"Homeland Is Good Again: For now, at least."
October 2, 2014 10:32 AM   Subscribe

 
Eh, I'll give it a shot, but I don't think I'm there with this show without Damian Lewis.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:37 AM on October 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Good.

[SPOILER WARNING]

Never have I seen a show that was so good the first season and so awful in the next seasons. If they were going to kill off Brody anyway they should have had him blow up the VP at the end of Season 1. THAT would have been some great television.

I'll watch the S4 premier but it's going to have to blow me away if I'm going to continue with the season.
posted by bondcliff at 10:46 AM on October 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


Hmmmm. We totally lost interest when Carrie went to bed with Brody, and stopped watching entirely when her slip about Yorkshire Gold (though it certainly is great tea) broke them up again. It was already too weird. And wasn't that the acclaimed first season?

This show is a bit too fond of utter implausibility. So maybe we will watch. Maybe not.
posted by bearwife at 10:53 AM on October 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Homeland Most Bigoted Show on TV WP
posted by angrycat at 10:58 AM on October 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


I thought the second last episode of the third season was really good. Then the season finale made me die a little inside. But I still think that Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin are exceptional actors. If the writers stop making them say and do absurd things, the show could be quite strong.
posted by kat518 at 10:58 AM on October 2, 2014


I'm hesitant to give it much of a leash at this point.

The first season I liked a lot, it was close to what I'd have liked Rubicon to be. But by season three it turned into late, self-parody 24.
posted by ipe at 10:59 AM on October 2, 2014


I thought they were working towards writing Saul off but I'm glad he's back. I wouldn't be watching otherwise.
posted by edeezy at 11:03 AM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


The first season was very good - it would have been GREAT if they'd had the temerity to end the episode with a boom. The rest sounds bad and frustrating.

I'd have to hear more good things about Season Four to come back.

SNL's parody with Anne Hathaway was too spot-on.

They should make Homeland cross over with Four Lions, but with the terrifying message that idiots can be the most dangerous people of all. (Not that that isn't also a theme in Four Lions.)
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:10 AM on October 2, 2014


OK, looking back on my reaction to season 2, it pretty much sums up my reaction to season three. Actually, after season 3 my feelings are even stronger. The more self-destructive Carrie Mathison and by extention the CIA are, the more I love this show. Another whole season of Carrie being directly responsible for the lives of subordinates and the safety of American citizens? Sign me up.
posted by muddgirl at 11:10 AM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


The White Women Of Empire - "But what happens when the white woman is the protagonist of the imperialist story?"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:25 AM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, Lucy, if you swear that this time you won't yank the football out of the way at the last second, I guess I'll have a go...
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:28 AM on October 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


Filmed mostly in Cape Town. A colleague's wife had a small part.
posted by PenDevil at 11:51 AM on October 2, 2014


Well, Lucy, if you swear that this time you won't yank the football out of the way at the last second, I guess I'll have a go...

I learned my lesson about this with Dexter, (coincidentally another Showtime series) which like Homeland, developed over the course of its run an overall trend of promising season premieres and underwhelming, slapdash finales.

From now on, my policy is that if a season finale stinks, I'm not coming back for next year's premiere, unless I hear about a significant housecleaning happening in the writer's room.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:11 PM on October 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't think that's a coincidence. Showtime seems much more likely than HBO to follow the standard drag-it-out-forever model rather than allowing ends to be reached -- c.f., Weeds, Dexter, Californication.
posted by aaronetc at 12:26 PM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


The show is fabulous, you're all a bunch of haters. Dana Brody forever.

I can't wait to see what kind of mess this season turns into.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:27 PM on October 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


On non-preview, oh god Californication. I'm half-convinced they threw in that last season just because they couldn't bear to see it end with Hank and Karen separated, all logic be damned.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:30 PM on October 2, 2014


Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Loved Season 1; 2 & 3 were awful. I'll wait until 4 is done -- if it's good, I can always binge watch it later.
posted by Frayed Knot at 12:37 PM on October 2, 2014


The show had an excellent season 1, and then became unbelievably terrible starting with the first episode of season 2
posted by Bwithh at 1:11 PM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed season 1 of Californication. I felt so much empathy for this poor, flawed bastard trying to find a way to live in the world without the woman he loved. Then he got her back at the end of that season and in season 2 he was precisely as much of a bastard and I just couldn't hang.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:13 PM on October 2, 2014


Getting rid of Brody may have been hard to do, as much as people love him, but it was necessary, The storytelling acrobatics needed to keep him in the show were becoming hellishly unwieldy.

