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Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by mattCR, Oct 2, 2011.
The spy thriller starts tonight on Showtime
I guess the pilot was available for the last month or something anyway, but I just watched this and thought it was excellent.
I was thinking maybe there'd be a little more ambiguity about Brody though. I mean, I guess it still could be possible that he's clean, but those flashbacks seemed to be pretty definitive.
All we know for sure about Brody is that he lied about seeing Abu Nazir during his time as POW, and that he lied about the circumstance of Walker's death. Clearly all is not right with this man, but that could be explained by eight brutal years as a POW -- and having the death of a comrade in arms on your conscience -- as easy as it could be being a sort of Manchurian candidate.
What blew me away is how horribly unlikable they made the protagonist. Everything Carrie Mathison made me hate her a little bit more, with the only thing in her favor being the fact that she just might be right about this guy.
My favorite part were the home life scenes at the Brody household. The son that's too young to really remember his father. The daughter who was clearly screwed up badly by losing her father. The wife who's moved happily on with her life, but feels a moral obligation to stick by her husband after a seemingly heroic sacrifice. There's some wonderful gray area mixed in, like the sex scene between Brody and his wife where he appears to rape her. What drove that impulse in him? How does she just carry on after something like that happens? And in a general sense, how can this family just pretend like nothing happened? At it's best, the family scenes reminded me of Jim Sheridan's Brothers.
And I'm firmly in the camp that says Mandy Patinkin makes anything better. It was a pleasant surprise to see him in this, since last I'd heard, he'd retired from acting to pursue a music career.
Yeah, I know it's not a given that he's dirty, but it seems to be leaning very heavily in that direction in the pilot. It's not so much the lies that seem to give it away, but the way he was comforted by Nazir after beating him.
I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if there ended up being another explanation, but at the same time the pilot leaned rather heavily in the direction that he is dirty... just a little bit too far, I think. In my mind, that flashback might have been showing things a little too early. Then again, who knows what'll happen later.
I don't think anyone would disagree that the tilt is toward Brody having been turned. This is TV though and we know guilt tilt can switch directions quickly and often. At the current pace I cannot see how the show could run more than one or two seasons. In The Fugitive the one-armed man only showed up at the end. An extended Homeland would be like finding a suspicious one-armed man and spend years trying to prove he's the right one-armed man.
I'm kinda in your camp on this, I like the Actors, Damian Lewis should be on Season 7 of "Life" right now if there was any justice for TV Programming, he's good in this, but not sure I can invest in a series with no one to root for, if Brody is a terrorist and Cathy's Clearly out of control well... not sure.
I really like Damian Lewis as an actor but this show smacks of "The Manchurian Candidate" to me. Does it overcome that?
I just can't get past the idea of seeing Dick Winters as a bad guy! It's the uniform (Marines not Army, I know). Anyone else?
Wow. Just watched through episode one.. this thing could be fantastic. I don't know how they'd extend it past a single season, but scripted right, this should be some awesome material. Very impressed with the pilot.
The big question: Does Mandy Patinkin makes it through the season, or does he quit half-way through?
The second episode certainly stacks the deck further against Brody. Brody answering the morning call to prayer alone would not unduly speak against him, but that coupled with him embracing the hero card that he scorned mere hours before adds up to something incredibly suspicious.
As unlikable as Carrie is, she makes a good protagonist because she's in it for the right reason: she wants to stop further acts of terrorism. In order to make her shine by comparison, they give her a boss that is completely loathsome, focused solely on career advancement even at the expense of possibly solid intelligence. On the other side, Saul's a pro. He trusts Carrie's instincts, and he's ready to put himself on the line even though he finds her behavior and actions repugnant.
I liked the opening credits, too. The mingling of fact and fiction was uncomfortable, and drove home that while the scenario and characters are fictional, the country faces real threats constantly. The sequence sort of repudiates its own entertainment value.
The thing I minded about the credits was that Obama was in them. Not because of any political reason, but because they already made note of the fictional VP last week, so it's kind of weird that the credits would have the actual president in them.
I have to admit, for a few seconds there during that 'job interview', I'd have thought I accidentally changed the channel to Cinemax if it wasn't for the Showtime bug.
I think Carrie is the very flawed but realistic protagonist; she's conceited enough to believe she's right.. she blames herself incredibly for missing data on 9-11, and she has a complex about how to "fix" things. Here character isn't always likable, but I'm not sure it's meant to be.
The entire storyline about the prince I thought was very well done; some good cloak & dagger stuff there.
This along with Dexter are making Showtime my first stop on Sunday; since CBS has "Good wife" kind of screwed up on the timing, It's often easier for me to just record a two hour block there, get it and sort it out later; but for a consistent block of drama.. this may be it.
Adam referred to it as "rape" earlier; I don't think that's the way either character saw it. I think she wanted to have sex, but had a very different perception of how it would go, and her horror over his scars tainted everything. I think she's still struggling to deal with his return (night terrors, crying, etc.) and he'll get tons of leeway. But wow, is this a great role for her in comparison to Anna on V.
Sunday is too packed, but this show just keeps delivering. Great episode. BTW, I love what they are doing with the soundtrack.
The scene at the end of last week's episode but the family scenes in this week's episode into a whole new context. He's trying hard with his wife, despite the sexual dysfunction, and he had that great scene with the daughter where he seems to be implicitly forgiving his wife for whatever she may or may not have done while he was gone. And his daughter clearly adores him, in that child-like way of someone who lost her father at 8 or 9 years old.
How much of that is coming from a genuine place, and how much of it is just him fufilling his role as a sleeper? Is he genuinely turned, or has he been programmed and/or brainwashed in a Manchurian Candidate fashion? It's incredibly hard playing a cypher like that, and Damian Lewis is doing an incredibly great job.
And that scene in the morgue with the escort's parents was absolutely brutal.
I'm not quite sure how this show can be extended past a first season and keep this quality either, but for the time being, this show has been consistently excellent so far each week.
Since the "Gaucho Taco" speaker was featured in the scene where mother and daughter discuss the affair; I'm guessing that's going to be on the news soon.
From the moment hooker/agent was introduced I'm sure we all knew she was toast.
My wrong guess was that her new necklace had a transmitter.
This manages to really slowly turn the screws VERY well. I'm not sure where the end game is on their "turned" American. Such a brilliant ending this week.. it's hard to think about whats going through her mind..
It will be criminal if Damian Lewis doesn't win an Emmy for this role. Easily the hardest on television right now; he has to be at once an enigma and a sympathetic protagonist for the audience to root against.
It is a pretty incredible performance; to rotate between tortured POW with real battle scars.. and potential turned POW.. and somehow, week after week, he completely pulls it off. I'm surprised at how good the supporting cast has been. Great find for Showtime, really well done... easily the best new show of the season so far (I'll give StarZ Boss time to grow; it has a good start also)