2. Homeland (Showtime)
Stars: Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Morena Baccarin, Mandy Patinkin, David Harewood, Morgan Saylor, Jackson Pace, Navid Negahban, David Marciano, Jamey Sheridan
Premiere date: September 30
Last fall, Showtime's topical drama series Homeland debuted with one of the most impressive first seasons we've seen on television in years; the TV community was definitely blindsided. Led by a pair of electric performances from Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, the white-knuckle thriller program introduced viewers to two enormously fascinating characters: Carrie Mathison (Danes), a paranoid CIA operative who's not all there psychologically, and Nicholas Brody, a POW hiding a dark past and whom Carrie suspects is in bed with terrorists. Over 12 masterfully paced and altogether riveting episodes, Homeland kept viewers enthralled with its mental cat-and-mouse games.
After a wonderfully exciting first season finale, the stakes are through the roof as season two gets ready to begin at the end of the month. Carrie's an electroconvulsive therapy case, and Brody, whose intentions are even more threatening than one might've previously thought, is holding down a powerful government position; this year, the terror is much closer to home. And we couldn't be more amped.