Tag Archives: SHOWTIME


@SHO_Homeland @Showtime @rupertfriend @lewis_damian

In Season 4, Homeland turned the tables on Saul (Mandy Patinkin) and gave him a dose of Brody’s time as a captive, if the commercials, and a few lines in particular that we keep hearing as Season 5 gets under way are anything to judge by, in Season 5, Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) will discover what it is like to have the shoe on the other foot.  She won’t be doing time as a POW however, instead of hunting Taliban members and terrorists, she’ll be the one hunted, feeling the pressure she once put on Abu Nazir and Haissam Haqqani put on her.  With what we know of Carrie’s medical history, that pressure could be a lot more than this already tense personality can handle.

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in Homeland (Season 4, PR Art). - Photo: Jim Fiscus/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: HomelandS4_PRArt_01.R

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in Homeland (Season 4, PR Art). – Photo: Jim Fiscus/SHOWTIME

I will admit, to having particularly enjoyed the season 4 episode in which Damian Lewis was briefly seen, and in which ISI character Aasar Khan (Raza Jaffrey) seemed to have a turning point.  Aasar Khan went from being just another character on the other side, to being one I wouldn’t mind seeing come back in Season 5 in give Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) a run for his money.

As it stands, Carrie seems to have successfully left behind any allies of strength, and to currently be surrounded by people who either do not trust her, or lack the skills to guard her back should the need arise.  As the season evolves, a time may come, very soon, when she hopes either Aasar Khan, or more likely Peter Quinn, steps out of the shadows to deliver the infamous line from Terminator, “come with me if you want to live.”


The Power Of the Revealing Ending

Homeland_Season_4Homeland Season 1 captivated viewers in a way few shows have.  It was a highly talked about show about viewers for a variety of reasons, but one of the most unique things about the show was how so many of the episodes ended.  Instead of dangling audience members (or characters) off cliffs to draw them back for the next episode, they left viewers with a stunning revelation.

Just enough of a temptation or a tease to leave viewers desperate to know what came next.  There was enough information to leave viewers both fascinated, and speculating — what does this clue mean, if this person is in fact so-and-so, then what does this mean for the plot that is unfolding before our very eyes.

Instead of leaving the characters in precarious situations or life-and-death peril, the episode ended with these revelations that left the audience suddenly rethinking what they thought they understood, pondering new possibilities, and eager to come back next week and find out what it all meant.

Those revelations also meant the show was dangerous to watch on DVD, or as a marathon… an episode would end and starting the next episode was positively irresistible.  Those temptations would convince a viewer that surely they had time to watch just one more episode and find out what came next, and what it meant for the characters, and suddenly where a few hours might have been set aside for some relaxation with Homeland, suddenly an entire day could have vanished!

Add that writing technique to some fun plot twists, and the show snagged the interest of an audience that likes puzzles, thrillers, and fitting the pieces together as they figure out if Carrie (Claire Danes) is crazy, or if Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) is truly what he appears to be.

While seasons 2 and 3 of Homeland also featured strong writing and interesting conspiracy style plotting, the episodes were less consistent with the “reveal” style endings that had so hooked me in season 1.  In fact, it was those reveals that pushed me from encouraging a few friends to watch the show to outright insisting they had to check it out, because the writing was different from so much of what was on the air.  Instead of a contrived cliff-hanging situation I was sure all the characters would miraculously survive, these reveals were filled with water-cooler conversation worthy material, with tidbits and revelations that spun my understanding of things I had seen before and left me reconsidering what I thought I already knew.

Homeland continued to be a strong show, using season 1 to explore the return of a Prisoner of War, and his re-integration into his family and life at home.  It was full of hopefully impossible possibilities (or at least things I do not want to imagine ever happening in the world I live in) but that was part of the magic of the show.  It was believable, real — and horrifying.

Season 2 was full of consequences, and season 3 was trying to figure out if a person can make amends for their youthful indiscretions.  (Or at least that is my best attempt at a spoiler-less summary of the seasons.)

Once I started watching the seasons on DVD, I could not walk away.  I had recorded the episodes as they aired, having learned during the first season that waiting until next week for the next episode is a form of torture.  But finding time to watch the seasons had not come until this past weekend, and suddenly, I lost a day to season 2 of Homeland, and the following day to season 3 — which in fact went into the DVD player so quickly on the heels of season 2 if someone had been watching me they might have thought they were all out of one boxed set.

