Even if you have never seen a single episode of “Homeland” in your life, chances are good you will know when it’s on television. Every Sunday, Facebook seems to light up like the proverbial Christmas tree with posts about the incredibly popular show. If the current ratings for the cable TV show are any indication, chances are good that most people have tuned into “Homeland” at some point.
According to a recent Huffington Post article, more viewers than ever are watching the show. As the program gets closer to its season finale, the ratings are going even further through the roof. For example, the article noted that on Dec. 9, “Homeland” earned its highest ratings ever, with a whopping 2.36 million viewers watching at 10 p.m. These numbers beat the previous week, when a still-impressive 2.2 million people tuned in.
Why do we love television shows like “Homeland” so much? Why does a program, which focuses on a serious and potentially frightening topic like terrorism, draw so many viewers week after week? The answer seems to involve a proven combination of outstanding actors playing compelling characters, an intriguing and intense plot, and our appreciation for shows that feature well-written, albeit intense, story lines.
Homeland’s two lead stars, Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, do an outstanding job of playing characters who are not one-dimensional or predictable, but rather interesting, troubled and completely believable. As an article on the Daily Trojan website said, Danes plays Carrie Mathison, a CIA operative who carries around some pretty heavy emotional baggage. Carrie is incredibly smart, manic and charming and emotionally scarred. Viewers have gotten to know Carrie during the course of the show, watching her eat nothing but Chinese take-out and plain yogurt and focusing solely on keeping our nation safe from terrorist attacks. As the article notes, Carrie is both “a hero and a head case.”
As Nicholas Brody, Lewis brings depth and intrigue to his role as a U.S. Marine who was once captured by Middle Eastern terrorists and held as a prisoner of war for eight years. This experience has left him understandably disturbed and damaged. While Carrie and Nicholas are definitely compelling characters, in order for the show to work the writers must keep the duo busy thinking, planning and doing interesting and unpredictable things. This is another reason “Homeland” is so popular.
What Comes Next?
While most television shows save their main cliffhangers for the final show of the season, “Homeland” viewers never quite know what will happen next. With its combination of tense drama, intelligent wit, political themes and unexpected developments, “Homeland” keeps its viewers on the edges of their collective chairs. Sitcoms and many other shows are notorious for providing viewers with 30 to 60 minutes of predictable pablum, but “Homeland” never goes that route. Fans of the show like to follow along as Carrie tries to determine if Nicholas is a war hero, or a terrorist, noted an article on the HLN website.
Just as viewers (and Carrie) think they have everything figured out, the show delivers another plot twist, compelling people to tune in for yet another week.
About the Author