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Amazon and Julia Roberts dive into a twisty paranoid thriller.

Emily St. James was a senior correspondent for Vox, covering American identities. Before she joined Vox in 2014, she was the first TV editor of the A.V. Club.

If it were 2012, Homecoming would simply be the biggest thing around. It features bona fide movie star Julia Roberts in her first lead TV role. The supporting cast includes other big names like Bobby Cannavale and Sissy Spacek, to say nothing of the up-and-comer Stephan James. And every episode is directed by TV auteur Sam Esmail (of Mr. Robot fame), who uses the show’s puzzle box plot to push his love of meticulously framed shots in a vaguely Hitchcockian direction.

But it’s 2018, and sadly, Homecoming has gotten a little lost in the shuffle. That’s too bad, as the series offers a soulful, thoughtful look at the human cost of the military industrial complex, right alongside a twisty conspiracy thriller straight out of the 1970s. Roberts has rarely been better, and James proves himself a star in the making. Plus, each episode is just a half-hour long, which means the show avoids the bulkiness of too many streaming dramas.

“The result is a television series that’s frequently breathtaking. Each frame of Homecoming feels meaningful, and most feel at least vaguely familiar.” Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic

Metacritic score: 83 out of 100

Where to watch: Homecoming is streaming on Amazon.