What is Homeland doing on Showtime?

20121217-222249.jpg This past Sunday, Showtime’s hit show Homeland wrapped up its second season with a few twists and a new direction but it was an episode that was overall pretty boring, excluding the final 15 minutes.
I have to ask the question now, why the hell is Homeland even on Showtime since there is nothing real ground breaking or controversial about it?
Let me begin by stating that I know that Homeland only exists in a world of implausible circumstances and wild coincidences. The premise of the show is one that makes you suspend your disbelief before ever engaging so I am not expecting the show to reinvent the wheel, I just would expect something more from a premium cable channel like Showtime.
Breaking Bad, The Soprano’s, The Wire, hell I’ll even throw Dexter into this group have something in common, they have pushed television to explore new worlds that couldn’t or wouldn’t be shown on the big four networks.
The envelope is never being pushed on Homeland and other than a few love scenes with Jessica and everybody’s favorite dope Mike, there is very little this show does that a procedural like NCIS doesn’t already do on CBS.
By putting Homeland on Showtime you are serving a paying audience that wants to see worlds they otherwise wouldn’t know, i.e. the streets of Baltimore from The Wire, the makings of a meth kingpin in Breaking Bad, the escapades of a serial killer in Dexter, or Tony calling for somebody to be whacked in The Sopranos.
I understand that these are very tall orders to be filled but that is where the bar has been set and I don’t believe Homeland offers a glimpse in to anything that we haven’t seen before on network television.
Okay, it may have been shocking to see Carrie fall for a would be terrorist in Brody but that storyline was well worn after the first season and yet they decided to spend most of season two on that subject.
An episode of Homeland is guaranteed to serve up a heavy dose of Carrie looking all crazy and some ridiculous coincidence that moves the story forward, such as when Brody entered the “Situation Room” and was able to text Abu Nazir about an incoming drone strike and there by saving his life.
Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa are the creators behind the show and they may best be known for their show 24 that was a hit for Fox. It is not difficult to see the elements of 24 that exist in Homeland, especially when they expect you to believe that the CIA would allow a suspected terrorist to become a US Congressman or that once they flipped him they would just allow him to go back to his normal life.
Gordon and Gansa just don’t do enough to separate Homeland from other network crap and being one that is paying for Showtime I expect something a little better than your basic criminal procedural.
I just hope that season three of Homeland takes advantage of the creative freedom that premium cable offers.
– William L Huffman


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