If Sunday’s Emmy Awards were any indication, Homeland (10 p.m. Sunday, Showtime) should be at the top of any savvy channel surfer’s watchlist. The political thriller nabbed awards in the drama category for outstanding series, writing, lead actor (Damian Lewis) and lead actress (Claire Danes) — just in time for this week’s second season premiere.
At its core a psychological drama, Homeland kept the audience guessing from week to week as Danes’ C.I.A. officer Carrie Mathison investigated U.S. Marine Nicholas Brody (Lewis), a recently rescued prisoner of war in Iraq (who was, until that point, presumed dead). Carrie has intelligence stating a U.S. POW captured by Al-Qaeda had been turned, and she believes Brody’s the man. Throughout the inaugural season, we saw an increasingly odd relationship develop between the two of them, leaving us wondering not only whether this poster boy for patriotism could be the enemy, but just how plausible it would be, over years, to develop an extreme case of Stockholm syndrome if one’s captors became like family. If “terrorists” took better care of you than your own country, which side would you choose? The implications are pretty disturbing.
We watched Carrie, desperately trying to hide a private health battle, try to do what’s right (while going about it all wrong) as Brody stayed in a positive light, hiding or justifying any darkness he might put forth.
In Sunday’s premiere, Brody is touted the “future of the party” as the vice president offers him a major political opportunity. Carrie is still recovering from the mind-sweeping procedure she underwent in last year’s finale as Saul (great support from Mandy Patinkin — holla!) gets involved in espionage in Beirut.
Modern Family (Season Premiere, 9 p.m., ABC) – Gloria’s pregnancy will be quite the birthday surprise for Jay (who just wants to be left alone for the day), if she can just find the way to tell him.
Top Chef Masters (Season Finale, 10 p.m., Bravo) – Chris Cosentino and Kerry Heffernan go head to head for the title.
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (Season Finale, 10 p.m., TLC) – As the big pageant approaches, Chickadee goes into labor.
South Park (Midseason Premiere, 10 p.m., Comedy Central) – Randy’s concern about football-related injuries sparks popularity of a new sport that works the sarcasm muscles.
THURSDAY SEPT. 27
Project Runway (9 p.m., Lifetime) – The designers must create tiny outfits for toddlers. Hilary Duff appears as a guest judge (not as one of the child models).
The Office (9 p.m., NBC) – Remember Pam’s ex, Roy? He’s back and The Halperts are in attendance at his wedding. Awkward.
Parks and Recreation (9:30 p.m., NBC) – Leslie proposes a soda tax to combat obesity in Pawnee while Andy tries to get in shape for his police academy tests.
Louie (Season Finale, 10:30 p.m., FX) – Louie copes with the holidays in this season three closer.
FRIDAY SEPT. 28
Fashion Police (10 p.m., E!) – Fashion hits and misses from The Emmys.
SUNDAY SEPT. 30
Dexter (Season Premiere, 9 p.m., Showtime) – Deb reacts to finding Dex in the act. Will this squash the newly discovered romantic feelings she has for her brother? Ew.
Boardwalk Empire (9 p.m., HBO) – Nucky reluctantly joins his wife at church to be honored by the bishop; Margaret takes her idea for a women’s clinic to the next level; more from Van Alden and Richard.
MONDAY OCT. 1
How I Met Your Mother (8 p.m., CBS) – Barney’s detailed prenuptial agreement leads the others to reevaluate their own relationship rules.
Gallery Girls (Season Finale, 10 p.m., Bravo) – Hipster Betty Boop (otherwise known as Chantal) skips off to Paris with her man, leaving Claudia on the brink of a financial and emotional breakdown. The rest of the ladies face career challenges.
TUESDAY OCT. 2
Sons of Anarchy (10 p.m., FX) – After last week’s shocking death, a new SOA enemy rises.
CONTACT JAC KERN: email@example.com or @jackern on Twitter