The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2011
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 664 minutes
Genre: TV Drama
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Claire Danes, Damien Lewis, Mandy Patinkin, Morena Baccarin, David Harewood, David Marciano, Diego Klattenhoff, Jamey Sheridan, Linda Purl
Directed by: Various
Music by: Sean Callery
Written by: Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 28, 2012
Hailed as TV’s best new drama by critics everywhere, the award-winning HOMELAND* delivers compelling characters, thrilling twists and breathtaking suspense. Carrie Mathison (Golden Globe® winner Claire Danes), a brilliant but volatile CIA agent, suspects that a rescued American POW may not be what he seems. Is Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody_(Damian Lewis) a war hero...or an Al Qaeda sleeper agent plotting a spectacular terrorist attack on U.S. soil? Following her instincts, Mathison will risk everything to uncover the truth — her reputation, her career and even her sanity. Packed with multiple layers and hidden clues, Season One offers something new every time you see it...watch carefully.
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 follows Carrie Mathison, a CIA operations officer who, after conducting an unauthorized operation in Iraq, is put on probation and reassigned to the CIA's Counterterrorism Center in Langley, Virginia. Just prior to leaving Iraq, Carrie received information from a detained asset that an American POW had been turned by Al-Qaeda.
Upon returning to Langley Carrie learns that U.S Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody, reported as missing in action since 2003, has been rescued by Delta Force members from a compound belonging to terrorist Abu Nazir. Carrie suspects that Brody is the American prisoner of war that her asset in Iraq was talking about. She approaches her mentor and CIA Division Chief Saul Berenson about Brody. Saul advises that Brody is seen by the government and ultimately the nation as a war hero. Without hard evidence there are no grounds to set up surveillance on him.
Trusting her instincts Carrie goes out side of the proper channels by enlisting the aid of good buddy and former CIA surveillance tech Virgil and sets up video surveillance in Brody’s house where he lives with his Wife Jessica and their teenage son and daughter. Keeping 24 hour watch on him Carrie comes to learn things about Nicholas Brody, none of which support her suspicions. Regardless she continues to follow his every move and finds herself drawn to and infatuated by him. Carrie soon finds herself spiraling and torn between her obsession with preventing another terrorist attack on U.S. soil and her conflicted personal feelings about this man she suspects as the key to Abu Nazir’s next move. Complicating matters for Carrie is her hidden psychiatric disorder which she manages through prescribed medication from her physician sister Maggie.
In the meantime Nicholas Brody remains a question mark. His return home has been complicated by his difficulty transitioning from eight years in captivity, an estrangement from his children and the discovery that his wife (who believed him dead) was secretly involved in a romance with his best friend. Deciding to push the envelope Carrie makes personal contact with Brody in the hopes of learning more about him and his potential plans. Things escalate well beyond her original intentions which ultimately places Carrie at odds with her boss David Estes, Saul and subsequently Brody himself. When a new discovery is made regarding the purported threat from Abu Nazir the focus shifts. With everyone including Carrie regrouping, things that otherwise might have been noticed are missed. This leaves an opening, an opening which could lead to the fulfillment of an attack that could devastate the American Government. The question is who will carry it out and why?
Homeland is set to a post 9/11 narrative that is scripted with taut pacing, personal themes and character driven elements where conflict abounds and nothing is a given. The storyline builds over the course of the 12 episode season and features a variety of enriching subplots that interconnect the main plot points. I hadn’t heard of the show prior to seeing it win at the Golden Globes this year. I watched it with my wife and enjoyed it quite a bit. The subject matter is relevant but that isn’t what drew us in as much as the interwoven interpersonal drama. The characters are well developed as is the air of mystery surrounding them and the morally suspect nature of their connection to the proceedings. There are viable plot twists some of which you might see coming and some you might not that go hand in hand with the melodrama, romance and thrills.
Claire Danes is simply marvelous in the role of Carrie, the highly motivated CIA officer that secretly battles her psychological demons. Mandy Patinkin has been a favorite of mine for years and he shines in the role of Saul. I have to say that I am not so sure about Damien Lewis in the critical role of Nicholas Brody. I find him to be lacking the type of charisma, dramatic depth and physicality that a character like Brody would ultimately need to survive his ordeal and sustain the weight put on him upon his return home. Actually I think Diego Klattenhoff who plays “Mike” might have been a better choice but, oh well. Homeland pays dividends and makes for an exciting, provocative and engaging TV series. It returns for its second season on September 30th. We’ll be watching…
Season One’s 12 episodes are spread over three BD-50 Blu-ray Discs that come housed in a standard amaray style case with slipcover that contains a flip type insert to hold the discs. Here is the list of season one’s episodes:
- Clean skin
- Semper I
- Blind spot
- The good soldier
- The weekend
- Achilles heel
- Representative Brody
- The vest
- Marine one
The show contains thematic material, sexual content, partial nudity, violence and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Homeland Season One comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 Mbps.
This is an excellent high definition video rendering that features well resolved images, defining sharpness and two dimensional depth. Colors are beautifully rendered with revealing delineation, tonal warmth and vibrant textures. Fleshtones appear descriptive with discernible complexional variety that brings out the finest gradations in the differing complexional types among the cast. Blacks are a solid shade of deep black with excellent dynamic range and discernible highlights. Contrast is well balanced which enriches both light and dark onscreen elements. I saw no signs of video related anomalies or artifacts.
The DTS-HD MA soundtrack features crystal clear dialogue, gratifying dynamic range and a subtle, yet enriching surround sound mix. I was pleased with its use of spacial dimension and directional cues to create a realistic and occasionally immersive sound field. This worked hand in hand with show’s music, and active sequences to build tension and drive its thematic elements. I thought it sounded quite good.
- Audio commentary by Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Howard Gordon, and Alex Gansa on the series Pilot
- (HD) Deleted scenes (totaling 12 minutes)
- (HD) Week ten: Prologue to season two – 4 minutes
- (HD) Homeland season one: under surveillance – 33 minute featurette
Winner of the 2012 Golden Globe for Best Television Series, Drama Homeland is an engaging, character driven TV drama that features excellent writing that revolves around a post 9/11 narrative that takes audiences on a tautly paced and provocative trip down the rabbit hole. It makes its way to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox via a satisfying offering that features rewarding high definition video quality, crystal clear lossless sound and a middling supplemental package. If you’re a fan or are looking for a worthwhile TV series to check out on Blu-ray Homeland – season one deserves a look.
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