Homeland, a story about an American prisoner of war (POW) who has been turned in Iraq and the CIA agent who tries to unmask him, beats Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Mad Men, and Game of Thrones to win the 64th Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series.
Homeland got five other major awards:
- Outstanding Lead Actress for Claire Danes
- Outstanding Lead Actor for Damian Lewis
- Outstanding Writing
- Outstanding Casting
- Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series
I have seen Homeland, Downton Abbey, and Game of Thrones but I haven’t seen the other three nominees so I could not really compare. But I’m not sure Homeland, said to be President Barack Obama’s favorite tv series, would beat Game of Thrones in my book.
My not-so-happy discovery: I didn’t realize until now that they have dropped “A” in A Game of Thrones for tv. I am not sure what the rationale for that was, but I presume they have conducted focus group discussions and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on surveys and feasibility studies before discarding the article “A”. I could only imagine how much arm-wrestling happened before George R.R. Martin acceded to HBO’s demand.
I could understand why the majority of the Emmy voters would prefer a very current psychological thriller about terrorism, Al Qaeda, Iraq, the CIA, and a flawed American hero over an epic medieval fantasy about the power struggles of seven noble kingdoms in a mythical land with multifaceted characters.
Okay, I couldn’t.
But that is not to say that Homeland is not good.
For one, there’s Mandy Patinkin. And his beard.
I loved him in Criminal Minds. But I guess he had to grow that nest on his jaw so we won’t mistake his character in Homeland for Jason Gideon. Because as we all know, it is very difficult to interchange Jason Gideon and Saul Berenson. One is a brilliant and revered head in a specialized unit in the FBI, and the other is a brilliant and revered head in a specialized unit in the CIA. The beard serves a very important distinguishing device, so we won’t get confused.
And Claire Danes! She is brilliant as a drug-addicted, work-addicted, mentally unstable CIA agent. Her acting is raw. I don’t even know how to explain that but there is no other word to describe the in-the-gut performance she delivers in this series.
And then there’s Damian Lewis, a British actor who once worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, playing an American with perfect American accent. You know, like House.
Homeland proves that there is no better actor to portray an American POW than one of those “pesky Brits.” They have the Outstanding Casting and Outstanding Actor Emmys to prove it.
Hearing him speak after winning, I am more convinced that a British accent adds gravitas. That, and this quote: “I don’t really believe in judging art, but I thought I’d show up just in case.”