Binge Guide

Everything You Need to Know Before You Binge-Watch Homeland

by | September 28, 2015 | Comments

With Showtime’s monster hit Homeland coming back for its much-anticipated fifth season this weekend, we know some of you still need to catch up. With that in mind, here’s a handy-dandy guide to help you in your effort to binge the past four seasons in anticipation for Sunday’s premiere, should you choose to attempt such an undertaking.


What’s the premise? A bipolar CIA officer determined to bring down a notorious terrorist suspects a returning war hero has been compromised.  As her investigation progresses, it takes a toll on her personal life and her career, putting the agency, her loved ones, and herself at considerable risk.

What’s it like? If the action in Homeland feels familiar, that’s because one of its creators, Howard Gordon, previously worked on 24. Gordon co-developed this government thriller with Alex Gansa, whose credits include The X-Files and the 1980s version of Beauty and the Beast. Take the political intrigue and action of 24, add the strong-yet-flawed female lead of Nurse Jackie, and shake well.

Where can I see it? Season five begins this Sunday, October 4 at 9:00 p.m. on Showtime. The next day, episodes are available on demand and on Showtime Anytime. Previous seasons are on Vudu, Amazon Instant Video, and iTunes, as well as DVD, Blu-Ray, and Showtime Anytime.

How long will it take? All four seasons consist of twelve episodes each, with a grand total of 48 episodes clocking in at about an hour apiece. In other words, if you’ve never seen an episode, there’s probably not a good chance you’ll be caught up by Sunday. But if you’re willing to give it a good three weeks to a month, you should be back on track before the midpoint of season five.

What do the critics think? The first four seasons are all Certified Fresh, with season one coming in at a perfect 100 percent, followed by season two at 97 percent, three at 84 percent, and four at 82 percent on the Tomatometer. Most of the critics are hooked: Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal said, “Once you watch the first episode, it’s going to be hard standing the wait for the next,” while Mike Hale of the New York Times wrote in his season two review that “the combination of adult intelligence and crisp action is still pretty much unmatched on American television.”

Why should I watch this? If ever there was a series that consistently left you with your mouth agape in shock at the end — and sometimes, even in the middle — of each episode, this is it. The season one finale will leave you with a cliffhanger so huge that it’ll feel like Christmas morning to have season two readily available to watch. And for all of you My So-Called Life fans, if you felt Angela Chase disappeared from your screen much too soon 20 years ago, you’ll want to tune in to watch Claire Danes‘s Emmy-winning performance as Carrie Mathison.

What’s my next step? Homeland is based on the Israeli series Hatufim by Gideon Raff, whose inspiration came from moving back to Israel after living in Los Angeles for eight years. “Home” looked and felt different than he remembered, and he harnessed that sense of general apprehension to write a sharp government thriller. Although Raff didn’t draw from any specific films, if you enjoy political thrillers, you may also like State of Play, Body of Lies, Zero Dark Thirty, and Fair Game.

What do you like about Homeland? How would you explain it to a newbie? Any big predictions for season five? Get in on the conversation here.

  • Justin Medrano

    “What do you like about Homeland? How would you explain it to a newbie? Any big predictions for season four? Get in on the conversation here.”
    I think you mean season five.

    • RoyBaty

      Watching the final episode of season 1 (on DVD) today. Not sure I will watch any more, getting sick of seeing this guy Brody get away and Carrie made to look like a fool. From what I can tell Brody doesn’t get caught for a while if at all. Not sure I can sit thru more episodes of this deceitful muslim b@stard.

      • Brent

        Brody is a complex character for whom you’ll feel different emotionally by his final scene in season 3 (and his reappearance in season 5). In between lies a range of emotions between rooting for him, pitying him and questioning your own actions in his shoes as you come understand him. Very often in media characters quite miraculously, but unrealistically, resist, survive and are unbroken by torture, depravation and chemical manipulation. Carrie (and Quinn, later) become damaged or rather further damaged by events transpiring over the course of the next four seasons. As I write, having recently binge watched all five seasons, I am quite frustrated in my wait for season six. Also it was amazing to what was written and produced before real life events transpired — how they knew/guessed and the excellent forum in which to examine ourselves.

