The scrambled jazzy boops and beeps of Homeland's theme song rung out for the last time Sunday, as Showtime's long-running thriller ended its run after eight seasons. The series ended exactly how it should have, with a finale that left the door just barely open for a continuation of the show, but also concluded in satisfying fashion to give fans something to think about. But for the show's biggest fans, eight heart-pounding seasons probably wasn't enough.
Well I have good news! You can still get your Homeland kicks -- irresponsible love, screaming matches between CIA agents, and complicated (and not-so-complicated) depictions of foreign cultures -- in other shows. If you're dreading a life without Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), don't worry, because I've put together a list of shows that will satisfy any Homeland fan.
Where to watch: Hulu
There would be no Homeland without the award-winning 2010 Israeli drama series Prisoners of War, a two-season series that was adapted into eight seasons of Homeland. Though Homeland would evolve to become its own thing, Prisoners of War gave Homeland creators Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon, along with Prisoners of War creator Gideon Raff, the idea to build a show around prisoners of war returning home after years of captivity and trying to readjust to life back home as their families moved on without them. In Prisoners of War, two POWs return to Israel to find a world they barely recognize... and officials find out they may be hiding their own secrets, much like Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) did. Prisoners of War is different enough that it works more as a companion piece to Homeland rather than as its source material, and in some ways it's a better show as it really focuses on the family drama rather than the CIA's operations against terrorists. This one's for fans of Homeland's early seasons.
Where to watch: Hulu, Showtime
What if there was a drama featuring like half a dozen Nicholas Brodys? Showtime's Sleeper Cell, which debuted in 2005, ran for two seasons and was one of television's first shows that was a direct response to the 9/11 attacks and America's new world order. It followed a Muslim undercover FBI agent (Michael Ealy) who infiltrated a sleeper cell of terrorists, who all came from different racial and economic backgrounds, and had varying ideas of Islam and the cell's purpose. Sleeper Cell was particularly adept at raising issues that had fractured the Muslim community, such as the violence used by radicals, as well as stirring up paranoia that anyone -- no matter their skin color -- could be an agent of domestic terrorism.
Where to watch: Amazon
Thanks to natural charisma and a few extra hours put in the gym, it takes John Krasinski only a few minutes to stop making a frumpy face into the camera, shed his Jim Halpert image, and become America's newest version of the literary action hero Jack Ryan. Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan gives us the Jack Ryan origin story, showing the CIA agent in his early days as a desk jockey before he shot up the ranks to become one of the agency's greatest assets. Like Homeland, Jack Ryan spent tons of cash to get on-location shots around the globe, making it TV's best-looking spy thriller (thanks, Jeff Bezos!) with a crew that added in some impressive action sequences. It's not quite the character study that Homeland is -- Jack's a little bland, especially in Season 1 -- but it's a solid interpretation of the books that made Clancy commonplace on the bedside tables of dads everywhere.
Where to watch: Amazon
If you say you love spy shows but also say "I haven't seen The Americans yet" then turn around and keep walking, pal. FX's drama isn't just one of the best spy shows ever made, it's one of the best TV shows ever made, period. Stars Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell give career-best performances as a pair of Russian spies masquerading not only as plain Americans in the 1980s, but -- with their two American-born children who don't know their parents are spies -- also as a regular American family. You'll salivate over the low-tech spy games of the era and the complex political plotting, but the real drama of The Americans is within the family unit and their pesky CIA agent neighbor who suspects something might be up. You've been putting this off for too long, binge it now and thank me when you hear the first Fleetwood Mac song.
Where to watch: Netflix
Homeland's early seasons were beloved because of the complicated love story between Carrie and Brody. She was a CIA agent, he was a prisoner of war and national hero who was secretly turned by his captors to spy on America. Love and spyjinx cross paths again in London Spy, a BBC drama starring Ben Whishaw as a man who discovers his boyfriend was a spy after he's found dead. It's a tight drama mixing romance and thrills, with less romance (he's dead!) and more thrills. And at five episodes, it can be finished in an afternoon.
Where to watch: Netflix
If you watched Homeland for its thrilling cat-and-mouse sequences of intelligence and counter-intelligence followed by bone-shaking explosions and mayhem, then do check out Bodyguard. The extremely intense six-episode quickie from the BBC will take a few years off your life, but it's worth it as creator Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty) throws the whole kitchen sink at viewers in detailing a military vet's move to become the bodyguard of a controversial British politician. Like Homeland, there's some forbidden love and possible mental issues involved, but the series' trademark is its ability to pin its audience to the couch as bombs threaten to explode and shootouts spray glass everywhere. Plus, it has a fantastic performance from Richard Madden (Game of Thrones' Robb Stark) as the titular bodyguard who says "ma'am" in the most adorable way (it sounds like he's calling out to his mommy).
Where to watch: Hulu
Before Carrie Mathison was frantically scrambling around and swearing at federal ineptitude and terrorist threats, there was a man named Jack Bauer doing the same thing (who curses better, Carrie and her F-bombs, or Jack and his "DAMMIT"?). Debuting in Nov. 2001, 24 was TV's first big post-9/11 series, starring Kiefer Sutherland as the new action hero who hunted terrorists by any means necessary. The hit also pushed the limits of broadcast television, prompting debates about torture as the same debate raged in the real world. 24 would also push the limits of what viewers were willing to sit through in later seasons, featuring laughable storylines involving mountain lions and amnesia, but the early seasons still contain some of the best thrills ever seen on network television, aided by the series' unique device of depicting events in "real-time," even if it meant no one ever went to the bathroom or that it tried to make us believe you could drive across Los Angeles in 15 minutes.
Where to watch: Sundance Now, Amazon (Season 1 only; leaves Amazon May 1)
One of France's most lauded television programs ever, The Bureau will, how you say, scratch that spy itch after Homeland says au revoir. The series follows France's Directorate-General for External Security, which is basically the country's CIA and specializes in agents who go on long undercover missions in areas of interest, such as the Middle East and Northern Africa. The main character is a man pulled back to Paris from being undercover for six years in Syria, and he must now reconcile with his family after spending time with a new lover abroad, one he can't help but stay in contact with, and one who has secrets of her own. It's got an insane attention to detail, as well as a complex plot that will pay off huge for those who are patient.
Homeland airs its series finale Friday, April 24 at 9/8c on Showtime.