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Usually, podcasts spring out of TV shows—specifically, someone makes a show, and then some fan makes a podcast to talk about that show. But sometimes, that creative pipeline flows in the opposite direction. One of the first podcasts to become a TV show is also one of the best shows in the last five years, thanks to showrunner and director Sam Esmail, who took almost every lesson he learned while making Mr. Robot for USA and applied it to his 2018 adaptation of Homecoming. Esmail plays with sound, with aspect ratio, with editing, and with genre expectations to create a thriller that evokes the best of '70s paranoid cinema (The Parallax View, The Conversation) while feeling so new that it might take another two or three years for TV to catch up with it. (Oh yeah, and Julia Roberts, Bobby Cannavale, and Stephan James are in it.) And when you're all caught up with season one, proceed straight into season two, starring Janelle Monae (!) as a woman at the center of another, literal government mind-control conspiracy. Esmail's still producing, but the directing is being done this time by Stanford Prison Experiment's Kyle Patrick Alvarez. BOBBY ROBERTS


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