Home Of The Brave

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I picked up another new show. Showtime's Homeland. All too often there seems to be a ton of great American cable TV content that simply isn't available in Canada, and by the time we hear about it, we're many seasons behind (or at least one) and it seems insurmountable to make our way through all of them.

Anyway, we tracked down Homeland, and since we are watching from the beginning, I suspect we'll stick with it - in part because cable TV is just SO frickin' good. Admittedly I was a bit worried about the premise of the show last for many seasons, but we are watching the series unfold in very small chunks of time (I suspect the first season may end when Claire Danes' Carrie's four weeks are up) so I think it'll have legs. And I can see a few possible directions for where it can go.

If you're unfamiliar with the premise, let me fill you in. Damian Lewis plays an American soldier named Nicholas Brody that has been a POW for eight years in Iraq (or some equivalent Middle Eastern country). He's rescued and returned to America, to a life that is confusing and jarringly unfamiliar - his children are grown, his wife has moved on, and the mere thought of facing the public causes him to curl up in the corner of a room.

Claire Danes plays a slightly wild, conspiracy theorist CIA agent that heard from an Iraqi source that an American soldier 'had been turned'. In her quest to bring down the world's number one terrorist, she suspects this turned soldier could be an insider for another mega terrorist attack, and her number one pick for the guilty suspect: Nicholas Brody. And while there is reason for her suspicion, she also comes off a little unbalanced - between her bi-polar meds she takes under the table, her wild-eyed insistence that her complete invasion of this man's private life and the trust of those around her is completely justified, and her nighttime excursions where she pretends to be married but really hooks up with a random dude all make it difficult to fully buy into either person's story.

It's a great cat and mouse game so far, especially since the mouse is unaware there's a cat on him, yet the mouse is also blatantly lying to its fellow mice, leaving the cat also in the dark. I remember thinking that the show reminded me a bit of a more subdued 24 / Alias with its flag-waving American hero premise. And indeed, it's created by the minds behind 24, but it has all the stuff you expect from a cable program: swearing, sex, and violence...and better writing. What's even more fascinating is that it's adapted from an Israeli series, which I can imagine had a very different spin than the 'home of the brave' concept we're getting in two skewed versions: Carrie's dogged determination to not have another 9/11 on her shoulders, and Brody's unwilling role in the spotlight (whether for good or evil) as the white bread family man.

Colour me intrigued, on edge, and excited to carry on watching this new series.

- Britt's On


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