It’s hard not to get down on Showtime sometimes. To be honest, it feels like the cable network isn’t trying all that hard. Take Homeland, the cable network’s new counterterrorism thriller set to premiere on October 2. What was likely conceived as an examination of war heroes as fetish objects has materialized—and devolved—into torture porn centered on Damian Lewis (with a Jim Caviezel-style beard) and Claire Danes (with a head scarf). The premise hinges on a plot structure perfected by Akiro Kurosawa in Rashomon: the impossibility of truth. In Homeland‘s case, it’s about trusting either the seemingly scrupulous war veteran (Lewis) or the overzealous CIA agent (Danes). How to find our way out of this tangled web, we ask? The poster suggests some kind of Fight Club denouement, where neither person exists, or perhaps both turn out to be the same person. Depressingly, when it comes to questions of sanity, there are really only three possibly shocking endings–and they’ve all ceased to be shocking following the success of Fight Club (he’s crazy!), Dr. Caligari (he wasn’t crazy but he is now!), and The Sixth Sense (they’re all dead!).
That said, Damian Lewis is Damian Lewis, and his beauty (often) outshines his projects, which isn’t to say he hasn’t been in some great ones (Band of Brothers, Keane). He’s one of our more valuable British imports, and the sexiest of gingers. (Sorry, Rupert).
Meanwhile, Claire Danes in her first post-Emmy role shouldn’t be judged too harshly. Where television roles for women are concerned, it’s all downhill after Temple Grandin.