Even though I am currently concentrating on filmmaking and writing, and thou I love and admire a good film, my true love is television. The television serial has always held a fascination for me. The building of a story, characters, themes, and subplots, over a period of weeks or months.
If the serial has a good central character/hero/heroine, you watch, aching as they make both good and bad decisions. That is what great television does; it makes you feel like you know the people you are watching. You talk about them at work or with friends. Even post major plot surprises on Facebook. Television is, even though we know it is not real, personal.
Last night I watched Homeland. The ever-watchable Clare Danes, even playing the less than sympathetic Carrie, was brilliant. As was Mandy Patinkin as likable, but singleminded Saul.
It was, in its third season, one of the better episodes. In ‘Still Positive’ an episode credited to Alexander Cary, the Brody family subplot was what raised this episode to brilliance.
Morgan Saylor, who plays the surly teenage daughter, Dana, was fantastic. The episode, the writing, perfectly captured the teenage girl becoming a woman in one scene.
Dana has a conversation with her mother, Jessica – the easy on the eye Morena Baccarin – telling her she wants to change her name, the burden of baring her father’s tainted name and, by association, reputation, too much for her.
In a look, Jessica conveyed understanding. This was not the playing up of a silly little girl. She was not just acting up. Dana had been disappointed, like so many women before her, by men. By her father, who she wanted so badly to believe, then by her first love, Leo. Jessica understood. She helped her daughter change her name. Brilliant, emotive, riveting, concise television. Exactly the sort of work I want to produce one day. Everyday.