TV Listings | You will be homebound
The first 17 episodes of Homeland, the winner of the 2012 Emmy for best series, are relentless. Streaming them in July, I felt like a junkie, unable to let go. Like the main character, an American soldier captured by the Taleban, I was a prisoner, but with a computer not a pisspot as my family/the guards nattered away in the sunshine outside.
It isn’t a spoiler to tell you how the soldier, Seargeant Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), spends so long in captivity he picks up some of the local habits, like following Islam and wearing suicide vests, but how long can he keep on evading the CIA? Seventeen episodes, it transpires.
The remainder of season two (watch it all legally on DR3, from Sun 08:10) saw Congressman Brody – following the quickest election win in American TV history – assisting special operative Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), on top of sleeping with her, to help America avoid another terrorist attack. Given that I’m only up to episode 18, I can’t tell you how well they fared.
What I can confirm is the brilliance of Danes (who won yet another award on Sunday – a second Emmy to go with her two Golden Globes). Presumably named after the Stephen King novel, Mathison is the most disturbed individual to work for the US government since Nixon, and that’s with medication. Grappling a bipolar disorder that if exposed would end her career, she has the instincts of a grandmaster chess player but a weakness for ginger-headed men. It’s an explosive cocktail in the company of Brody.
Because while Jack Bauer in 24 was very much boys’ own, Homeland, despite the heavy national security content, finds room for emotionally-believable storylines that very often trump the bombs and beatings. While Lewis, an Etonian who nailed the American soldier’s role in Band of Brothers, is a little too stilted and accent-conscious in the serious scenes, he comes alive on screen with Danes as their romance becomes one of the most compelling aspects of the series.
He survived but Foyle’s War (DR1, Mon 22:30) is only just beginning. This time, in 1946, the Soviets are the enemy.
Can’t imagine them being nastier that Simon Cowell, who is back with a third series of X Factor USA (DR3, Sat 20:00 & Thu 20:25) with Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio on board as judges.
Docs-wise, learn more about Ugandan sex lives in Sunny Side of Sex (DR2, Thu 23:00); catch up with the world’s most famous conjoined twins in Abby & Brittany: College and Beyond (DR3, Thu 20:00); Queen: A Night At The Opera (DR3, Sat 23:00) gets the classic album treatment; while Racing Dreams (SVT1, Tue 22:00), a 2009 doc about karting, won the ‘Jury Prize for Best Documentary’ at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Elsewhere, we have the fourth season of The Big C (SVT1, Mon 22:40), the second season of Boardwalk Empire (SVT1, Sat 22:25), and the 2011 series of the UK version of Undercover Boss (SVT2, Mon 18:00). (BH)
Sport of the Week:
FCK have a big week, firstly away at Brøndby (TV3+, Sat 16:00) in the Superliga and then at Real Madrid (TV3+, Wed 19:30) in the Champions League. The EPL is serving up Tottenham vs Chelsea and Swansea City vs Arsenal (K6, Sat 18:25), while there’s a chance to sample a UEFA Youth League game: Manchester City vs Bayern Munich (Eurosport 1, Wed 15:45). Elsewhere, there’s the UCI Road World Championships and the European Volleyball Championship final at Parken, although it’s just the highlights. (BH)
Film of the Week:
Starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, The Adjustment Bureau (TV3, Mon 20:30) is an imaginative, touching film with likeable leads and just edges out Super 8 (TV3, Sun 21:00), JJ Abrams’s well-executed alien visitation film, for the top spot this week. They are followed by five 2010 films: three watchable – the creepy Trust (DR1, Fri 21:45), the grisly Black Death (DR3, Sat 21:25), and the iffy Due Date (TV2, Sun 21:00) – and two unwatchable: the dire Legion (TV3+, Fri 23:40) and the so bad it’s almost good A Nightmare on Elm Street (SVT4, Fri 23:50). (BH)
Coming Soon: Last Tango in Halifax
This BAFTA-winning series, based on Sally Wainwright’s observation of her mother’s second marriage, is a “rapturous mix of absurdly fairy tale romance and frantic modern complications … brought to life by masterfully shaded performances”, praises the LA Times.
The six-part series, which boasts a Metacritic score of 78, tells the story of Alan and Celia, two widowers in Yorkshire, England, who reconnect after 60 years and quickly find that the feelings they had for each other still exist. They tentatively begin to brave a new and unexpected relationship; however, they both have lives and families that could potentially get in the way.
Last Tango is an uplifting story of love, missed opportunities and second chances. It is both witty and modern, featuring two extraordinary performances by Derek Jacobi (I, Claudius) and Anne Reid (Upstairs Downstairs). (CJ)