Friday, December 21, 2012

Taking a Closer Look at Homeland

Media Reviews

Before the break, one of my friends and I decided that one show we really wanted to get into and catch up on was the show Homeland, starring Claire Dames and Damian Lewis (one of my favorite actors, totally coincidental that he happens to be a ginger), which comes on Showtime (another favorite of mine). I had almost forgotten about this decision, but when one becomes bored late at night, shows are the best cure. So I have worked my way through all 2 seasons of Homeland so far, and this is my review of the show.


One thing that I liked about Homeland was that the first episode got me hooked. There is nothing worse than being excited for a show only to have to sit through about 6 episodes of blah in order to get to the good stuff. Luckily, Homeland presented me with an intriguing story right off the bat, and I continued watching without that bad taste in my mouth with which some shows leave. The story goes that Sergeant Nicholas Brody, a prisoner of war over in the Middle East for over 8 years, has returned home to a lot of fanfare, and has earned the status of hero to most people. One of the people who are suspicious of him is CIA agent Carrie Mathison, who thinks he has been turned by Al Qaeda. The first season details the cat-and-mouse between Mathison and Brody, with their paths becoming more and more intertwined as the story deepens. With the ending of the first season with a failed suicide attack by Brody against upper echelon government agents and politicians, this is where the show got me on the hook. Not that the show is perfect by any means, but what I believe to be the biggest motivator for watching a show is: does it get your heart pounding? And the answer to that for Homeland is: yes.

The first season managed to keep my attention for each episode; an accomplishment of which few other shows have been able to do. My one issue with Homeland is this: it's intro. Showtime has always been a channel that has interesting and well-put together intros to their shows; but Homeland's intro makes me just think: meh. It's not bad, but it's really not outstanding either, which is surprising given the other shows on the channel have great intros. I know this may not seem like an important critique, but if you're going to be watching something episode after episode, week after week, it better be good.

Right now, the topics that this show delves into are hot topics in our nation. Politics, intelligence agencies, terrorism, religious radicalism, and a few others are some of those hot button issues that the show seems to reflect on. The way the show reflects on these issues is in and of itself a reflection of how our society is dealing with them I believe. The way the show depicts politics is pretty accurate in that it depicts it in a way that reflects how the majority of society sees politicians and the people in Washington. The topic of religion, however, is where I think the show really shines. That first moment when Brody is in his garage, washes his hands, pulls out his prayer mat and begins to say his morning prayers was nothing short of stunning. I found myself in awe, even though I knew he was the 'antagonist' of the show and must have some kind of marker to be so, I still was just in shock at seeing that. The show portrays Muslims as real people with actual feelings and issues of their own, which I think is refreshing from the stale view which most media takes on Islam.

Now, I have not begun the second season yet; however, I have seen reviews and they seem to point to it just simply adding on to the intrigue and plot with more great twists and more outstanding acting. Damian Lewis has always been one of my favorite actors since Band of Brothers, but I think this takes the cake. That first moment when you see him start praying in Arabic in his garage was a watershed moment for me in regards to this show. That kind of jaw-dropping moment doesn't come often in television, but this show managed to really pull off it's story in a sleek, psychological, and intrigue-filled way. I will revise this review when I have finished Season 2, but I'm hoping my opinion won't be much different than it is now; which is this: this show is just simply amazing. Go watch it if you can.


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