Who will you vote for to win the Radio Times Audience Award at the Television Baftas 2013? We’ve got an in-house advocate for each of the six nominees. Here, Jade Bremner explains why you should get behind Homeland…
Take one part twisted love story, two parts terrorism, add a few dollops interrogation and what have you got? No, it’s not Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood having a hissy fit over a bad batch of pastry in the outtakes of the Great British Bake off – it’s Homeland, of course.
Credit where it’s due, Game of Thrones is a close contender in the Radio Times Audience Award in my mind – castles, ghouls and a nympho dwarf is enough to capture anyone’s attention. I also rather enjoyed Danny Boyle’s Olympics Opening Ceremony – what’s not to like about hundreds of Mary Poppins impersonators with illuminated umbrellas and our head of state parachuting into a stadium while her under garments flap in the wind?
However, as entertainment goes, it’s not quite as brilliant as a hot ginger terrorist being considered as a serious candidate for Vice President of the USA. Genius.
Homeland has the pace, energy and cliff-hangers of Fox series 24, and tackles painfully sensitive current issues of war and terrorism, through flawed anti-hero Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), a US Marine who’s been held captive by Al-Qaeda for eight years and has lost his way (or finally found it, depending on where you are in the series). There are more twists and turns than the cast of Strictly Come Dancing in an oil spill. Will Brody blow up the government or won’t he? Is he right to? Which side should we be on?
Some shows spoon-feed you information at a patronisingly slow rate, whereas Homeland just chucks bits of knowledge at you like schizophrenic lightning bolts – bam, he’s a terrorist, bam, his wife is having an affair, bam, who’s that new attractive man who used to date Keira Knightley? Bam, what’s going on with CIA agent Saul’s beard? Miss an episode and you’ve missed a vital nugget of information that will, undoubtedly, return in the last episode. Probably accompanied by a gun, a bomb.
Meanwhile, the excellent Claire Danes plays bipolar CIA agent Carrie Matheson, who gets caught up in an affair with the man she suspects to be plotting America’s demise. Not only are viewers breathlessly whisked along at breakneck speeds through explosions, torture and sex – we also delve into the psyche of the protagonists, and join them on their journey of fear, confusion and love. Despite all their faults they are unfailingly human.