With all of this borne in mind, we can understand many viewers' trepidation when it comes to Homeland. With Golden Globe nominations, critics lapping it up and Digital Spy's Tube Talk blog declaring that it was the Best TV Show of 2011, an obvious reaction would be to recoil and retreat from the hype and bluster.
If you were deterred and still haven't watched the pilot, get on 4OD now and correct it immediately. If you did, you'll already understand the frothing adulation that the series has generated from TV writers and fans.
Homeland's premise on the surface is a simple one. Sgt Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) is found in Afghanistan by Delta Force, eight years after going missing in action. He returns home a national hero and a figure of hope, shaking hands with politicians, hosting BBQs and delivering heartwarming speeches about his loyal family.
The only person who is concerned about Brody's return is Claire Danes's CIA officer Carrie Mathison. A anti-psychotic pill-popper, who has a history of sleeping with co-workers and creating unfortunate international incidents, Carrie suspects that there is more to Brody than meets the eye because of a one-line warning she heard when working undercover in Iraq: "An American prisoner of war has been turned".
Partly down to the stunning performances of Lewis (the guy can create more with a silent stare than many actors can in a whole episode) and Danes, but more importantly because of the complexities and uncertainties of their characters, the face-off between the pair is captivating TV.
The duo were only on screen together for one brief scene in the pilot, but a cat and mouse game between the pair has already been established. Mathison has spotted what she believes to be some sort of finger-tapping code, which Brody is performing whenever he's on national TV. Whether her theory is the result of too much drink and bad jazz music or a stroke of mad genius remains unclear.
However, Brody has more in common with his investigator than it would first appear. He may look like the perfect burger-flipping all-American family man and war hero. But what about his flashbacks? Did he abandon his partner Tom Walker? Did he actually crack and kill his fellow serviceman? He's been tipped to become a congressman, but were those final moments stood staring at the White House those of patriotism or resentment?
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Brody and Mathison are neither hero or villain. They're both 78 different shades of grey.
However, it isn't only the dynamic between the two leads which made this pilot so captivating. There are no loose ends, wasted lines or characters merely inserted as plot devices. Terse quickfire dialogue circles fully-rounded and utterly believable characters, who all have their own subplots and storylines.
David Harewood's CIA director David Estes could easily have been a cardboard caricature, using red tape and authority to hold up investigations and shout at his staff. But he isn't, and the revelation that a past dalliance with Mathison cost him his family and marriage is intriguing.
Estes isn't the only man to be swayed by the beauty of Mathison, because she also has a close ally and mentor in Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin). A sage-like figure looking over and after Mathison, he's also got a rebellious streak and is clearly willing to pull strings and tinker behind-the-scenes for Mathison. The history behind the relationship between the pair isn't clear at this point, but his horror at a sexual come-on from his co-worker would suggest that there isn't anything seedy about it.
Relationships in the Brody camp are even more complex. His wife Jessica (Morena Baccarin) and two kids Dana (Morgan Saylor) and Chris (Jackson Pace) had moved on and accepted Nicholas's death. Chris can barely remember his father and Jessica has ended up shacking up with her husband's best mate Marine Captain Mike Faber (Diego Klattenhoff).
Brody already appears to have spotted the awkward glances over the washing-up between his wife and best pal, so how that secret will remain hidden remains to be seen.
Baccarin's portrayal of the hero's wife, who had spent eight years believing she was a widow, is the most impressive turn in the pilot. Whether it's their first night of passion on Brody's return (the most horrifyingly awkward and most unromantic sex scene you'll ever likely witness) or her confusion over her feelings for Mike and the return of her husband, she manages to tow the line just right.
Loyalty to her husband is winning out for now, but is he the same man that disappeared eight years previously?
Homeland continues next Sunday at 9pm on Channel 4.
Did you enjoy the Homeland pilot? Did it live up to the hype? Share your views below!