Having given up every TV show I watched, I've been on the lookout for something new. And with Channel 4 repeating it, I decided to give the first season of "Homeland" a try. Which I have spent the last several days getting caught up on.
For a while there, it actually looked like it might be the new "24". I mean, sure, Claire Danes is no Keifer Sutherland, but the show was interesting, it was willing to take risks, and it was willing to put the characters through hell. Good stuff. And the plot was coming together really nicely.
It was the last episode of the first season, the tension was ratcheting nicely, everything was going really well... and it completely lost it. (I'll try to describe it without spoilers. So this may be a bit tricky to follow...)
See, all through the season, it had been the case that if something happened it was because one of the characters caused it to happen. Everything was nice and clear, and laid out very nicely. All to the good. The problem came because the writers wrote themselves into a corner - all the pieces were in place, and the next thing to happen... was something that they didn't want to happen.
And so they invoked Deus Ex Machina. There is exactly one instance of simple, raw luck determining things in the first season, and it happens at precisely the wrong time from a storytelling perspective. Unfortunate.
I've continued watching into the second season, just to see if it improves any, but it's not really - the show has just gone flat. And, rather unfortunately, it looks like they'd have a much better show if they actually wrote out both of their two main characters - the secondary characters seem to be doing more interesting things, they're enough to carry the show itself, and it wouldn't require the stretching that they're obliged to do in order to include those two. (Plus, of course, sacrificing the main characters would also mean they wouldn't have needed to chicken out in the first season finale. Which would probably have been good also.)
So we'll see. I'll give it to the end of the season, since there are only 8 more episodes, but I may not make it to a third.