HOMELAND Second Season Is Soooo GOOD and a Third Season is Secure

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.

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See First Season of Homeland, The Emmy Winner for Outstanding Drama Series

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.

 

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Parenthood is Back Tonight

Parenthood returns tonight and its fourth season premiere finds the Braverman clan united as they attempt to have a family portrait taken by a cantakerous photographer played by Ray Romano. The photographer, however, joins the cast plays a pivotal role in this season’s storylines involving Sarah (Lauren Graham), who is engaged as the season begins. Matt Lauria (Friday Night Lights) will have a  recurring role on the show as well.  

This season will showcase the first year of marriage between Crosby (Dax Shepard)and Jasmine (Joy Bryant) while Adam (Peter Krause) and Kristina (Monica Potter) send Haddie (Sarah Ramos) off to college. Joel (Sam Jaeger) and Julia (Erika Christensen) will adopt a child.

Often called an underdog, NBC’s Parenthood remains one of my favorite television shows and there is hardly anything like it on the air. It’s definitely a welcome event and a sign that fall is on the way and with it a new brew of returning and new shows to the airwaves.

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Wallender is back on MASTERPIECE

Sir Kenneth Branagh is back as Inspector Kurt Wallender in three new episodes for PBS’ MASTERPIECE Mystery series, beginning this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. 

A fan of the book source material by Henning Mankell, I love the darker tones of the Swedish detective solving cases in often bleak and barren landscapes. And there’s no scrimping on dysfunction in his personal life or his flaws. I was also a huge fan of AMC’s first season of The Killing, based on the Danish series called Forbrydelsen (The Crime) created by Soren Sveistrup. Produced by Vena Sud, the American version was set in raining and gloomy Seattle and featured a troubled female detective (Mireille Enos) who actually appeared sans makeup in a drab parka and jeans. Although AMC cancelled the show after its second season, Fox Television Studios is in talks with other networks, possibly DirectTV to bring it back.

The first episode of Wallender III finds him in a solid relationship with Vanya (Saskia Reeves, Luther) and  working on two new murder cases. Other cases find him in situations where he has to confront his past and his often struggling relationship with his daughter. He is no confident sleuth with all the answers but muddles along yet usually solves the case through hard work, the process of elimination and a keen intellect.

As someone who welcomes the Scandanavian explosion in crime fiction, I can’t wait!!!

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At Home with HOMELAND

I’ve been watching the first season of Showtime’s hit series HOMELAND in one sitting and it has definitely lived up to my expectations based on watching the pilot many months ago. Then I hailed the show as one of the best of the new season along with FX’s American Horror Story, both shows went on to receive major Emmy nods. So sometimes the voters do get it right!

Claire Danes, as usual, is wonderful in the part as the disturbed CIA operative and it’s obvious that the first season will end with her meltdown. Watching each episode is as obsessive as her character Carrie’s single minded focus trying to nail Brody. Her tics work and her inappropriate behavior is all believeable. Loved it when she called Saul (Mandy Patikin) a pussy. Damian Lewis is downright creepy and compelling as Brody and it’s easy to be caught up in wondering if Carrie is right…she thinks she is and her tactics of persuasion are quite sharp. Is he a psychopath who can even decieve a Polygraph…or a war veteran suffering PSD who lives with the secret that he killed Walker, his close friend and fellow marine. He and Carrie are both scarred and wounded yet he’s being honored as a war hero with an inside track to political stardom. And Carrie is equal parts repelled and attracted to Brody and above all wants to find out what makes him tick, maybe all that surveillance of him has bonded them somehow. But then she’s devestated when she finds out that she was wrong all along, and may have just lost a real relationship. There’s delusions and deceptions all around but that keeps the tension taught in the storylines. I can’t wait until the second season begins on Sunday, September 30.

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The Western Retrofitted on Sunday Night

Let me say upfront that Deadwood ranks as one of my all time favorite television dramas. My appreciation for that amazing show created by David Milch (NYPD Blue) definitely affected my reaction to watching the pilot for the BBC’s first original scripted drama Copper, along with the season two premiere of AMC’s Hell on Wheels at a special screening in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. Both shows definitely tread similar territory as Deadwood, but neither are quite as compelling. Each does feature sexy lead stars and impressive casting along with a few twists to keep them in my viewing que.

I watched Copper, which premieres on Sunday night at 10/9 Central, first and 15 minutes in I found myself constantly comparing the show to HBO’s Deadwood. Oh no, a brothel…really. I have seen this before. But the crime drama set in New York in the 1860s comes from executive producers Barry Levison and Tom Fontana, both helmers of Homicide, one of my other all time favorite shows. I wrote about that show a lot and visited the set in Baltimore, too. (I spoke with Andre Braugher, the star of Homicide, at the ABC party as he stars in the network’s new drama Last Resort). Christina Wayne, a former AMC programmer who helped develop that networks signature hit, Mad Men, is president of Cineflix Studios, a company responsible for the production in conjuction with the BBC.  So, I made myself keep watching…all this talent the show must be good.

Tom Weston-Jones as an Irish-American cop and his lover and bordello owner played by Franke Potente (The Bourne Supremacy) are an intriquing pair and the African America physican and forensics man played by Ato Essandoh (Damages)  is something fresh. A plot turn at the end of the pilot involving Anastasia Griffith’s character was also most welcome. The network held a great party for the show at Cafe Bohem in West Hollywood during the summer TCA, where the cast along with Fontana were roaming around in the club/restaurant set dressed as a bordello.

AMC held a screening of Hell on Wheels at the Paley Center during TCA. I had not watched the first season of the AMC drama, but after watching the first two episodes of season two, which premiered last Sunday, August 12, I will go back and eduate myself. 

The very handsome Anson Mount who plays Confederate soldier Cullen Bohannon, and Common as a former slave command total attention when they’re on screen  but Colm Meaney is  no Al Sweregen and seems quite tame in comparison. Okay, by now I know someone is saying ‘ get over it’.  Although Mount’s done television, film and stage, I had no memory of those performances, but I thought he was great in ABC’s new mid-season drama, Red Widow, but he won’t be part of the series (other than the brief time he’s in the pilot).

At the afterparty at Mr. C. Hotel, Mount definitely was interested in hearing about Copper and was glad that the two shows weren’t on at the same time on Sunday. Hell on Wheels airs at 8/9 Central.

Dominique McElligott (Lily) showed up at the afterparty in a bold red dress but it was strange seeing a bald Christopher Heyerdahl who on the show sports a distinctive greasy hair do. 

The amazing music from the show, created and produced by Joe and Tony Gayton and set in 1865 features contemporary music from Dead Weathers and Mumford and Sons, which played at the party and was a major hit with me. Kudos to the show’s music supervisor Linda Cohen.

 AMC’s parting gift at the afterparty was a DVD of the first season, so that makes it very easy to to immerse myself into the first season of the post-Civil war series and the music.

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David Koechner — character actor, stand-up comedian and Tipton native

David Koechner can be seen in the new film Hit and Run, which opens today and stars real-life couple Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell.

 

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Missouri eLife October 2011

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