On Sunday, September 30, Showtime will present the start of the new seasons of Homeland and Dexter. These two shows are probably the most anticipated returns of the year. Homeland gets attention because it won multiple Emmy awards and also ended last season with a storyline full of tension and suspense, as well as authenticity. Dexter, on the other hand, ended its season with our favorite serial killer being discovered by his sister plying his trade. Oops!
With Homeland we got so involved in the life of Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) last year that it was gut-wrenching to leave her in pieces as her world exploded. She was so certain that returning war hero Nick Brody (Damian Lewis) was an enemy agent with a treacherous and deadly agenda. When this was proven to be unfounded she was released by the CIA and sent off to a mental hospital for treatment.
When the new season opens Carrie is in a good place. She is living at home, has a teaching position and cooks wonderfully healthy meals for her father and sister. But then the phone rings and it is her old boss and mentor Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) asking her to come back for one quick job. Part of her wants to say yes but part of her also fears she will lose the progress she has made in keeping her sanity.
And what of Nick? His daughter knows he is a Muslim. How can that be handled? And what is to become of his burgeoning political career? Are there higher heights to scale? Answers to these questions are quickly answered as the new season of Homeland takes off to a roaring and rousing start.
The first few episodes of the new season are so stunning in their impact that audiences will find themselves reliving different scenes and scenarios over and over and over. Plus Danes and Lewis once again show why they are considered the best of the best as TV actors.
Dexter doesn't have as much of the "this could be real" feel to it as Homeland but it is still compelling television. Michael C. Hall has invaded Dexter's skin and made him the murderer we all love. Dexter does some really bad things but at least he does them to some really bad people.
At the end of last season Dexter's sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) walked in on a scene where Dexter was just plunging a knife into the chest of Travis Marshall (Colin Hanks). That is exactly where Season 7 begins, and it is the place where Dexter's worst nightmare comes true. How can he and Debra live in the same world where she knows his horrible secret? Will Deb have to die?
The first episode shows you where a new path might take both of these people. Or it might be that Dexter might have to flee the scene of his crimes and leave Miami. Answers are given but the thought that this plot will play out over the next two years in some way is daunting. The show has been renewed for two more years so something logical is going to have to happen.
The relationship between Dexter and Debra is certainly put to the test, and it is helpful that both Hall and Carpenter are up to the acting efforts required. You might not agree with how things are handled but it will hold your interest.
Make sure you are there when both these shows kick off their new seasons. If you can only follow one show make it "Homeland." It is definitely the better of the two. Still they are both quality television.
Dexter premieres Sunday, September 30 at 9PM on Showtime, followed at 10PM by Homeland.