Homeland: The Complete First Season [Blu-Ray]

Homeland: The Complete First Season [Blu-Ray]
Like any good Showtime series, Homeland focuses on a highly functional character living with an addiction or mental illness, finding drama in complex and occasionally unsavoury characterizations, and the unflattering spectrum of human behaviour. CIA Officer Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) is living with schizophrenia, managed by medication provided on the down-low by her sister, Maggie (Amy Hargreaves), since the CIA isn't keen on having mentally ill officers running around with government secrets and firearms. Unpopular with her colleagues, Carrie's politically incorrect concerns that Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) ― a POW returning to America after eight years imprisoned in Iraq ― might actually have been turned and is plotting an attack on the U.S. This first season follows her relentless quest to prove her theory, setting up cameras in his home, where she witnesses his unhealthy sex life with wife Jessica (Morena Baccarin), who is in turn keeping a secret from her husband that she had moved on to his best friend during the eight years he was gone. Smartly setting up layers of perspectives and lenses, Homeland is obsessed with the nature of the gaze, whether it's Brody's public image on television screens or Carrie's reluctant, but obsessive perspective on his home life. The question of actuality versus what we see is a mirrored thematic trajectory, with Carrie hiding mental illness much like Brody is (potentially) hiding a dangerous political agenda. Impressively, this series manages to get more intense and complex with every episode throughout the first season, leading up to a finale that is unrelenting in tension, discomfort and climactic build-up. This is easily the smartest and most entertaining new series on television, cable or otherwise, and features a performance from Clare Danes that is simultaneously astounding and terrifying. In the half-hour "Making of," she talks about just how scary it was to embrace her character and how the crew ensured that she had a ride home before leaving her alone after a day of shooting. Also discussed on the Blu-Ray is the making of the pilot in commentary track form, where they talk about the dangers of shooting in Israel and the link between characterizations and overriding plot. (Fox)