The Return of Manic Depression, Terrorism and the American Way in Homeland

Saul and Carrie – mentor and protege – sane and insane?

In the middle of its first season, I successfully turned key players in my family and several coworkers. Homeland was not a show to watch half-heartedly – you had to commit to the cause. I extolled the series’ virtues in the midst of season one when I presented Five Reasons Why You Should Be Watching Homeland. And people, once introduced to its brilliance, were willing to take up the banners in support. The show recently moved from cult status to mainstream success with its bevy of Emmy wins.

And as spectacular as that first season was, I had this feeling in my gut that this could become another Dexter. Like Homeland, Dexter was near genius in its inaugural season, wholly unlike anything else on television at the time, and shockingly entertaining. Yet I knew then eventually someone would catch Dexter Morgan, the serial killer who killed serial killers while working for the Miami PD as a blood-spatter expert. I mean how many serial killers could there be in one city and how dumb could the Miami PD be, right? And now that show is a parody of itself, ridiculous beyond belief, and limping through another ill-advised season far past its prime. Homeland, too, faces a similar conundrum. How long can Brody (Damian Lewis) keep this up? Won’t he eventually get caught? Won’t Carrie eventually remember “Isa!” or won’t someone in the government or someone in his family catch on that he’s working for terrorist mastermind numero uno, Abu Nazir?

But I forgot a key difference between these two shows. Homeland has balls. Continue reading

Five Reasons Why You Should Be Watching Homeland

Attention Readers: For the Spin on Season TwoCLICK HERE!

“Hi, honey! Hi, kids! I was missing for 8 years and you thought I was dead! But guess what? I’m baaaaack.”

 

I have to admit…I came around to it reluctantly.  The premise seemed intriguingly simple enough – a CIA agent named Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) believes a recently rescued POW named Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) has been turned by Al Qaeda and begins 24/7 surveillance of his return home against the orders of the agency and against the sentimental tide of a nation that views him as a hero.  The first episode was okay…but there were hints of things that made me press on, and slowly but surely (and now, 9 episodes in, the pace is breathtaking) – I got hooked. 

I try to tell my friends and co-workers about it.  “Hey,” I say, “Are you watching that new show Homeland?  It’s like 24 meets My So-Called Life meets The Truman Show.  Yeah, it’s pretty good.”  And they look at me befuddled.  But it’s more than pretty good…it’s great.  And it’s more than just that reference-fueled sound-bite. 

Dare I say it’s a show like no other – and here are Five Reasons Why You Should Be Watching Homeland. Continue reading

24: The Clock Stops Here

Monday, May 24th 2010 at 8PM EST Fox will air the two-hour series finale of the most groundbreaking network television show of the past decade.  The ticking clock, which at times seemed eternal, will stop once and for all on Jack Bauer and 24.  It’s time to look back and share your favorite 24 memories as The Schleicher Spin bids a bittersweet and fond farewell to an old favorite.

Take yourself back, if you will, to the fall of 2001.  Fox had a daring idea to create an action-thriller that took place in real-time over the course of an entire day where each one hour episode would be one hour in the crisis-filled life of counter-terrorism guru Jack Bauer.  The premier was delayed, however, when the ultimate act of terrorism occurred in real life on 9/11.  Wanting to remain sympathetic to a mourning populace still in a state of shock, Fox chose not to air the first episode until November.  And thus the most groundbreaking network television show since Twin Peaks debuted quietly under subdued hoopla with a sequence featuring an uber-hot terrorist (played by Mia Kirshner, whose character would become the greatest reoccurring villain on the series) casually leaping from an airplane in mid-flight and setting off a bomb that would kill everyone onboard.  It was a sobering moment of fiction that eerily mirrored an even more imaginative and horrific act of mass murder still too fresh on people’s minds.  And it was this moment that set off a spiraling series of events that would shape the television landscape and American pop-culture psyche for the next decade. 

24 plowed on from there with feverish intensity…and it caught on eventually with all its split-screen formatting, cell-phone dialing, satellite re-tasking, bomb defusing, and cliffhanging fun.  Jack Bauer would live another day…and another…and another…as the series went on ad-infinitum for what has seemed like an eternity.  Continue reading

The 24 Drinking Game

ATTENTION READERS:  Check out the discussion at The Schleicher Spin on 24’s Series Finale.

NOTE: This was originally done for the 6th season back in 2007, but these general rules can be applied to any season.

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The best show on network television is back for another season.

Here’s a refresher on The “24” Drinking Game:

Drink every time:

  • They display the ticking clock
  • A character is talking on a cell phone
  • Someone gets shot
  • Something explodes
  • Characters appear in the split screen format Continue reading