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Homeland

Homeland is a drama/thriller series developed for American television by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa and based on the Israeli series Hatufim (English title: Prisoners of War) created by Gideon Raff. The series stars Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, a Central Intelligence Agency officer and Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody, a U.S. Marine. Mathison has come to believe that Brody, who was held captive by Al-Qaeda as a prisoner of war, was turned by the enemy and now threatens the United States.

The series is broadcast in the United States on the cable channel Showtime, and is produced by Fox 21. It premiered on October 2, 2011. The first episode was made available online, more than two weeks before broadcast, with viewers having to complete some tasks to unlock access. The series has received critical acclaim, as well as several industry awards, including winning the 2012 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama, and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Damian Lewis and Claire Danes respectively. Showtime renewed the series for a second season of twelve episodes, which premiered on September 30, 2012.

Critical response

The first season received universal acclaim, scoring a Metacritic rating of 91 out of 100 from 28 critics. TV Guide named it the best TV show of 2011 and highly applauded the performances by Damian Lewis and Claire Danes. Metacritic determined Homeland to be the second best TV show of 2011 according to major TV critics, by aggregating the critics’ year-end top ten lists.

Hank Stuever of The Washington Post gave the pilot episode an A?, saying “What makes Homeland rise above other post-9/11 dramas is Danes’ stellar performance as Carrie—easily this season’s strongest female character” and that “The latter half of the first episode is exhilarating. I’m hooked.” Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe said it was his favorite drama pilot of the season, giving it an A. Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker gave it an A?, stating “It’s the fall season’s most intriguing, tense puzzler.” IGN TV gave it a positive review, saying that it was an “ace thriller” that also managed to have something to say about the “War on Terror”. The seventh episode, “The Weekend”, received overwhelming critical acclaim and was described by both the creators of the show and Damian Lewis as a “watershed” episode. However, Greg Dixon of The New Zealand Herald criticized Homeland’s thin plotting, Danes’s “insane levels of overacting” and Lewis’s “passivity”.

U.S. President Barack Obama has praised the show.

Ratings

The original broadcast of the pilot episode on October 2, 2011 received 1.08 million viewers, becoming Showtime’s highest-rated drama premiere in eight years. The episode received a total of 2.78 million viewers with additional broadcasts and on demand views. The finale episode of season one received 1.7 million viewers, making it the most-watched season finale of any first-year Showtime series. The series has also performed well in the UK, where it airs on Channel 4; the pilot episode drew 2.2 million viewers, the season one finale drew 2.8 million viewers, and the season two premiere drew 2.3 million viewers

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