Not so long ago, if you weren’t home to catch a TV episode when it aired and forgot to stick a tape in your impossible-to-program VCR, you’d have to wait until it came out on video to watch it. One of the great things about being a television fan in 2011 is that we’re no longer slaves to primetime. Now, every week seems to bring a new way to see our favorite shows, from DVR to on-demand to Netflix to Hulu to HBO Go to iTunes — if only we had the time to take it all in. Thankfully, the holiday break brings us a much-needed opportunity to catch up: Between the extra days off, the tedium of traveling and/or visiting family, and most shows’ seasonal hiatus, we’re in a good place to start watching the programs that have eluded us. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up a few of the fall’s best new series for your marathon-viewing pleasure.
Although some critics are chafing over the season finale, most would agree that Homeland is one of the very best shows of this fall’s bunch. In a series about national security that George W. Bush haters will actually be able to stomach (you know, unlike 24), Claire Danes stars as Carrie Mathison, a CIA operative who pops anti-psychotics and obsessively tracks a rescued prisoner of war who she believes is working for al-Qaida. Both Carrie and the POW, Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), are fantastically complex characters, making Homeland something very rare indeed: a psychological thriller with heart.