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'Homeland' is back: Can it recapture the magic?

By Henry Hanks, CNN
updated 11:57 AM EDT, Sun October 5, 2014
With social media engrained into our everyday lives and so many ways to watch television other than tuning in live, we're living in the age of spoilers. Here's a look at some of the most spoil-worthy programming in what's being called a new Golden Age of television. With social media engrained into our everyday lives and so many ways to watch television other than tuning in live, we're living in the age of spoilers. Here's a look at some of the most spoil-worthy programming in what's being called a new Golden Age of television.
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Spoiler alert! TV that tempts us to overshare
Spoiler alert! TV that tempts us to overshare
'Game of Thrones'
'House of Cards'
Winter Olympics
'The Walking Dead'
'Downton Abbey'
'Scandal'
'Breaking Bad'
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 'Homeland' returns after a critically-maligned third season
  • The new season is basically a reboot
  • Carrie returns with new issues in the CIA

Editor's note: The following story contains spoilers for the Showtime series "Homeland."

(CNN) -- [CAUTION: If you're not caught up on "Homeland," stop reading now! Minor season four spoilers also follow.]

How does one pick up the pieces after one of your main characters has been hanged?

That's a question that "Homeland" will attempt to answer on Sunday's fourth season premiere.

The show returns after a season which saw the excruciating death of Brody, Carrie's lover and the father of her child (and once a U.S. congressman and terrorist). It ended poignantly, as Carrie added a CIA star to mark the life he gave ultimately for his country.

The first season of "Homeland" was nothing short of a masterpiece, many critics agreed, and it won award after award. But some fans have complained that the show has since started to slip.

The third season, critics thought, did not live up to its potential. The New York Times said it found the third season "more baroque and much less compelling than the first two." There were episodes devoted to Brody's daughter, which some found grating, and a twist in which Carrie pretended to go off the rails and was sent to a mental facility -- all as part of a plan devised by her and another character, Saul.

It just seemed like "Homeland" was not what it once was.

This season is for all intents and purposes, a reboot. Carrie has had her baby (which she almost gave up for adoption), but she's back in the field, in Afghanistan. The new season begins as she's engineered a drone strike, but all doesn't exactly go as planned.

Peter Quinn has a bigger role now, as the leading man of the show. And fan favorite Saul is back, but things aren't exactly going better with his wife, who moved on (so to speak) without his knowledge.

Viewers will get plenty of opportunity to decide whether they're on board with the new season, as Showtime will premiere back-to-back new episodes on Sunday night.

Will you tune in for season four?

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