The Americans 1/30 ***Series Premier****
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The Americans 1/30 ***Series Premier****
Posted by Fearthehat0307 on 1/30 at 10:47 am
The day we have been waiting for has finally arrived.






Promo #1

**extremely minor spoilers in write-up**


FX is taking it back a few years (or decades) with their new series The Americans, a drama that follows two KGB spies posing as Americans in Washington DC. The pilot episode introduces us to Matthew Rhys and Keri Russells' characters, The Jennings, and over all, the drama gets off to an intriguing and exciting start, offering a glimpse of the potential this series has as we get to know two people working together at a very risky game of pretend.

Created by former CIA-officer-turned-writer Joe Weisberg, The Americans is set in the early 80s, not long after Ronald Reagan has taken office, as the Cold War is escalating. Keri Russell (Felicity) and Matthew Rhys (Brothers & Sisters) play Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, two people who seem like your typical middle class married couple, with two kids, Paige (Holly Taylor) and Henry (Keidrich Sellati) approaching their teen years. But in reality, Elizabeth and Philip are Russian spies working for the KGB and doing their best to keep their arranged marriage and true motives from everyone, including their own children, who have no idea who their parents really are.

The series premiere opens with Elizabeth seducing a man to get information from him, and going as far as she needs to go with the charade to get what she needs. This is followed by a chase involving Philip as he runs down a fellow spy who has defected. Keeping the guy tied up in their garage, Elizabeth and Philip go about their daily lives, trying to figure out how to deal with the situation. To add to their stress, their new neighbor Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich of The Truman Show and Super 8) just so happens to be an FBI agent, with a trained eye for things (and people) that are out of the ordinary. Beeman sniffing around adds a layer of tension to the already stressful situation as they try to figure out how to deal with the defected spy in their garage.

The thriller side adds to the suspense and momentum of the pilot, but where the series premiere really shines is in the relationship between Russell and Rhys' characters. Elizabeth and Philip may be partners in work and in marriage, but they don't completely see eye to eye in their priorities Between conversations at home and flashbacks of the start of their working/marital relationship, it becomes evident that Elizabeth is particularly focused on her work and her loyalty to her country, while Philip may put his family and his wife above both. That creates some conflict between the two characters, especially as it relates to the defector in the trunk in their garage, who says the FBI would give them a boatload of money to defect. Is going native an option for them? Would either consider it? The question is raised in the first episode. Business and personal are definitely mixed for these characters, which makes for some very interesting drama.

With the introduction out of the way and the character relationships established, the second episode gives us a better indication of the structure of the show, both at the Jennings house and with Beeman. I'll refrain from going into further specifics on that so as not to spoil the premiere. The 80s setting is used well, with a few references and songs worked in to remind us of the times, not to mention the cars, wardrobe and technology used. The setting is relevant to the story, so those things need to be there, but the series does well not to push the 80s in our faces any more than it needs to. It seems necessary to mention that, given how easily and often the 80s seem to be parodied in film and television.

Based on the first two episodes, The Americans has a lot of potential. What's more, it's nothing like anything else on FX right now, which makes it a perfect fit to fill the space left by American Horror Story - another unique drama for the cable channel. The series also appears to be a great opportunity for Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys to show off their range. Between their secret lives, their roles as spouses and parents and the conflict both are experiencing as they pretend to be Americans and do their duty to their own country, putting their lives and freedom in jeopardy in the process, there's opportunity for some amazing performances and the two actors don't disappoint in the first couple of episodes.

As for the story itself, I'm approaching the show a bit more cautiously, as I want to wait and see how well the series balances all of its elements as the first season progresses. There's the setting, the Jennings' home life, their missions, the KGB side of the story and the FBI side, all of which plays a part in the story and the Jennings' lives. That adds to the complexity of the plot, which should be a good thing if it's handled well, or the story could become hard to follow if it gets overly complicated. That's not a problem in the first two episodes, but it's a concern I have looking at the direction of the series. With that said, I definitely intend to keep watching and feel optimistic that time invested in the series will pay off as the story moves forward. The Americans is looking like a compelling new drama to join FX's line-up of original series.


