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I have been a huge fan of Claire Danes since My So-Called Life, the greatest TV show in history about a chick (close second: Felicity, up until the point where she cut her hair. Third: Double Trouble, starring Peggy Bundy’s twin sisters, if that counts.) That’s why I was so thrilled to learn (like last night – I keep on top of these things) that she was starring in a followup TV series, Homeland.
As far as I can tell via streaming the first four episodes from pirate websites last night till 3 a.m., Homeland is a direct sequel to My So-Called Life after a 15+ year gap. The premise of Homeland is that Angela Chase (Danes), having graduated from Liberty High in Three Rivers, Pennsylvania, has grown up, moved to Washington DC, and risen to a promising but shaky-high-wire career as as a CIA officer under the pseudonym ‘Carrie’ something. But make no mistake, she still has the same meepy, mopey, whiny angst she had as a 15-year-old that we all came to love so dearly, infinitely self-centered, acting all ditzy and unpredictable, second-guessing everyone and everything, and crying at inappropriate times.
Angela fans be warned – it’s kind of a tragedy to see how far she’s let herself go – her home is a mess, she has no friends or real personal life, no contact with her parents, she barely eats, she bums antipsychotic pills from her doctor sister (the grown-up Danielle Chase, I assume, though I didn’t check if she’s still played by Lisa Wilhoit). But when you think about it, this decline was all pretty much foreordained back when Angela first dyed her hair red, put on flannel, and started hanging out with Rayanne and Ricky. It’s almost a cautionary tale: ‘hey kids, this is what happens if you rebel and listen to too much Violent Femmes’.
She’s even still (this is so Angela) spending 95% of her waking moments obsessing over some guy – although with Jordan Catalano a distant memory, she’s now set her sights on a returned POW soldier guy played by Lt. Winters from Band of Brothers. Well, you do have to admit he’s a hunk, so can’t blame her there. On the other hand, the lengths she goes to play out this crush (setting up 24-hour surveillance in all the rooms of his house) are becoming kind of creepy.
I haven’t seen enough episodes to get a real sense of where it’s headed (there were some confusing side plots about terrorism or something – was too tired to pay attention), and the soundtrack so far has been a bit spare (no Afghan Whigs, no Juliana Hatfield), but it’s just good to see Angela back in a weekly series again. The only thing I wonder is how Brian Krakow the next-door neighbor kid is doing and whether he still has that unrequited crush on her. I assume so. But surely I’ll find out as the season progresses.
THREE AND A HALF STARS OUT OF FOUR AND A HALF
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