Homeland is a show with a knack for making this particular viewer at least, not just want but need to know what comes next, how that crumb is going to be used, and how things are going to play out.  As a result, I am recording season 4 so I can marathon through it the moment the last episode has aired!

Homeland airs Sundays on Showtime

Stand Up To Cancer 2014


The Stand Up To Cancer press release says so well what they are about, and what is going on tonight.  Normally we avoid the copy and paste approach with press releases… but in this case, the details matter too much, and we want to get it exactly right.

 Friday, September 5th (8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT) Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), will stage its fourth biennial fundraising event.  Robert Downey Jr., Melissa McCarthy, Steve Carell, Sofia Vergara, Ben Falcone, Kevin Bacon, Anna Kendrick, Tony Goldwyn, Dave Grohl, Hailee Steinfeld, Josh Gad, Giada De Laurentiis, Jaime King, Mira Sorvino, Joe Manganiello, Jordana Brewster, Alison Sweeney, Amanda de Cadenet, Charlie Wilson, and Diem Brown, will be part of the star-studded appeal to help build public support for SU2C’s groundbreaking translational research that can provide patients with new therapies to save lives now. They join previously announced participants including Gwyneth Paltrow, Katie Couric, Reese Witherspoon, Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, Jon Hamm, Kiefer Sutherland, Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Mark Harmon, Rob Lowe, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Tony Hale, Dane Cook, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Marg Helgenberger, Matt Passmore, Rob Riggle, Italia Ricci, Ethan Zohn and Bree Turner. Special musical performances include: The Who, Jennifer Hudson, Lupe Fiasco & Common, Ariana Grande, and Dave Matthews Band.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Joel Gallen of Tenth Planet Productions will co-executive produce the September 5th broadcast, live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.  ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, along with ABC Family, American Forces Network, AXS TV, Bravo, Cooking Channel, Discovery Fit & Health, E!, Encore, Encore Espanol, EPIX, ESPNEWS, FOX Sports 2, FXM, HBO, HBO Latino, ION Television, LMN, Logo TV, MLB Network, National Geographic Channel, Oxygen, Palladia, Pivot, SHOWTIME, Smithsonian Channel, Starz, TNT and VH1 are donating one hour of simultaneous commercial-free primetime for the nationally televised fundraising special on Friday. In addition, the show will stream live on both Hulu and Yahoo.

Instead of the traditional phone bank staffed by celebrities, the September 5th telecast will feature a “digital lounge” on the set, hosted by Yahoo News Global Anchor Katie Couric. Stars in the digital lounge will reach out to viewers via phone, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms through an exciting new campaign called “We’re Calling You” that SU2C’s supporters can sign up for at werecallingyou.org.

In the on-stage digital lounge, Katie Couric will tap into the Facebook Mentions Box, which allows supporters to share their connection to cancer and receive real-time responses from celebrities. Other celebrities in the digital lounge will participate in Facebook Q&As, using their own pages to respond live to fan questions.  Facebook and Instagram will also have a presence on the star-studded red carpet on September 5th with a photo experience that will capture the stars as they make their way into the Dolby Theatre, sharing those images and videos with fans. All of this, and much more, can be followed on Stand Up To Cancer’s social media feeds (facebook.com/su2c | Instagram: @SU2C | Twitter: @SU2C).

In addition to Facebook, an array of digital and social media platforms and influencers— ranging from Shazam, reddit, Nerdist, Tumblr, Yahoo, Hulu, AOL, and The Huffington Post— are helping support SU2C this year.

For the first time, there will be a Canada-inclusive co-broadcast of the 2014 telecast, which will air simultaneously on all four major English-language Canadian networks: CBC, City, CTV and Global, along with Canadian services AMI, CHCH, CHEK, Fight Network, Gusto TV, Hollywood Suite and TLN. All funds received from the Canadian general public during the broadcast will be directed towards the creation of collaborative research teams, as well as education and awareness programs conducted in Canada.

The first three SU2C telecasts took place on September 5, 2008, September 10, 2010 and September 7, 2012, and were made available to more than 190 countries. To date, more than $261 million has been pledged to support SU2C’s innovative cancer research programs. Since 2008, SU2C has funded 12 “Dream Teams” of researchers and two translational research teams, as well as 26 young innovative scientists whose high-risk, potentially high-reward projects are aimed at ending cancer’s reign as a leading cause of death worldwide.

There are times when it seems competition and the free market reign supreme, but Stand Up To Cancer is a prime example of an industry pulling together as one united force in opposition to something that touches lives daily throughout the world.  As they say on the StandUpToCancer website:

1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. We can change these odds.