Sunday, November 4, 2018

Pilot Review: Homecoming

Homecoming (Amazon)
Premiered November 2

Julia Roberts doing TV is big news – she’s the latest in a lengthy series of actors and actresses known for being movie stars giving it a shot on the small screen. She also has a December movie, “Ben is Back,” coming out that might garner her some Oscar buzz. Roberts is just one of the noteworthy names affiliated with this project. As a big fan of “Mr. Robot,” a show that shouldn’t have been victim of such a downturn in critical enthusiasm after its first season and is slated to end after its fourth next year, I’m extremely interested in what creator Sam Esmail does next. There are parts of this show, more than just the introductory font, that feel so much like that show, though the vibe here is considerably more small-scale. There’s a foreboding feeling of dread as we see Heidi a few years into the future working as a waitress and being interrogated by the investigator played by Shea Whigham, a fantastic supporting player from “Boardwalk Empire” and much more. It’s no surprise that Bobby Cannavale, a recent and fantastic addition to “Mr. Robot,” is portraying Colin, the magnanimous mind behind Homecoming, and we also have Jeremy Allen White from “Shameless” as one of the soldiers, Alex Karpovsky from “Girls” as the interview simulator, and Dermot Mulroney as the boyfriend who just didn’t get that Heidi had no interest whatsoever in moving their relationship forward. Roberts seems very well-cast, and though I don’t know quite yet what to make of this odd half-hour drama, I’m interested enough for a second round.

How will it work as a series? It’s always a gamble to have glimpses of the future since we know to a degree how things are going to turn out, but I think that the structure of this show is very nuanced and plotted out, meaning that we’re going to follow Heidi down the rabbit hole as things begin to unravel. It’s sure to be an energizing and haunting trip.
How long will it last? The reviews are strong, which is something that’s far for guaranteed both for the many streaming shows that premiere these days and for movie star TV efforts. Most crucially, Amazon already opted to renew this show for a second season last month. That’s rarely good news for most shows since the ratings/viewer numbers can’t hope to hold up, but it worked well enough for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” I’ll predict the same here, with three seasons airing in total.

Pilot grade: B

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