Showtime renews ‘Homeland’ & ‘The Affair’

Showtime has renewed both of its current Sunday dramas, “Homeland” and “The Affair,” for new seasons.

Both shows will be back in 2015, “Homeland” with another 12-episode season, and “The Affair” with 10.

I’ve been reviewing “The Affair” intermittently (here’s my take on last night’s episode), and mostly liking what I’ve seen, even if the affair itself is probably the least interesting part of the show. “Affair” co-creator Sarah Treem has said she has a multi-year plan for the show, and the police interview framing device suggests there’s more story to tell beyond this one summer in Montauk. So we’ll see how that goes.

As for “Homeland,” I haven’t written about it since this season’s third episode, but I’ve been watching – primarily out of habit – and was sorely tempted to do a post on the wackiness of last night’s episode. This renewal news gives me an excuse to do a review in miniature, with spoilers up just as soon as I completely undermine my own ambassador…

In some ways, Gansa and company have done a solid job of rebooting the show without Brody, dealing with Carrie as station chief in Kabul and then Islamabad, turning Aayan into an asset, etc. There have been divisive scenes like the bathtub incident in episode 2, and ill-conceived ideas like Quinn randomly being in love with Carrie, and also flat-out idiot plot things like Saul not having security with him at the airport (and being dumb enough to go into the bathroom alone). But there are times when “Homeland” does feel like a viable ongoing show – or, at least, more viable than it did in the later Brody seasons.

But doing an episode that plays up Carrie’s mental health issues – even if she has been unwittingly drugged by the ambassador’s husband, rather than another incident where she goes off her meds – was probably not the wisest idea, even if Carl Franklin and the production team did a good job of conveying the effect the hallucinogens were having on Carrie. And then…

… then there was Brody.

I was 99 percent sure he was yet another hallucination, but it’s a measure of some of the stupid stuff done in previous seasons that I allowed for even the 1 percent possibility that his death had been staged, he had somehow been traded from to the Pakistani government, and that we were going to be doomed to several more seasons of their tragic love story.

Fortunately, that wasn’t the case, but the episode as a whole was more weird than good. The most impressive thing in it came before the drugs really kicked in, when Carrie made the argument that she should have been allowed to order the drone strike in the previous episode, because Saul was already a dead man and this was their best shot at the target. (The scene at the time painted her as a grief-stricken madwoman, in one of the few times I can remember “Homeland” wanting me to disagree with Carrie when I instead thought she was the rightest person in the room.)

What does everybody else think – of the renewals, and of the recent developments on “Homeland”?