December 11, 2012



With HBO, AMC, TNT, USA, Lifetime, A&E and virtually every other cable network that airs scripted Sunday programming on seasonal hiatus, this Sunday belonged to Showtime.

HOMELAND rose to yet another all-time high in total viewership for its 10PM airing, with 2.4M people watching (the 18-49 number stayed even at 1.0).  While the numbers of affected viewers aren’t comparable to a network show, in its own way this coming Sunday’s Season 2 finale may have the highest stakes of any TV episode since the finale of Lost.  After the events of the past 2 weeks, the previously unassailable Homeland has become violently controversial, as the show has mixed some frankly dumb, sloppy action drama with its usual superb character play.  This week’s hour wasn’t as egregious as the week before, but still–Carrie being the only agent out of dozens to find Abu Nazir’s hidey-hole under the abandoned mill, and Nazir’s stalking in the shadows were the stuff of a routine procedural, not a series at the top of TV’s very high drama pedestal.  Emily Nussbaum at The New Yorker has a theory that all this is setting us up for a whopping twist, and while if true, this would feel like a cheat of major proportions, at least it would be a cheat that felt like it existed in the universe of Homeland and not 24.  One way or another, the legacy of Homeland, as well as its future (is there any sustainable way Brody can remain a continuing character in Season 3?) seem to be on the line.

DEXTER, too, had a great penultimate week at the cable box, rising by a whopping half-million viewers (with both The Walking Dead and Boardwalk Empire removed from competition) to 2.6M–the most people ever to watch the initial airing of an original Showtime series episode–and hitting 1.3 in 18-49s.  There’s been a lot of clutter to Dexter this season, what with gay Russian gangsters, awful fathers of serial killers, untrustworthy strippers and the return to prominence of supporting characters who seemed to have served their purpose already, but things seem to be focusing nicely for the season finale.  The show is encouraging us to believe, as Dexter does, that Hannah tried to murder Deb, and as sad as doing so would make Dexter, there can be little doubt of how he would react to that.  But there’s also a potential twist lurking just barely out of sight, and for some of us, that would be a much more satisfying result, as well as setting the stage for an epic final season next year.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."