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(Courtesy photo) Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in "Homeland."
Pierce: ‘Homeland,’ ‘Revenge,’ ‘Wife’ are fantastic TV

By Scott D. Pierce

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Oct 10 2012 02:42 pm • Last Updated Jan 14 2013 11:32 pm

People are always asking me what my favorite TV show is. It’s a natural question, since I do write about television for a living.

But it’s a question I sort of hate. I like a lot of very disparate TV shows — comedies, dramas, reality, sports, news, talk — and it’s pretty much impossible to choose just one.

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These days, however, I’m tempted to mention three shows because I can’t wait to see what happens next on any of them. Which, to me, is the highest praise I can give to a TV series.

Oddly enough, they all air Sundays at 8 p.m. — "The Good Wife" on CBS/Channel 2; "Revenge" on ABC/Channel 4; and "Homeland" on Showtime. (Well, Showtime on DirecTV. It airs at 10 p.m. on Comcast.)

All three are hourlong dramas. All feature strong, female leads. And they couldn’t be more different from one another.

"The Good Wife" is one of the most masterful blends of parallel stories — work and home — in TV history. Alicia Florek (Julianna Margulies) had to go back to work as a lawyer when her politician husband, Peter (Christopher Noth), got caught in a sex scandal and sent to prison.

He was freed, but their relationship has been, um, problematic. And fascinating. Equally fascinating are the cases Alicia is involved in each week and the events behind the scenes at the law firm where she works.

CBS sent out episodes 1-3 of the current season several weeks ago, and I couldn’t watch them fast enough. Episode 3 airs Sunday, and it’s great. Can’t wait to see more.

ABC, on the other hand, only previewed the first couple of acts of the Season 2 premiere of "Revenge." But I couldn’t resist.

This tale of Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) infiltrating the world of the fabulously rich and pampered to exact revenge on the people responsible for framing and murdering her father is delicious fun.

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Don’t tell anyone, but when the title card appears in each episode, we raise our fists and shout "Revenge!" at my house.

This is a really smart soap opera. That may sound like an oxymoron, but "Revenge" is clever enough to have fun with it. It’s astonishing to see how well it walks a tightrope without falling into pure camp.

It’s teetering at times, but manages to maintain balance.

And "Homeland" is doing in Season 2 what I feared was impossible — living up to the quality of Season 1.

Claire Danes’ portrayal of ex-CIA operative Carrie Mathieson — obsessed, damaged and destroyed by events of Season 1 — is mesmerizing. As is Damian Lewis’ portrayal of a Marine-turned-congressman who’s been turned by the terrorists.

These are complicated characters who are completely convincing and engaging.

And these are three shows so good I almost can’t wait for one to be over so I can watch the next episode. Almost.

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Agree? Disagree? Send comments to pierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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