        • RoyBaty

          Finished all 5 seasons and I can say I was not rooting or pitying Brody or questioning myself. He converted to an evil cult and even with all he went through, should not have done what he did. He does redeem himself in season 3, very well however.
          I thought the first 3 seasons were terrific, but got tired of Carrie’s “issues” and even Saul’s limp wristed politically correct performance seeking a man of peace in Iran (season 4 and 5). Still it was my favorite show so far besides Game of Thrones.

Tag Cloud

spinoff disaster Sci-Fi Musical zero dark thirty GIFs Ovation technology biography Rocky Pixar natural history Mary Poppins Returns Animation Showtime historical drama Stephen King political drama kids Winners Year in Review TV Land Adult Swim supernatural VICE GoT Holidays TV E3 A&E Black Mirror Infographic crime drama unscripted latino TCM robots golden globes anime Columbia Pictures 21st Century Fox DC streaming service GLAAD Mary Tyler Moore Polls and Games spy thriller Calendar crossover Apple talk show Western Trophy Talk Tumblr See It Skip It psycho children's TV festivals game show New York Comic Con adventure sitcom doctor who Film Festival 24 frames Music Countdown Spike cinemax Sony Pictures Mystery mockumentary Nickelodeon Mindy Kaling Emmys Elton John President AMC First Look Spring TV 45 TNT Christmas Nat Geo dramedy Ellie Kemper Cannes docudrama Hulu movies National Geographic zombie romance based on movie X-Men Anna Paquin Freeform Reality Competition Paramount Cosplay richard e. Grant cults Marathons Grammys RT History Chernobyl harry potter nature 2018 CBS All Access Ghostbusters Oscars Dark Horse Comics San Diego Comic-Con justice league Spectrum Originals quibi Country dceu American Society of Cinematographers TIFF Heroines ESPN PaleyFest Logo Extras LGBTQ Britbox SDCC spain SundanceTV strong female leads comic Writers Guild of America cops miniseries RT21 Esquire Awards 2019 Amazon politics Schedule Creative Arts Emmys History NYCC Video Games Comic Book true crime dragons DirecTV Sundance police drama Martial Arts TCA 2017 Epix Shondaland Food Network Teen south america Song of Ice and Fire APB ABC Family science fiction Netflix CW Seed Drama DC Universe Masterpiece Pet Sematary blaxploitation CNN sports Photos First Reviews travel ratings Fall TV Disney boxoffice Podcast NBC singing competition WarnerMedia CMT crime Red Carpet Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 007 Shudder revenge social media witnail medical drama Star Wars Paramount Network Biopics HBO Lucasfilm TBS MTV LGBT Vudu TCA TruTV cooking Starz Toys hispanic Nominations war animated OWN Set visit 2015 series 2017 ghosts comiccon 2016 YouTube Red Rock Universal Cartoon Network The Witch composers Pride Month Star Trek Tarantino El Rey Election ABC green book The Arrangement USA Lifetime sequel Tomatazos finale Trailer Crackle Valentine's Day theme song Television Academy TLC spanish language stand-up comedy Thanksgiving transformers Disney Channel Amazon Prime Premiere Dates USA Network MSNBC cats Arrowverse binge Captain marvel Musicals Bravo discovery Emmy Nominations facebook Fox News Superheroes MCU teaser streaming 71st Emmy Awards Rom-Com Syfy dc Summer Superheroe adaptation CBS Warner Bros. Binge Guide Acorn TV Comedy Central Box Office YouTube Premium Pirates crime thriller diversity hist Opinion Rocketman Quiz spider-man Disney streaming service Character Guide IFC Films Sundance Now Film Mary poppins elevated horror Peacock The CW Reality Comics on TV Awards Tour Women's History Month period drama Walt Disney Pictures Lionsgate VH1 WGN YA E! Super Bowl BBC book HBO Max DC Comics video Pop Horror Best and Worst Marvel Trivia Winter TV FXX Mudbound game of thrones BET DGA casting serial killer aliens 20th Century Fox tv talk Fantasy toy story mutant FOX PBS Comedy Amazon Prime Video IFC Action Watching Series vampires space zombies FX Kids & Family thriller what to watch ITV Chilling Adventures of Sabrina SXSW Interview award winner television anthology cars BBC America jamie lee curtis Brie Larson Family Sneak Peek foreign Certified Fresh psychological thriller