseeable future. This series achieves an artistic merit and objective viewpoint that surpasses any other post-9/11 drama, and does so with both style and substance.