I don't know that I trust them not to still fuck it up, but they did remove the number one obstacle to turning over a new leaf, so there is that, anyway.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:15 PM on October 2, 2014


The only question remaining is whether Abu Nazir will finally be able to turn Saul.
posted by Flashman at 1:24 PM on October 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ugh, Californication. Liked the first season but then it became unwatchable. Surely I'm not the only one that found Hank's daughter (or the actress playing her) the most annoying character on television. Such terrible acting. (I don't know if it ever improved as I stopped watching after Season 2-3).
posted by mrbarrett.com at 1:30 PM on October 2, 2014


*pops into thread just as everyone is doing something insane and private*

Dad????
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:08 PM on October 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


My least favorite thing about last season was Saul's wildly out of character anti-Muslim verbal assault on Fara. It may have suited the writers' purposes to have that conflict at that moment, but it really didn't jibe with me even one iota that Saul would have been the one saying awful stuff like that.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:12 PM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


National security porn, no thanks.
posted by spitbull at 2:13 PM on October 2, 2014


So am i wrong in thinking this show is a bizarre right wing jackoff fantasy like Almost Human? i've heard it's good, and i've been mildly interested, but i also heard that was good and then heard a good explanation as to how it was well... that.
posted by emptythought at 2:15 PM on October 2, 2014


Well I gotta say I think despite the major flaws of the show, calling it National Security Porn is really off. You haven't really watched the show if you think that is the case. This show really does (despite being crazypants unbelievable) call into question US foreign policy in a way that I have never seen another show do. Which is to say: Somewhat.

It's the diametric opposite of 24 in some ways, at least in the first 2 seasons, where Brody stood in for all the murdered victims of our wars taking revenge upon our exploitative cocoon way of life, and Saul stood for the sad, crushing realpolitik of our government's choices, and Carrie for our Stop-at-nothing, impossible to satisfy mania for truth and/or justice.

It's not a right-wing show. It does have RIDICULOUS portrayals of Arabs (and every other type of person including sputtering bad-guy conservatives). And mental illness. And I mean it's ridiculous in every way. But it's trying to be the Wire for national security. And its more what Hung is to Male Prostitution.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:25 PM on October 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


Well I gotta say I think despite the major flaws of the show, calling it National Security Porn is really off. You haven't really watched the show if you think that is the case.

You think someone should have seen at least some of the show in order to form an opinion about it? Hah! You must be new here, pilgrim.
posted by Justinian at 2:49 PM on October 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


*Cries extravagantly while looking in the mirror*
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:32 PM on October 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm usually good with plots but the Israeli original was totally impenetrable. If someone wants a challenge.
posted by zbsachs at 6:36 PM on October 2, 2014


I'm curious to see where the show goes. My wife and I were friends of Jim Rebhorn, who played Carrie's dad. We are interested to see how they handle his real world death on the show and whether it factors into decisions her character makes.
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:12 PM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


My least favorite thing about last season was Saul's wildly out of character anti-Muslim verbal assault on Fara. It may have suited the writers' purposes to have that conflict at that moment, but it really didn't jibe with me even one iota that Saul would have been the one saying awful stuff like that.

Yep, I gave up on the show shortly after that happened. I was watching with my siblings, and our collective suspension of disbelief vanished during that scene and never came back. It didn't help that Mandy Patinkin is such a good actor, and he sold the sudden Islamophobia as faithfully as he'd sold everything else up to that point. We actually paused the episode to try to parse what the hell had just happened, and spent the rest of the episode at an emotional remove from the story, waiting for them to fix or justify the damage they had done to Saul's character. And...they never did. It was bewildering, and it broke my trust in the writers right when they were attempting that risky sleight-of-hand where Carrie and Saul's true motivations were being concealed from the audience. That reveal fell flat with me, and I stopped watching.
posted by brookedel at 10:04 PM on October 2, 2014


oh where did you go, Rubicon? a nation turns its lonely eyes to you, woo woo woo
posted by Bwithh at 11:38 PM on October 2, 2014


So am i wrong in thinking this show is a bizarre right wing jackoff fantasy

Not wrong at all. Doesn't keep the show from being fun as hell.
posted by edeezy at 1:02 AM on October 3, 2014


You are watching the wrong show. We're talking about Homeland here, where torture was shown to be ugly, corrupting, and unnecessary and where the Big Evil which kicks everything off is a cover-up of American drone strikes which killed many innocent children. The entire point is that it created more terrorists than it stopped.

It's not a right wing jackoff fantasy just because it is set against a backdrop of Islamic terrorism. Have you looked at the Middle East lately?

