As you’ll soon see in our year-end discussion of the year’s best television, both David Simon Cowell and I are big fans of Showtime’s Homeland, which was created by part of the braintrust in charge of 24.
While I was a fan of 24 for about half of its eight seasons, Homeland has done well to pick and choose which aspects of the Kiefer Sutherland show to incorporate. It uses some of the same tension-building methods as 24, while eschewing the more outrageous twists in favor of deeper character development.
Were Homeland a more direct mimic of its ancestor, this season probably would have unfolded a little differently. Here’s what would have happened (spoilers, kind of, ahead):
- It turns out Saul is a mole.
- It turns out Carrie’s boss is a mole.
- It turns out that one other dude who’s gotten speaking lines who works with Carrie is a mole.
- It turns out Carrie is a mole.
- Every woman on the show is either a secret terrorist, gets brutally killed due to her utter helplessness, or both.
- Brody’s wife learns he’s plotting an attack, then immediately develops amnesia.
- Halfway through the season, Abu Nazir is killed and we realize the real threat is coming from someone else entirely and we never hear about Abu Nazir again.
- Everyone who works for a U.S. government agency other than the one Carrie works for is a spineless, self-serving bureaucrat (ok, this one is actually true).
- Before Carrie and Brody have sex? Torture foreplay.
- Carrie goes to Africa for some reason and fights a warlord.
- Brody’s daughter, Dana, is much more attractive.
- Brody’s daughter, Dana, is attacked by a cougar.
Finally, to commemorate the season, Merry Christmas, everybody: