Showtime's much-lauded thriller series Homeland shouldn't get too comfortable in its new spot as the darling of television dramas. Like the show's perpetually paranoid Carrie Mathison sees potential danger everywhere, we're seeing signs that could spell trouble for Homeland's glorious television reign. No, we don't see a terrorist plot. We see an impending backlash.
Homeland's recent Emmy victory for Outstanding Drama Series (and Actor and Actress) was the main surprise in a ceremony full of ho-hum wins for Modern Family. A week later, the show's season premiere was met with both excitement and plenty caveats.
Some backstory, with spoilers: Homeland in its first season told the parallel stories of brilliant-bipolar CIA agent Carrie Mathison and an emotionally damaged recovered POW named Nicholas Brody. Upon his return, Carrie immediately suspects that Brody has been "turned" by the terrorist outfit that captured him, and thus cat-and-mouse spy game hijinks ensue. In last week's issue of the New Yorker, television critic Emily Nussbaum floated her theory that if Brody's suicide bomb had gone off in the season finale, Homeland would have been an "uncompromising one-season series—something impossible, because of those damn TV economics." So, we arrive at the second season curious to see how sustainable the whole enterprise really is. Now that everyone has seen the premiere episode, recappers seem enthusiastic about the show's return, but are certainly expressing doubts. At Vulture Matt Zoller Seitz wonders, "How long can the Brody-as-volatile-sleeper-agent premise play out without making the writers look desperate and the show seem, well, kind of dumb?" He continues: "On that last count, Homeland, as much as I love it, is already pushing its luck."