I don't get where y'all are coming from sometimes.
posted by Justinian at 1:48 AM on October 3, 2014


Not being a rightwing jackoff fantasy doesn't actually improve the second and third seasons, unfortunately. There were some very good bits but overall others are correct; the first season was much better.

The early chatter about the upcoming season at least starting out as a return to form is quite encouraging.
posted by Justinian at 1:50 AM on October 3, 2014


The first season did a lot of cool things with respect to surveillance, legal or otherwise (it reminded me of the noir Pushover in some respects) but with regard to the drone strike, the terrorist network was well in place before that. The strike that killed Nazir's son (and all the other innocent victims) converted one person (Brody), but in those circumstances that probably would have happened anyway. I admit to not recalling many of the details of the show, and am happy to be corrected on any points, but as someone who watches and enjoys 24 I said "That was 24-as-hell!" a lot while watching Homeland.

As a serious exploration of the issues surrounding anti-terrorism surveillance, torture, and the War on Terror I think the show fails. I'm excited that we have Fanfare this year, this stuff will be fun to discuss there.
posted by edeezy at 2:40 AM on October 3, 2014


The first season was great because it seemed like they knew where they were going the whole time. Seasons 2 and 3 committed the cardinal sin of just mostly being boring. Overselling implausible plots, entire episodes focusing on how fucked up Dana is, Carrie being predictably crazy and fucking things up but somehow still getting called when shit goes down. If she weren't in second half of last season I don't really see what would have changed plotwise.

Why do I still watch? I gave up on it halfway through last season, but in spite of all its flaws, it's still a fun Sunday afternoon bingewatch if you don't take it too seriously, so I caught up again a few weeks ago. Also, I like pretending that the show is about a character named Homeland so I can yell "Go Homeland, go!" Homeland has at various times been Brody, Saul or Carrie.

I kind of hope that if this is good, Showtime will let it die instead of letting it rot like with cyclical predictable plots like the rest of their shows. I struggled through Dexter and finally gave up completely on Californication a couple of seasons ago. And had they had the courage to cancel Weeds we could be on, like, Season 4 of OITNB by now.
posted by mikesch at 6:44 AM on October 3, 2014


I'm a dissenter from the dominant opinions in this thread - a tvtrope-terrorist, it seems.

I was iffy on the first season because I couldn't buy the narrative of this guy being both a committed Muslim and the caring Dad-Marine, despite an excellent effort from Damian Lewis, who is always great (see the under-rated Life http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0874936/?ref_=nm_knf_i3 for more). If he was committed to the cause, rather than the religion (as actual terrorists tend to be), it may have worked better for me.

I suspect that this narrative may have worked better in the Israeli original, though zbachs indicates http://www.metafilter.com/143267/Homeland-Is-Good-Again-For-now-at-least#5758811 that I will never know.

I found the next two seasons, which were more conventional silly thriller T.V. to be enjoyable, and the conclusion of season three to be dramatic enough to, be sure. The earlier part of this season set in a decidedly Gibsonian realm worked well enough, and kept the narrative coherent, though I had my doubts while I was watching it.

it's trying to be the Wire for national security

The show does not try very hard for realism unlike The Wire - we have Al-Qaeda and Hamas working together for one thing, among many problematic representations. It is probably about as right wing as Obama is, which is to say: quite.

It was certainly a brave move for a U.S. show to enter it's fourth season without its main protaganist. I will certainly give it a whirl.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 6:58 AM on October 3, 2014


Sorry for the exposed links - should not post on my way out the door.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 7:19 AM on October 3, 2014


(see the under-rated Life http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0874936/?ref_=nm_knf_i3

I second this. Wish it could have lasted longer.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:37 AM on October 3, 2014


So am i wrong in thinking this show is a bizarre right wing jackoff fantasy

It's definitely a fantasy. The CIA is a bad joke which couldn't possibly pull off the subtle machinations achieved in the show.

I think it's more an attempt by the CIA to repair its image than outright right wing political propaganda, though.
posted by fivebells at 1:56 PM on October 3, 2014


I don't understand how one could watch tonight's premiere and think this show is a "right-wing jackoff fantasy". But I've actually seen the show so I guess I'm overqualified to comment.
posted by Justinian at 11:41 PM on October 5, 2014


People made those comments before tonight's episodes aired, and while I agree with you that the show is moving in a good direction those criticisms were valid. The criticisms mostly centered on seasons 2 and 3 which did away with much of the ethical subtlety and self-awareness of the first season.
posted by edeezy at 1:02 AM on October 6, 2014


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