Category Archives: homeland

The Americans

FX has been hyping this new series for a while. Quite honestly I was getting tired of seeing ads for it during this past season of “Sons of Anarchy,” but I guess the saturation effect worked. I did DVR the pilot and I did watch it.

At first glance “The Americans” appears to be a Reagan era Cold War drama about Soviet sleeper agents, designed to cash in as some sort of hybrid of both “Mad Men” and “Homeland,” but it’s just a little bit more. As a survivor of the period, I can tell you the music is time correct, and I have to say the opening sequence using Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” is just short of amazing. Serious props to writer and creator Joe Weisberg and director Gavin O’Connor.

The problem is my interest plummeted after that opening sequence. The characters were not engaging, and neither was the acting. Maybe if they had stuck with the slick MTV vibe of the opening, or washed us more in the nostalgia of the 1980s, this could have been good…

Notably, it was nice to see Richard (John-Boy Walton) on TV again, but even his brief presence couldn’t save this. Of course there’s always the possibility that FX could retool or fix this, but it might be too little, too late.

Homeland

I’m a latecomer to this show. I tried watching it during its first season and just couldn’t get into it. My mom-in-law was enjoying it, so I gave it another shot, this time, getting through two episodes, and not digging it because I found t too predictable.

Then Emmy time came around just before the start of the second season of “Homeland.” The show was a big winner, and I had friends who were surprised I wasn’t watching, saying it was right in my television wheelhouse. I relented, and watched the whole first season streaming in about a week.

I was wrong. It’s really only predictable for about four episodes, after that I was irrevocably hooked. The second season has been as just as good as the first, something I wasn’t sure it could keep up.

There are problems however. The first was something I thought only I was seeing, but as a recent “Saturday Night Live” sketch brought to light, Claire Danes’ overacting and crazy unblinking eyes when having an anxiety attack skate the thin line between reality and over the top almost to the point of laughing out loud. Her crazy face jumps the shark every time she makes it.

Brody’s daughter is the current equivalent of the daughter in “24,” where you have to ask, why do we care? It’s subplot just for the sake of subplot, rather than efficient storytelling. These last two points make me wonder if we’ll get a third season despite how amazing everything else on the show is.

Time will tell. Despite what I’ve said, I’m glued to my TV every Sunday night.