Flashback: Homeland


If you like Breaking Bad, Homeland is a roller-coaster compared to that teacups ride.

Homeland, hosted by Channel 4 in the UK, is without a doubt the best series to emerge from the US, period. It provides a hard hitting sinister plot based on the biggest issue in America, terrorism. This is a sensitive topic for the world let alone the US and the writers deliver a TV show that confronts prejudices on Muslim culture and terrorist identity; by giving a complete turn of events with a US marine in the spotlight. The main characters include sergeant Brody (Damien Lewis), the POW under suspicion by CIA agent, Carrie Mattherson (Claire Danes).

Having been famed for her role in the modern twist on Romeo and Juliet (1996) the versatility of Claire Danes is exposed in this epic drama, and the quality of acting is unprecedented by all the stars. It seems she has grown into a brilliant actress, reaching her prime in this drama. Danes grasps the audience by revealing a whole new range of ability. No longer is she a babbling teenager in love, but a hardcore, strong CIA agent battling a bipolar disorder. She enters into the role whole heartedly and the audience root for her all the way. Her emotion originates in her eyes which give you a transparent insight into the character she portrays, flawlessly.

Danes is joined by other high ranking actors like Damien Lewis who illustrates an uncanny ability to sweat, almost on demand, in tricky therefore sticky situations. A face not as famous as Danes’ he supports her character with ease adding complex expression, deceit and intricate relationships, all of which he maintains at once. The level of acting supplied by the two main stars has been highly recognised with each series of Homeland 2011-2014, receiving countless awards, including a Golden Globe award for each of the front runners in both 2012 and 2013. This is the most addictive new TV series, and its definitely Class A.

Other starring actors include Mandy Patinkin, who plays Saul. He exudes authority and is a classic character to be respected, quietly deadly, not once does he shout. It is this quality that gives his character a depth and intrigue, as well as setting the standard for justice, difficult act to present. This subtly and understated approach is what separates Homeland from over the top US TV series.

Providing the younger cast, Morgan Saylor who stars as Brody’s daughter Dana, has an important role in realigning Brody’s moral compass, with their relationship supplying the importance of family throughout. This young actress conveys ‘the difficult teenager’ superbly, in fact her role is the most believable, which even extends to her posture. Although she doesn’t have the most lines, her physical body language is the most convincing in this series with her character so deeply connected with herself.

Homeland has been so successful that even though the second series wrapped up affairs persuasively, a third series has been released with another smattering of awards. In fact Homeland has a multitude, having won over 31 out of 66 nominations, how greedy. Not only has the acting been the best I have seen in US drama, the material the series supplies is faultless. Sharing the bed with great acting is a great script, never has a show been so unpredictable and volatile.  Like Breaking Bad it gives a fresh, cut throat, impactive drama, but in a fast fix. It confronts issues of terrorism, religion, prejudice, family, sacrifice, fidelity, loyalty and intuition, to name a few. While delivering this high quantity, the plot leaves you gasping, with a classic ‘What?…why didn’t I see that’ outburst.

In short, Homeland takes a sensitive topic and delivers a gut wrenching, fast moving, heart quickening drama with unpredictable twists and turns which makes your knuckles white with tension throughout. It is unequivocally the best drama out of the US, which challenged misconceptions and prejudice of terrorism and turned the spotlight of a patriotic soldier with expert dramatization. The level of acting contradicts normal US TV series with subtle and refined action mixed with raw emotion. Never has ‘A Must See’ been a more apt phrase.

I’m itching to see the fourth series, due to be filmed in South Africa this summer, I’m not sure my blood pressure will be able to take it, but it will be the best heart attack ever.

For a review of the latest Series 3 click here.

Homeland season one and two is available on DVD now.


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