October 08, 2012 12:00 PM

Homeland

Showtime, Sept. 30, 10 p.m. ET/PT |

DRAMA

Season 2 begins with the world in a handbasket, going in the direction opposite heaven. Israel has launched a preemptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, and Marine hero Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) is now a U.S. Representative. Presumably none of the campaign literature mentioned his sideline as a would-be presidential assassin. Brody tells a terrorist contact he’ll no longer actively assist in causing harm. He’s kidding himself, but Brody’s earnest, even naive commitment to what he believes to be the truth is what makes him so strangely compelling. Meanwhile intelligence analyst Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) has left the CIA and recovered from her breakdown, brought on by suspicions of Brody, only to be summoned back to handle an informant. If the first two episodes don’t answer the big question-can it match the conceptually flawless season 1, which just won six Emmys?-the show hasn’t lost its clever agility at building pressure-cooker suspense and then lobbing in a surprise. Like the one that goes boom at the end of episode 2.

Elementary

CBS, Thursdays, 10 p.m. ET/PT |

DRAMA

The Sherlock Holmes character is so dependable, I’m surprised the British detective doesn’t turn up more often on TV, analyzing suspicious personalities on Big Brother or checking for tampered ingredients on Top Chef. In this highly satisfying update, Jonny Lee Miller, peering down his long distinguished nose at clues everyone else overlooks, is a Holmes just out of rehab, relocated to New York City and enlisted as a police consultant. His Watson (Lucy Liu) is an ex-surgeon hired to be his sober companion. The show doesn’t have the clever dazzle of PBS Masterpiece’s Sherlock, but Miller gives Holmes a distinctively real sense of dysfunction. You believe this odd fellow has been sunk by trouble and that he could thrive again in a city rich in crime.

Last Resort

ABC, Thursdays, 8 p.m. ET/PT |

DRAMA

It sounds like a Fantasy Island reboot, but this new series is a bold military thriller, full of countdowns, hardware and macho maneuvers. After nuclear-sub captain Andre Braugher refuses to obey a fishy-sounding command to bomb Pakistan, the U.S. attacks him. He parks the sub near a remote NATO station and, with his missiles as leverage, dares the government to haul him home. The audience is pretty sure the captain is a true patriot-we catch glimpses of trickery in Washington, D.C.-but his pride seems close to megalomania. Braugher can suggest that tripping point without moving a muscle, let alone pirating a sub.

COMMENTS? WRITE TO TOM: tomsreviews@peoplemag.com

You May Like

EDIT POST