Ever since Mad Men debuted on AMC in 2007, the 1960s has been as integral a part of the show as John Hamm's shadowy and conflicted Don Draper. Both because the characters react to what would've been happening in the real world at the time as well as the embrace of the style and swagger of the early '60s — when cocktail hour was as important to business as having a good steno pool. These elements have helped to define the series' look and feel.
Mad Men does perhaps as good a job as any show ever in recreating a very specific period in American history, delving into storylines that don’t try to shy away from the social norms of New York during that time, which would include a lot of smoking and drinking to go along with institutional sexism and racism. The show also impeccably recreates the '60s fashion trends, lending an air of authenticity to what we're watching. (The writers occasionally slip with business phrases that are more '80s than '60s, but why quibble?)
Because it was such a defining decade in the history of the country, the '60s have been used as a backdrop for any number of series over the years. The Playboy Club and Pan Am both tried unsuccessfully to match the feel of Mad Men, and both suffered in comparison lasting for just a season each. So, what other shows besides Mad Men have done a good job of capturing the era of Vietnam, Kennedy, and the Beatles?
The drama set at a Vietnam military medical way-station earned a Best Drama Golden Globe and Emmys for acting for Dana Delany and Marg Helgenberger. While another series at roughly the same time — Tour of Duty — was covering the combat aspect of the Vietnam War, China Beach excelled at showing the human side of the war, as characters mourned those that were lost and reacted to news that they received from back in the States. The show attempted to comment on how the war affected more than just the people fighting it, and even occasionally showed real interviews with people who had been at the real China Beach.
The Wonder Years
There might have been no greater change during the '60s than the dynamic within suburban families, and The Wonder Years showcased that. While at heart it was just a family sitcom with panache for melodrama, it did a wonderful job of both showing the frustration of the parents over the changing times and the confusion mixed with optimism of the children. Fred Savage's Kevin dealt with normal early teen issues, but one of his friends (Danica McKellar's Winnie) had a brother who was killed in Vietnam, and his sister (Olivia d'Abo) was more interested in protesting the war than in listening to their parents. The show moved into the '70s as it went along, but the first couple of seasons showed a slice of '60s suburbia that no one else has quite captured before or since.
Laverne and Shirley/Happy Days
Both sitcoms began in the late '50s before migrating into the '60s (Happy Days by the sixth season and Laverne and Shirley by its third… although, really, each frequently had trouble deciding which decade they were in at any given time). Garry Marshall's pair of sitcoms never pretended to be an actual historical representation of the times that they were set in, but both managed to capture the vibe that American Graffiti —set in 1962 — had previously… namely in the optimism of young adults at the beginning of Kennedy's America. Neither show was trying to do much more than make people laugh, but thanks to the music that was employed throughout the runs of both shows they each managed to do it just the same. Of course, if you want us to try and explain why Scott Baio's Chachi had a very '70s blown-dried and feathered haircut for much of Happy Days' '60s years… well, you've got us there.
The following article contains massive spoilers (and not just like, "Estes acts like a d-bag" spoilers) about the Season 2 finale of Homeland.
In 2011, United States Marine Nicholas Brody was rescued from an underground terrorist base in Afghanistan, after having been captured and held prisoner by the forces of al-Qaeda for eight years. Brody, as he is affectionately called by his wife and friends, was returned home to America, where he would reunite with his family, earn notoriety as a nationwide hero, and accelerate professionally to the level of congressman and vice presidential hopeful. But there was a side to Brody that the world didn't see, even with the influx of reporters and public figures storming his home from every corner of the Virginia countryside. What CIA Agent Carrie Mathison, her associates Saul Berenson, freelance surveillance experts Virgil and Max, and the highly addicted Homeland audience began to suspect: is this dude a terrorist? Long story short, yes. At least, he was.
Sunday night brought the second season of the Showtime series to a close, also seeming to put a lid on all of our distrusts regarding Brody. The episode concluded with a gigantic explosion, which took the lives of dozens of attendees of Vice President Walden's funeral, including his wife and teenage son, and CIA Director of Counterterrorism David Estes. Absent from the event, quite conveniently, are Carrie Mathison and Nicholas Brody, who sneaked away to have a romantic foray just in time to avoid the wrath of the bomb... which was detonated from within Brody's car.
If you didn't catch the episode, the above synopsis will probably suggest with near certainty that Brody was responsible for the act of terrorism (which was followed by a television broadcast of an al-Qaeda message proclaiming patronage of the explosion). But Homeland seems to want us to think that our pursed-lipped hero is in fact innocent. The final moments of the episode had Carrie sending Brody off to the freedom of Canada (where no one will ever find him!), and set our favorite secret agent off on a quest to prove her inscrutably beloved soldier's innocence — such, we assume this to be the course of action for Season 3/the show's Lifetime movie adaptation: My Boyfriend Is Not a Terrorist: The Carrie Mathison Story.
But something seems... missing. We were invited into the world of Homeland on the premise of a huge-scale whodunit. For the majority of Season 1, fans weren't sure what exactly was up with Brody — was he really a terrorist? Was Carrie Mathison, in fact, crazy? And what was lurking beneath Saul Berenson's beard? All mysteries with which we happily engaged. But Season 2 put a lot of this ambiguity to rest, instead allowing us to watch idly as one crazy, adrenal situation after another played out onscreen. And this seems to be the way Season 3 is setting up to introduce its formula.
What we really need from the show, however, is a return to this active-viewing form: the "Is Brody a terrorist?" game that was as fun and engrossing as a round of international Clue. Of course, that's just one opinion. A few members of the Hollywood.com staff chimed in to give their take on directions that would best suit Homeland's third season:"Despite what the showrunners may say, the Season 2 finale still had me doubting Brody's intentions as well as his feelings for Carrie. Season 3 needs to get rid of this question mark once and for all by telling us definitively whether Brody is a good guy or a bad guy. Because this flip-flopping business is exhausting. Also, the 'Carrie is alone and crazy' card is so thoroughly played out, in order to hold my interest Season 3 needs to give Carrie a team. Let's see a Brody Berenson Mathison Quinn coalition (a la Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce). And bring back Galvez!" - Abbey Stone
"If Season 3 went back to exploring Carrie's work on the ground floor (especially now that Saul is in charge), not just her trying to cover up for Brody, the show might have a shot at getting back to the fascinating, intelligent show about terrorism that it it was when it started out." - Aly Semigran
"I think that Season 3 of Homeland should mostly be about Dana. She needs to get a new haircut and change her name so that no one knows who she really is. I think we should see her go to college and meet a nice boy. She has a hard time trusting men, considering that her father is now an exposed terrorist and that her last boyfriend ran over a lady and left her dead body in the street and then he died in a CIA bombing that her father may or may not have orchestrated. But she meets a guy and they fight and break up and then they get back together and she wears a lot of black... Oh, wait, that's what I DON'T want Season 3 to be about." - Brian Moylan
"Homeland would benefit from jumping ahead 100 years into the future. Don't worry — they invented technology to keep Carrie and co. around. So they'll still be trying to figure out if Brody is a terrorist or not, but now they'll have laser guns and teleportation machines." - Matt PatchesWhat are some of your ideas about where the show should go from here?
[Photo Credit: Kent Smith/Showtime]
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The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.