This post was edited on 1/30 at 10:49 am

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Posted by Tiger1242 on 1/30 at 10:51 am to Fearthehat0307
I wish it was on HBO or Showtime or serving where it really could be great


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Posted by lsurulz1515 on 1/30 at 10:52 am to Fearthehat0307
can't wait


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Posted by TreyAnastasio on 1/30 at 10:56 am to Fearthehat0307
Keri Russell is such a dime. Will watch just for her.




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Posted by 12 on 1/30 at 10:57 am to Fearthehat0307
I am really looking forward to this one.


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Posted by Bryon Bojengles III on 1/30 at 10:57 am to Tiger1242
ign review 8.5 GREAT

quote:

+ A cool and compelling concept.
+ Elizabeth and Phillip are interesting and distinct characters, very well played by Russell and Rhys.
+ Makes good use of its 1980s setting without going over the top.

– Some huge coincidences.
– Actors playing 20 years younger is a bit jarring.


LINK



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Posted by Fearthehat0307 on 1/30 at 10:58 am to Bryon Bojengles III
quote:

ign review 8.5 GREAT
is that a relatively high mark for ign?



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Posted by HeadChange on 1/30 at 11:03 am to Tiger1242
quote:

I wish it was on HBO or Showtime or serving where it really could be great

FX is the next best thing



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Posted by Ellunchboxo on 1/30 at 11:04 am to Fearthehat0307
I'm all in.


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Posted by ProjectP2294 on 1/30 at 11:07 am to Tiger1242
quote:

I wish it was on HBO or Showtime or serving where it really could be great


This just means you wish you could see boobies when you watch this show. Because that is the only material difference between shows on FX and shows on the premium channels.



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Posted by Fearthehat0307 on 1/30 at 11:08 am to ProjectP2294
quote:

This just means you wish you could see boobies when you watch this show
if you don't want to see Keri Russell's boobies you are dead to me



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Posted by geauxtigers87 on 1/30 at 11:10 am to Fearthehat0307
will check this out. seems good


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Posted by ProjectP2294 on 1/30 at 11:11 am to Fearthehat0307
Of course I do. But not seeing them will not diminish the quality of the show.

Sometimes the premium channels rely too much on what they can get away with in that regard rather than trying to make a good episode.

Californication and House of Lies comes to mind.



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Posted by 9Fiddy on 1/30 at 11:11 am to Bryon Bojengles III
quote:

+ Makes good use of its 1980s setting without going over the top.

They could just use all the cars from the furture time n Fringe this year for the 1980s auto pool



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Posted by Bryon Bojengles III on 1/30 at 11:11 am to Fearthehat0307
yeah they don't throw out Greats too often. they're very critical and fair for the most part.


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Posted by TigerAlumni2010 on 1/30 at 11:26 am to Fearthehat0307
This show concept is intriguing and hope that it doesn't disappoint.


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Posted by nosaj56 on 1/30 at 11:54 am to Bryon Bojengles III
no AVClub, no care

this show is supposed to be pretty good. looking forward to it tonight.



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Posted by pr0jektblack on 1/30 at 12:28 pm to Fearthehat0307
Fear: DR


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Posted by DanTiger on 1/30 at 12:30 pm to ProjectP2294
quote:

Of course I do. But not seeing them will not diminish the quality of the show.

Sometimes the premium channels rely too much on what they can get away with in that regard rather than trying to make a good episode.


This is the correct answer. My two favorite show on television are Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones and BB is the far better of the two series because it does not rely on nude scenes as mindless filler. If I want to see naked women I watch porn.



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Posted by Fearthehat0307 on 1/30 at 12:32 pm to DanTiger
quote:

This is the correct answer. My two favorite show on television are Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones and BB is the far better of the two series because it does not rely on nude scenes as mindless filler. If I want to see naked women I watch porn.
I completely agree, my comment was stated very jokingly.

eta: don't agree that BB is one of my favs but agree with your premise


This post was edited on 1/30 at 12:34 pm

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