Sunday 15 March 2015

Homeland by Gordon and Gansa

There is such a plethora of great television drama out there (mostly American, it has to be said) that I have only just caught up with Homeland. It came highly recommended by friends, and they weren't wrong.

Homeland is instantly riveting. It tells the story of — don't worry about spoilers, all this is revealed early, in episode 1 — an American marine sergeant, Nicholas Brody, who has been held captive in Afghanistan for eight years. 

Brody is rescued and is returned home, a hero. But a female CIA operative, Carrie Mathison, has reason to believe he has been turned and is in fact a sleeper agent for the enemy. Tension builds when no one believes her and it looks like our "hero" might even be a candidate for high political office.

It's great stuff, and our heroine is a terrific character. I particularly love the fact that Carrie is a jazz fan, which leads to one of the great title sequences in TV history — featuring Louis Armstrong. And a lovely jazz theme for the show. 

Carrie is played by Claire Danes, Brody is British actor Damian Lewis (recently a terrif Henry VIII in Wolf Hall). They are both splendid, as is Morena Baccarin (the evil alien empress from V) as Brody's  wife Jessica.

Homeland was developed for American television by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa and they've done a splendid job. The show is based on an Israeli drama known in English as Prisoners of War created by Gideon Raff. 

Prisoners of War is considerably different, though. In it three soldiers are brought home and it is a shell game — which have to guess which one might be the traitor.

I haven't seen Prisoners, but Homeland is a delight. I'm on episode five of Season 1 and it is looking good. Where else do you get a show which drops the F-bomb every week in its title sequence?

Just one question. Why does Brody's wife call him Brody instead of Nicholas?

(Image credits: The Hero/Threat poster is from Wikipedia. The red burka is from IMDB. The others are from Collider.)

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