This is not the kind of homecoming you expect.
The return at the center of Amazon’s new series starring Julia Roberts (in her first TV series role) is not exactly the stuff high-school dances are made of. “Homecoming” (streaming Friday, ★★★ out of four) is about soldiers back from war, the government and corporate entities that are interested in them and, most of all, Heidi Bergman (Roberts), a well-intentioned if misguided counselor who desperately wants to help them.
Promos for the series are vague and arty, all long hallways, foreboding words and terrible wigs, revealing nothing except a moody pretentiousness.
Thankfully, “Homecoming,” created by Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg and directed by Sam Esmail (“Mr. Robot”), is far more straightforward than its trailers and often overly-stylish cinematography might suggest. Based on a fictional Gimlet Media podcast, the series is an old-fashioned conspiracy thriller, in which the bad guys are exactly who you’d expect and the big twists reveal nefarious deeds, yet are mostly predictable. It’s the rare drama where the answers to the mystery are simple yet supremely satisfying.
Heidi is a counselor at the Homecoming Center, a halfway house for soldiers returning from deployment meant to transition them back into civilian life. It’s clear from the outset that something is off, from its seemingly benevolent corporate benefactors to its odd decor to the rules veterans must follow while they live there.
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