Homeland, Showtime – I’ve watched every episode of Homeland, the premise immediately hooked me – a prisoner of war is rescued after years of captivity, but has he been turned? Is he planning to launch an attack on his own country? The first 2 seasons were gripping, but later seasons were hit and miss. However I’m so glad I stuck with it, as the series finale was close to perfect. It reiterated to me just how underwhelming the finale, of the consistently great, Game of Thrones was. Homeland has courted controversy over the years, particularly with regard to the series being racist. I can completely see where the criticism comes from, the majority of Muslim characters were terrorists or at least sympathisers. I personally feel the bigger issue is the lack of Muslim characters in mainstream programming, it was only last year that we saw the first American sitcom with a Muslim lead character. I have no issue with minorities playing the terrorist, the mugger, the drug dealer etc, we know that these people exist in our communities, however we also know that the majority of us are law abiding and that needs to be reflected. We need to be the love interest, the super hero, the princess and all the other positive roles that you rarely see minorities get to play in mainstream television. I’m all for telling challenging stories, I don’t want TV to shy away from talking about terrorism and I applaud Homeland for acknowledging the criticism levelled at it and taking steps to address it. I certainly noticed an attempt in later seasons to not portray things as being quite so black and white. The show depicted the US state engaging in acts of terrorism that killed innocent people, and showed how this causes hatred towards the US from other parts of the world. We know far right terrorism has killed more people in the US than Jihadists, so I appreciated Homeland season 6 being dedicated to a right wing terrorism plot within the US. Also the series began to illustrate the persecution that law abiding Muslims often face, not just from individuals, but also from the state. Homeland was originally adapted from a Israeli series called Prisoners of War (Hatufim), which has also been remade in Russia and India. I’d be fascinated to watch those to see the differences in their world view, although not sure I’m fascinated enough to read subtitles – I’m generally always doing something else whilst watching TV, (like typing this review). I watched the first 2 episodes of the original Israeli series years ago and remember finding it even more interesting than the US version. After the prisoner of war was presumed dead, the POW’s wife remarried his own brother, which his father pressured him to hide when the POW was found to be alive! However despite my best intentions, I didn’t manage to watch any more.
Watch Report: Homeland