Episode 601

No matter whom you plan on voting for this November, there’s one thing we can all agree on about President Obama: He has excellent taste in TV. The POTUS told People Magazine in December that Homeland — Showtime’s terrorist thriller starring Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, who grace the cover of EW’s Fall TV Preview this week — is one of two can’t-miss dramas on the White House DVR list (the other being HBO’s Boardwalk Empire). “We tend to be stunned over and over again by the response of the show,” says executive producer Alex Gansa. “Then all of a sudden the President of the United States says he’s stealing time away from Michelle and the kids to watch Homeland. It was just unbelievable.” Adds Showtime President David Nevins, “That was when we had gone to another level.”

This week’s cover of EW (click here to buy the issue) goes behind the scenes of Homeland‘s much-anticipated second season (premiering Sept. 30 at 10pm), which will continue the dysfunctional cat-and-mouse-game between bipolar CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Danes) and soldier/terrorist Nicholas Brody (Lewis). The pressure is on for Showtime’s hit series to deliver another round of episodes worthy of its Emmy-nominated first season, which ended with a gripping cliffhanger (“Issa!”) and so many questions: Will Carrie’s memory return? How long can Brody fly under the radar? Can Carrie ever rejoin the CIA? “I think the reaction [to season 1] still feels outsized, and of course to me it only loads up the fear of the second season,” admits executive producer Howard Gordon. He jokes, “We say, ‘Take a deep breath and lower your expectations.'”

Also in the Fall TV Preview: EW TV critic Ken Tucker picks this season’s five best new shows (any guesses?), plus we’ve got the scoop on 104 returning and new shows, including:

  • Gossip Girl exec producer Josh Schwartz previews the final season of the series.
  • Mindy Kaling explains why her new series, The Mindy Project, is littered with Office co-stars, on screen and behind the scenes. (“I didn’t want to say goodbye.”)
  • New Normal exec producer Ryan Murphy his new NBC sitcom about gay dads-to-be: “It’s like if Kurt and Blaine [from Glee] were grown-up and married and thinking about having a kid.”
  • Nathan Fillion admits he was wrong when he thought fans would lose interest in Castle if his character got together with Beckett. “The writers are treating it as if the first four seasons have been a protracted beginning,” he says. “Now we can finally start the show.”
  • Hayden Panettiere talks about stepping into the recording studio for ABC’s Nashville. “I’m getting more confident,” she concedes. “The last time I sang in front of a real audience was at the Capitol [for the A Capitol Fourth concert in 2007] and I literally spent the whole morning on my hands and knees, hyperventilating.”
  • Elementaryexec producer Rob Doherty explains why he’s completely against a Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu) romance on his new Sherlockian procedural.
  • Plus, we preview Revolution, The Vampire Diaries, The Good Wife, New Girl, Last Resort and much, much more!

For more on Homeland and all our other favorite new fall shows, and pick up this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly on newsstands Friday.

Plus, Yahoo! TV and Entertainment Weekly teamed up to survey 2,000 people on which new and returning shows they’re most excited about this fall. To see the results, click here.

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Episode 601
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