Coming on the heels of the end of season two of Showtime’s Homeland, I’m relieved and excited that there’s so much great television commencing this month. It is a new year and winter after all, a time for hibernation and of course television watching, not that I need any other motivation than my own viewing pleasure. Still, the new and returning shows are as welcome as a rich cup of hot chocolate.
After watching episodes of season two of Downton Abbey, I’m more than ready for the beginning of seven weeks of new episodes as season three kicks off this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. on PBS. There’s so many story lines to explore and there’s also the addition of Shirley MacLaine to the amazing cast of characters…a shout out to Hugh Bonneville and Maggie Smith.
Already enjoyed a new episode of Parenthood on New Year’s Day and ABC’s Nashville returns with new episodes on Wednesday. ABC re-aired the pilot of the show last night and CMT hosts a marathon of the drama on Sunday, January 6 at 2 p.m. ET/PT. My sense is that the show’s ratings have gone down since the pilot and I have lost a bit of my initial passion for the show but I’m going to hang in there because I love the city of Nashville and for the music and for the amazing performances of the two leads — Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere.
One of the promising new pilots, Deception, finally makes NBC’s airwaves on Monday and the highly anticipated drama The Following comes to Fox on January 21. Showtime’s Californication is back on January 13.
On the Case with Paula Zahn already began its new season on Discovery ID and True Crime with Aphrodite Jones begins on Monday at 10:00 p.m. The fourth season of Justified begins on FX on Tuesday, January 8. Timothy Olyphant, what more do I need to say? Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). I totally missed season three so would prefer to catch up before I tune in to the new season, which will feature Patton Oswalt and Ron Eldard.
What more could you want?
Okay…I was lulled into a false sense of security on Showtime’s Homeland…as if the ongoing terrorist threat was lessened to such a degree that it no longer mattered. Brody (Damian Lewis) and Carrie (Claire Daines) together, that’s what mattered. And then…POW! There it was the explosion the carnage and chaos. And only Saul (Mandy Patinkin) and Carrie are left to investigate…oh and the highly watchable Quinn (Rupert Friend) !!! I don’t believe that Brody is responsible for the bomb but is being set up by Nazir’s “people” to be the scapegoat, and a very believable one at that. A third season is already ordered so Carrie will work to clear Brody’s name…with Saul, I guess. But if the show had ended, I would have been satisfied with Carrie and Brody walking off in the sunset. But since that isn’t the way it’s going to be…YET, I can see future storylines examining who the hell is Saul…REALLY! Could there be any sparks between Quinn and Carrie…hey, I’m just thinking. He respects her CIA abilities and I think he likes and trusts her, too, And what will Brody be doing in Canada, investigating on his own?
American Masters Inventing David Geffen premieres tonight on PBS at 7 p.m. CST. Two time Emmy-winning filmmaker Susan Lacy, the creator and executive producer of the American Masters series, interviews many of his friends, clients, and friends (Cher, Don Henley, Clive Davis, Elton John, Mike Nichols, Yoko Ono and Jann Wenner) to explore Geffen’s professional and personal life. He launched the careers of Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne and co-founded DreamWorks SKG with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg. In the end, the portrait doesn’t shy away from those who bear major grudges against him, including Laura Nyro, The Clintons and The Eagles. Even though he’s gay he romanced Cher and he’s also struggled with cancer.
At the TCA summer press tour, Geffen, notoriously camera-shy, and Lacy presented a panel on the show. Geffen was a man of few words, while Lacy tried to fill in the sometimes awkward silences. Here, she’s done the same thing and the two-hour program definitely speaks for itself and for Geffen who as a manager, agent, music mogul and Hollywood and Broadway producer and philanthropist is truly an American Master.
The case of Mitrice Richardson, the young woman who left a Lost Hills/Malibu sheriff’s station, after being arrested for leaving a restaurant in the area without paying, and was never seen again opens up the show’s fifth season. This was a strange case from the beginning…why the sheriff would let her leave at 12:30 a.m. alone in the dark, without her purse or cell phone when her car was still in the impound lot was always fraught with questions. While her remains were eventually found in Malibu Canyon a year after her release, this bizarre case brings up many of the limitations of the legal system. Should she even have been arrested at all is one of the major issues and literally every detail of the handling of the case has come into question and her parents sued the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department and won a settlement. Hope the hour-long segment does the case justice.
Parenthood wasn’t on last night and I was bummed…I like hanging out with the Braverman’s partly to avoid my own family’s dysfunction but also because the NBC family isn’t perfect, either. Certainly, their troubles aren’t as wild as Kalinda’s (Archie Panjabi) on CBS’ The Good Wife, another of my must-watch television shows, but it’s those day to day moments of a family, that Parenthood offers, that are special. In contrast, The Good Wife is often all mirrors and illusions in terms of the political scene and the law firm…and the domestic life of both Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Kalinda is totally out of the realm of reality for most people. But still the character’s personal lives are what ground the show and allow for all the intrigue and high jinks on the job.
One of my favorite new shows last season, Showtimes’ Homeland just keeps getting better and better! Not only does it pick up where it left off, but within the first two episodes Carrie (Claire Daines) is redeemed and all her colleagues know she was right all along!!! Of course we knew it, too, and the season finale last year was well done but very hard to take for those of us who had to watch her meltdown and unfair treatment while still knowing she knew what was going on with Brody (Damian Lewis). Now finally Brody is brought in for questioning and it’s his life that seems to be unraveling both professionally and personally. This is GREAT television, a compelling and suspenseful drama and a show I look forward to watching. If you haven’t watched it yet…rent the first season DVD and get on board. It doesn’t get a lot better than this! It’s a much grittier, darker drama than USA’s Covert Affairs…and Carrie is such a complex, layered character and one we can all root for to succeed.
As Homeland gears up for its second season, which begins on Sunday, September 30, Showtime will air the entire first season on Saturday, September 29. I watched the first season marathon style over a weekend but even if you don’t have that kind of time, definitely tape it and watch it when you can because it’s a powerful, gripping drama.
This past Sunday Homeland won big at the Emmy Awards, with honors to lead actors Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, the writers and the big one — Outstanding Drama series. All well deserved and definitely the show to finally knock Mad Men off its long standing lock on this category. Don’t get me wrong. I love Mad Men and last season was one of its strongest. I also really hoped that Jon Hamm would win the best acting honor that has eluded him…. but he didn’t and now he’ll have to wait another year. I’m glad that if it didn’t go to Hamm that it went to Lewis who’s great in the role. It’s also great to see Showtime in this category, too. I’ve watched the network for years with The Tudors, Dexter, The Big C andEpisodes, and they’ve definitely made inroads into HBO’s monoply on dramas and comdies being nominated for an Emmy, as host Jimmy Kimmel noted.