The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2012
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 628 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
Directed by: Various
Music by: Sean Callery
Written by: Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 10, 2013
Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Lewis) is now a U.S. congressman, and former CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Danes) has returned to civilian life. But when a new and potentially devastating terrorist threat emerges, Brody and Carrie's lives become intertwined once again and they resume their delicate dance of suspicion, deceit and desire.
Set roughly six months after the events of the Season 1 finale, the episode opens with news of major unrest in the Middle East as Israel has bombed nuclear facilities in Iran, with Iran vowing retaliation. The Central Intelligence Agency is approached by a former asset who is a wife of a Hezbollah district commander. She says she has information on an imminent attack on America. However, she refuses to talk to anyone but her former handler, Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) who is struggling to maintain balance in civilian life as a teacher.
Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), settling into his new role as a Congressman for Virginia's 2nd congressional district, is approached by Vice President Walden (Jamey Sheridan) who wants to float Brody's name as a potential running mate for his presidential run. Brody happily accepts the offer. Later on, he meets with Roya Hammad (Zuleikha Robinson), a journalist who reveals herself to Brody as an ally of Abu Nazir. She relays an assignment that Nazir has passed along to him. Brody is to retrieve a list of potential attack targets from a safe in CIA Deputy Supt. David Estes' office. Brody correctly ascertains that Al-Qaeda intends to hit one of these targets and refuses at first, reluctant to be responsible for deaths of civilians. Roya says that the world is at war and Brody needs to pick a side. If his allegiance is truly with Al-Qaeda, he will retrieve the list.
Claire is temporary invited back into CIA fold in order to help obtain information from the asset in Lebanon. With her help it bears fruit leading to an op targeting the elusive Abu Nazir. Unfortunately the plan is derailed when Nazir is tipped off which points the finger at someone in the inside. Meanwhile Saul makes a dramatic discovery in Lebanon, one that will prove once and for all that Carrie wasn’t crazy and that Nicholas Brody isn’t America’s golden boy. David Estes brings in a new analyst named Quinn to head up the Abu Nazir case which comes as a surprise to both Saul and Carrie. Based upon Saul’s findings Brody comes under suspicion and is targeted by the CIA eventually agreeing to work with them in order to ascertain Abu Nazir’s plans.
Now working together Brody and Carrie come face to face with the past dredging up what both had thought was long behind them. Saul does a little behind the scenes detective work only to discover that covert plans have been set in motion to cover up the past deeds of high ranking government officials with his team right smack in the middle. Brody’s family continues to cope with his circumspect behavior amidst continuing familial issues including a serious incident involving daughter Dana. Suspicions abound, treachery lurks around every corner and the imminent threat of Abu Nazir’s promise hangs in the balance. Before the season ends debts will be paid, blood will be spilled and truths will be revealed. Or will they…?
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. Season two continues in that vein as the storyline builds over the course of its 12 episodes and features a variety of enriching subplots that interconnect the main plot points. 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. The show’s writing continues to compliment the performances of the core cast members headed by Claire Danes (who just won her second Emmy for her portrayal of Claire), Mandy Patinkin and Damian Lewis who I thought was much better this season than last. They are aptly supported by an excellent ensemble that compliments the show.
Homeland makes for an exciting, provocative and engaging TV series that hasn’t lost its edge going into its third season which premieres on Showtime on September 29th. We’ll be watching…
Season two’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:
- The smile
- Beirut is back
- State of independence
- New car smell
- A Gettysburg address
- The clearing
- I’ll fly away
- Two hats
- Broken hearts
- In memoriam
- The choice
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 Two comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4 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.
- (HD) Return to the Homeland: Filming in Israel – 7 minute featurette
- (HD) Exclusive: The Border: A prologue to Season three – 2 minutes
- A super 8 film diary by Damian Lewis – 11 minutes
- (HD) Deleted scenes
- (HD) The Choice: the making of the season finale – 15 minute featurette
Nominated for a 2013 Emmy for Best TV 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. Season two proves that the show hasn’t lost its edge and continues to push the envelope. 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 that includes an exclusive glimpse at season three. If you’re a fan or are looking for a worthwhile TV series to check out on Blu-ray Homeland deserves a look.
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JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
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Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
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SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
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