I’ve never been one for television. When the kids were little I complained about the evils, the passivity, of television. Five years ago, when I first met Dan, he insisted there were better TV shows than movies. I found that hard to believe but took his comment to heart. Young love and all.
Now I’m hooked on “Homeland.” The first spectacular season will end Sunday with a 90-minute episode, which is certain to be super-intense. Will Brody detonate the explosive vest he picked up — speaking Arabic to the back-room bomb maker in a clothing store — on vacation with his family in Gettysburg,? Will Carrie, the super-smart, manic CIA intelligence agent ever get her job back? And who is the mole passing valuable information to someone intending to wreak havoc on the homeland? Was seeing Iraqi children killed by American bombs enough to turn a marine against his own country? Stay tuned.
House, The Mentalist, Castle, Person of Interest, Unforgettable are all shows that Dan and I watch together via computer magic. A cozy way to spend an evening. Part of our ritual is a delectable chocolate-soy treat from Trader Joe’s, or cuties, as we call them.
My brother, Joel, is also an ardent Homeland fan. We discuss each episode. He’s told me a zillion times that I must watch The Sopranos and The Wire. I’m going for The Wire next, mainly because both Brook and Ethan have highly recommended it.
On Thanksgiving evening in Jersey City, Brook, her grad school friend Kitty, Gian and I watched an episode of Homeland. Kitty assured me it wasn’t nearly as “brilliant” as The Wire.
Joel tells me that my sister-in-law, Sandy, a retired elementary school principal who abhors violence, recently watched all seven seasons of The Sopranos and loved it. I tried the first episode five or six years ago. The lead character (Mr. Soprano?) kicked someone in the head. Not for me, I thought back then.
Now that Sandy’s retired she’s catching up, my brother says. I read today about the key to happiness: Know yourself. I’m intense but way less anxious than I used to be. I won’t stay awake all night condemning a violent TV show in my mind, although I still refuse to watch Dexter. I won’t watch a program about a serial killer. I won’t watch comedy shows with canned laughter in the background.
But maybe I’ll catch up too.
The best TV dramas do tend to be violent/subversive (The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Deadwood, Justified, The Wire). But if you’re squeamish or adverse to violence there’s still some great TV to be found. Friday Night Lights was a wonderful small town/family drama. Even if you hate football it’s still easy to get into. The marriage portrayed by Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton is the most honest, loving representation of a successful marriage ever on TV. Also, there’s the mostly superb Mad Men. Even The Good Wife has some brilliant moments.
The Sopranos has a lot going for it beyond its moments violence. It can also be a quiet, perceptive show. And yes, Homeland is fantastic.