It is a mantra repeated by many that several of America’s finest series’ have overdone it. Now this has reached a-whole-nother level insofar as a third series of a show is seen as simply establishing the characters with many more expected to come. Some TV shows, such as the once great family comedy The Simpsons – currently on its 24th season – don’t seem to grasp the concept that you can indeed have too much of a good thing.
The first series of Homeland saw a multitude of twists and turns, with each episode as good as the previous edition. The clearly intertwined mixture of narrative strands was well-worked to say the least; the love affair of Brody and Carrie, the tension between David and Saul and the search for Abu Nazir – all were equally as captivating as each other. After 12 episodes of sheer genius, award-worthy acting and enthralling writing, many viewers were left drooling at the prospect of a second season. Showtime obliged.
The second installment saw a different diegesis to the precedent, it was arguably becoming more far-fetched with certain plot points lacking plausibility. However, Homeland once again racked up many awards and universal acclaim from critics – the high expectations from fans of the US drama were essentially met. There was potential that the show could have steered clear of the ongoings between the CIA and terrorist groups, the suspicions about Brody being a terrorist and Carrie’s struggle to become reinstated into the job she is so passionate about. Rather, they could have opted for a focus on the love affair between a bipolar sufferer and an alleged bomber. Luckily, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Homeland executive Alex Gansa claimed that the Showtime show’s next series will be “smaller scale”,
“I think all of us on the writing staff would rather not do an impending attack that Carrie stops for the third year in a row”
This suggests that officials recognised the tangent the second series’ events may have led to and that the writing team are trying to go back to the show’s roots which was where the real genius lies. For anyone that disagrees that the second series was becoming somewhat predictable, check this hilarious skit on Saturday Night Live starring Anne Hathaway. Despite the comedic twist on the Showtime drama, it is unnervingly accurate.
It was recently announced that Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) and his fictional wife Mira (Sarita Choudhury) would be playing a larger part in the upcoming third series. Just a month prior to this, it was announced that surveillance expert Virgil (David Marciano) would not be be returning to the show as a series regular though claimed that there was a possibility for a “guest star” role. With this in mind, it seems that Homeland officials may be trying to mix it up a bit and introduce other elements into the series. Perhaps a focus on the Saul and Mira relationship can draw some attention away from the omnipresent Carrie and Brody saga and their painfully loud-and-sloppy kisses that seem to occur in every single episode.
Despite the success of the first two series and the anticipation surrounding the imminent third, it is never a bad thing to leave fans wanting more. If it was announced that the upcoming 12 episodes were to be the show’s last, Homeland should be celebrated as one of the minority of US shows that end on a high note. As the old saying goes, too many broths spoil the soup – or in this case too many episodes may spoil the reputation of a show dubbed the best of 2011.
Some critics claimed that Homeland should have even been cancelled after the first series due to its brilliance. This same group of people state the second series’ implausibility and absurdity. To some extent, they’re not wrong. The promise of the first season, its uncertainty regarding which side Brody would choose, whether Carrie would be believed et al was not continued. Instead, the writers opted for a more predictable style which goes against what made the show such a sigh of relief amongst US dramas.
If Brody detonated the bomb at the end of the first series, would that shocking unpredictability – which would led to the show’s demise – make the show one of the greatest of all-time? Should the show have been one and done? Or is the temptation for a third series too hard to resist, and the more episodes the better? There is only one way to find out, and that time will come when the series starts on 29 September.
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