Homeland – Series overview & season 6 preview

Homeland – Series overview & season 6 preview

One of TV’s finest dramas is returning to our screens again soon.  It’s time to get ready for Season 6 of Homeland. 

homeland

I recently started compiling my top-ten TV shows of the year and it occurred to me that Homeland won’t feature in my list this year. The reason is quite simple though; Season 5 aired in December 2015 meaning we’ve officially gone a full calendar year with no Homeland. But there’s two pieces of good news:

  1. Season 6 is due to air in early January, and
  2. Showtime has already renewed the show for a further two seasons after that.

What makes Homeland so good?

Homeland is truly one of my top ten TV shows of all time. It’s a political drama, but also so much more. It’s a psychological thriller, the writing is top notch and (other than maybe The Walking Dead) for me it’s the most tense, edge-of-your-seat show out there right now. (Warning some spoilers ahead)

Some of the stories are so ‘close to home’ that it gets you thinking about what is going on in the world right now and what Homeland does really well here is:

  • It doesn’t over-dramatise or try and shove propaganda down your throat.
  • It provides a balanced, non-biased, realistic view of a situation from all sides.  
  • The CIA make bad calls and are sometimes the villain in the episode.
  • You get to see things from the perspective of a family that lives under Al Qaeda control.  
  • We spend nearly a whole season in Afghanistan and another in Germany.  
  • You see your favourite characters do things that you disagree with and the characters themselves are in constant disagreement with each other’s actions, morals and motivations.

The story so far 

Here’s a very quick synopsis of the major drivers for the five seasons to date:  

SEASON 1

CIA agent Carrie Mathison suspects that a recently rescued American marine, Nicholas Brody, may in fact be working for Al Qaeda.

SEASON 2

With help from her CIA mentor Saul Berenson, Carrie hunts for a terrorist leader whilst trying to maintain some very complicated relationships.

SEASON 3

The CIA is attacked, leaving Saul to try and pick up the pieces, whilst Carrie and Peter Quinn (a CIA Operative) go to extraordinary lengths to solve the crisis.

SEASON 4

Saul is fighting to stay in the intelligence game.  Carrie & Quinn get stationed in Kabul and quickly learn that things in Afghanistan are a lot more complicated.

SEASON 5

Two years after the events of Season 4, Carrie is now out of the CIA and lives in Berlin. Without Saul & Quinn to rely on, Carrie has become a target and faces danger at every turn. Hands down, Season 5 is my favourite season to date.  In fact, each season is (largely) better than the last and that’s truly a tribute to the show because Season 1 is absolutely superb!  Season 5 just hits the mark, the writing is spot on, the tension is high and the cast are at the top of their game.

homeland_cast

What about the cast

Alongside the premise/writing that makes Homeland so compelling are a cast that is second to none.  Rupert Friend (Quinn) and Damian Lewis (Brody) both superbly portray intimidating figures.  Friend has a really foreboding presence on screen, but he has a way of making you unconditionally sympathise with his character at times. Lewis is already a favourite of mine following his performance in Band of Brothers, so casting him as the-war-hero-we-are-not-sure-we-trust is a stroke of genius.

Mandy Patinkin is simply brilliant as Saul; his stare and facial expressions are always so emotionally charged, I love every single scene he’s in.  His voice endears instant trust and he has a way of making you want his character to succeed/win every argument. And then of course there’s Claire Danes.  Her performance in Homeland is extraordinary. She is so intense, and manages to portray a difficult character who is as intelligent and brave as she is irrational and unpredictable.  The manner in which she delivers her lines, particularly profanity, is so genuine it’s scary. I would go as far as saying she is currently the best actress on TV right now.

In addition to the main cast, other fantastic actors play recurring characters such as F. Murray Abraham, Diego Klattenhoff, Morena Baccarin, Sebastian Koch and David Harewood. A quick Google search of these names and you’ll soon be saying “Ohhh, that guy.  He’s awesome.” In a nutshell, every character in this show seems to be perfectly cast.

Looking forward to season six

From what we’ve been told by the producers, the cast, at Comic Con etc., we know:

  • The series picks up several months after the events of Season 5.
  • Carrie is now based in New York, providing aid to Muslims living in the US.
  • The season includes a Presidential election.
  • The season will feature the Iran nuclear deal that was signed in 2015.

Beyond that, I’m not interested in trawling the internet to find out more. I prefer my Homeland served fresh and full of surprises. That said, I’m sure we can expect tension, action, emotion, drama and some wonderfully complex stories that expose the real political, moral issues that governments struggle with.

I don’t know what’s ahead…but all bets are off. Homeland is really, really good.

5_ravens

paul

Author: Paul Knauer - follow me on Twitter @ObiWanKnauer

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