January 12, 2013 4:08pm PT by Lacey Rose
Showtime Chief Defends 'Homeland's' Second Season
Showtime’s entertainment chief David Nevins has heard your gripes.
The premium cable exec acknowledged Saturday that he has read nearly everything that has been written about Homeland’s arguably uneven second season. He’s aware that some were disappointed by the direction the Emmy-winning drama took but was quick to argue that the fact that people are as deeply engaged as they are is a good thing for the health of the show. “You want to be the topic of conversation,” he said during his time before the Television Critics Association, adding that he was pleased to see that chatter ended the season on an “overwhelmingly positive” note.
Personally, Nevins told the roomful of reporters that he “really liked” the CIA drama's second season, noting that it “started really strong and it ended really strong.” And it would seem his viewers agreed: Homeland continued to shatter Showtime ratings records in its final airings, with the season finale luring more than 7.5 million viewers across multiple platforms. It is a front-runner to take home the best drama series win at Sunday’s Golden Globes, with Damian Lewis, Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin nominated in the major actor categories.
Still, Nevins acknowledged that some of the criticism has been fair -- he stopped short of providing details -- but argued that the critics have a tendency to get too wrapped up in the series' minutiae. “Occasionally I agree, and occasionally I'm like, 'You're taking it too literally, and you're missing the ultimate intent, which is about the characters,' ” he told a smaller group following the panel. To hear him tell it, the first two seasons were fundamentally about the relationship between Brody (Lewis) and Carrie (Danes). In making his case, Nevins quoted a television critic who recently wrote that “nitpicking for its own sake is a pernicious habit.” Suspension of disbelief, he added, is the “scaffolding that are storytelling is based on.”
As for what’s next for the celebrated drama, he stayed decidedly mum on whether Lewis will return as a series regular for the show's third season. “How fun would it be if I gave you any of those spoilers?” he quipped, noting that so many of the series’ plot lines are “vigorously debated.” When pressed, he suggested if at the end of one of those debates it made sense to have Lewis move on story-wise, he conceivably could let it happen. (Nevins has been a driving force in keeping Lewis’ character alive up until now.)
"Homeland ... could go in a lot of different directions, and it’s got a really long life," he added, reaffirming his confidence in the series' talent, in front of and behind the camera. "Alex [Gansa] and Howard [Gordon] made the decision to end this season with a fairly clear setup for season three, which is the opposite of how they ended season one," he continued, noting that they're still in the very early stages of mapping out season three, which is set to return Sept. 29. "Some things I know, and there's a lot that hasn't been shared with me. And I'm excited to find out."
Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose