'Homeland' returns, 'Survivor's Remorse' and 'Mulaney' premiere

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Claire Danes (here with Rupert Friend) gives new shadings to her Carrie Mathison character this season, but the world - her world - is still a dangerous place.

* HOMELAND. 9 p.m. Sunday, Showtime.

* SURVIVOR'S REMORSE. 9 p.m. tomorrow, Starz.

* MULANEY. 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Fox 29.

 

REMEMBER what Carrie Mathison was like before Sgt. Nicholas Brody entered her life?

You probably don't, even if you've never missed an episode of Showtime's "Homeland," which returns for its fourth season on Sunday with a Carrie (Claire Danes) we've never really seen before, or at least one who's not necessarily the most screwed-up person in every room she enters.

We know, or at least we've been told, that she was once a talented field operative for the CIA, and this season we'll get to see more than glimpses of that, as the two-hour premiere puts her back to work.

But what about the baby?

You'll know all soon enough. All I'm saying is that it won't be a total surprise if Carrie's Mother's Day cards get lost in the mail in the years to come.

Danes may be doing her bravest work yet as a woman making choices that she doesn't even consider choices.

Drones, and the U.S.'s use of targeting bombing, remain a story focus for "Homeland," which will be exploring some of the consequences of our Mideast policy.

Mandy Patinkin returns (be patient!) and Rupert Friend's role is expanding in interesting ways, but this is Carrie's show.

You'll still need to suspend disbelief to accept her as someone the CIA could trust again, much less as anonymous enough for clandestine work. But if you can make the leap, it looks as if the post-Brody world still has stories worth telling.

 

'Survivor's Remorse'

You may recall reading about a LeBron James-produced comedy about a basketball star who grew up in North Philly.

A funny thing happened on the way to tomorrow's Starz debut of "Survivor's Remorse": The character's hometown's now Boston, and he's playing ball in Atlanta.

No grudges here.

Jessie T. Usher stars as Cam Calloway, whose rise to fame and fortune leaves him vulnerable to all kinds of temptation, including the urge to help everyone he left behind in the old neighborhood.

First in line is his family.

RonReaco Lee plays Cam's business-savvy cousin, Reggie, who's trying to teach Cam to delay gratification - his own and everyone else's.

Reggie's also trying to keep his born-to-wealth wife, Missy (Teyonah Parris), happy in the backwater she apparently believes Atlanta to be.

Cam's older sister (Erica Ash), known as "M-Chuck," is trying to find her place in her brother's new world, while their Uncle Julius (Mike Epps) has already located his, and is making himself comfortable.

Tichina Arnold ("Everbody Hates Chris") shines as Cam's irrepressible mother, Cassie.

Mike O'Malley ("Glee"), who's also developing a series for NBC to star Bill Cosby, has written a remarkably prescient show whose first four episodes manage to touch on some current hot topics. Strictly for adults - nudity, language, you name it, "Survivor's Remorse" has it - the show's sometimes only a comedy in that things work out by the end of each episode that in a drama might linger.

Usher brings a sweetness to Cam that cuts through some of the cynicism around him. His character's far from perfect, but there are times when he seems a little too good to be true, or at least a little too good to be truly funny.

 

'Mulaney' on Fox

Maybe it's just that he looks as if he graduated from Georgetown a few months ago, but someone must be worried that standup comedian and former "Saturday Night Live" writer John Mulaney, who's a baby-faced 32, isn't quirky enough for his own sitcom.

So Sunday's premiere of the semi-autobiographical "Mulaney," which is produced by "SNL" honcho Lorne Michaels, finds Mulaney surrounded by quirk, some of it good - Martin Short as his boss, Nasim Pedrad as one of his roommates - and some of it just annoying - including, but not limited to, Elliott Gould's over-the-top-and-then-some performance as Mulaney's gay neighbor.

I like Mulaney himself enough to want to see more, but it wouldn't be the worst thing if he were to take his act to a building where he could screen visitors.

 


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