Life choices

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“Homeland”
Sunday 10pm, Showtime
Claire Danes returns to series television with this new political thriller. It’s terrifying to think that Danes, now 32, got her big break back in 1994 as a 15-year-old actually playing a 15-year-old on the short-lived but iconic teen drama “My So-Called Life.” Now she’s all grown up, with some major film credits and awards to her name. She leads this show as a maverick CIA agent who believes that an American POW recently rescued in Afghanistan has switched his allegiance during his eight years in captivity. I don’t think Danes has ever given a poor performance, and she typically picks smart, interesting projects, so that’s a good sign. Damian Lewis plays the soldier-turned-possible-terrorist; you may recognize him from “Band of Brothers” and NBC’s “Life.” Also starring Mandy Pantinkin and Morena Baccarin, of “V.”

“Pop-Up Video”
Monday noon & 12:30pm, VH1
The other day I wondered: What’s the point of music videos anymore? Now that MTV focuses almost exclusively on reality shows that follow brain-dead guidos and knocked-up teens, where do you even watch them? And then the answer came in an unexpected announcement: “Pop-Up Video” is back. The show originally aired from 1996-2002, and was hugely popular at first, before VH1 ran it into the ground. It lays interesting factoids and snarky commentary over videos by artists like Madonna, Britney Spears and Shakira. VH1 has ordered 60 new episodes, which will air back-to-back weekdays at noon. So when you go home for your lunch break you can get a shot of ’90s nostalgia, and weep into your Lean Cuisine about how little you’ve accomplished compared to Claire Danes.

“House”
Monday 9pm, Fox
The producers and writers of “House” have a serious challenge going into Season 8. The show, formerly a critical darling and ratings success, has lost a lot of its luster over the past few seasons. Many diehard fans were infuriated by the conclusion of last season, in which lead character, brilliant but flawed doctor Gregory House (Hugh Laurie), deliberately drove his car into the house of his former girlfriend/coworker (Lisa Edelstein as Cuddy, now off the show). Bad behavior is nothing new for the character, but many viewers saw this as crossing the line into irredeemable territory. The producers promise that House will be held accountable for his actions this year—he starts out in prison, which is a good sign. We’ll see how long that lasts.

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