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OFFICIAL The Americans Season 1 DISCUSSION Thread

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 OFFICIAL The Americans Season 1 DISCUSSION Thread
Unread 2 years agoclass of '06 - away - #1
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Premieres Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 10/9c. on FX.

The Americans is described as a period drama about the complex marriage of two KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C. shortly after Ronald Reagan is elected president. Rhys and Russell play Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, KGB Directorate S illegals in an arranged marriage that grows more passionate and genuine as it is constantly tested by the escalation of the Cold War and the dangerous relationships they must maintain with a network of spies.

Complicating their covert situation further is Philip’s growing sense of affinity for the American way of life, plus the arrival of a new neighbor, Stan Beeman (White Collar‘s Noah Emmerich), an FBI agent whose beat is tracking foreign agents on U.S. soil — including Russian spies posing as Americans. Well that’s an unfortunate coinky-dink.



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Unread 2 years agoclass of '08 - away - #2
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Been seeing the teasers commercials for this for a while but they never revealed what it was about. I'll give it a try tho.
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '06 - away - #3
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '04 - away - #4
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May give this a try. FX usually puts out heat.
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '06 - away - #5
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Little over a week till premiere!
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '06 - away - #6
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The Bottom Line
Comparisons with Homeland are inevitable, but the pacing and nuance driving FX's look at enemies among us might have real staying power.

FX's latest drama, starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as sleeper KGB agents in suburban 1980s Washington, D.C., is as much about an unconventional family as it is about Cold War games.

Comparisons are dangerous, especially in the ever-evolving, week-to-week world of truly great television series. But here goes: I enjoyed the first two episodes of FX's spy series The Americans as much as I did the entirety of season two of Homeland. (Remember, the beginning of Homeland's season two was perfectly pulse-pounding before a deep creative spiral began.) There is something about Americans -- which also explores spies and terrorism on U.S. soil -- that invests me with the same type of hope I had at the beginning of Showtime's gem. What separates the two is a vastly different approach to pacing.

Americans stars Matthew Rhys as Phillip Jennings and Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings, two KGB spies posing as Americans and living in the suburbs outside Washington, D.C. Ronald Reagan has been elected president and is calling the USSR "the evil empire." The Soviets are playing the long con: For years they trained the pair to be "Phillip" and "Elizabeth," disparate patriots who wanted to serve their country against the threat of America. They were put into an arranged marriage and sent to the U.S., where they had two children. Although there are multiple flashbacks, particularly in the pilot, we meet the spies when daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) is 13 and son Henry (Keidrich Sellati) is 10.

While with Homeland, Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) comes back from being held by al-Qaida and the is-he-or-isn't-he spy/terrorist conceit gets played out quickly, Americans has a sophisticated storytelling advantage in that the Jennings family has been hiding below the surface for ages. The couple poses as travel agents, and the kids have no idea their parents are spies -- they don't even know they're Russian. But now things rapidly are getting more stressful for Mom and Dad. The pilot opens with Elizabeth, Phillip and another KGB agent trying to kidnap a former KGB agent who has turned for U.S. government cash. The kidnapping is partly botched, and immediately suspicions on both sides prick up. A Soviet agent at the KGB safe house dourly explains the new changes coming. "The American people have elected a mad man as their president," he says. "He makes no secret of his desire to destroy us. Our war is not so cold anymore, Elizabeth."

With KGB agents on U.S. soil beginning to flip sides willingly for money, Rhys is utterly convincing as a spy who has let doubts pour in and come to love America. Why not stay? Why not flip? Wouldn't that make their lives better and less stressful and guarantee safety for their kids? But Elizabeth is hard-core and despises him for even thinking of turning.
Meanwhile, at the FBI, word comes down that the spy snatch has infuriated Reagan. A high-ranking Cabinet member explains tersely: "President Reagan is outraged that the KGB thinks it can kidnap someone with impunity on American soil. The president has signed top-secret Executive Order 2579 authorizing Federal Bureau of Investigation counterintelligence officers to take all necessary steps to neutralize all Soviet Directorate S sleeper-cell agents in the continental U.S."

In the room, of course, is FBI agent Stan Beeman, a new neighbor of Directorate S sleeper-cell agents Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings.

Rhys and Russell are superb, giving eye-popping performances in which they convince as both sublimely ordinary parents and dangerous spies. It's thrilling to watch them navigate the nuanced pace, and the show's placement during the 1980s makes for a fresh period piece (though Russell doesn't have to play Cyndi Lauper, she does have to don some serious high-waisted jeans).

Americans is not in some feverish race to make every episode feel like a cliffhanger. (That was great during season one of Homeland but led to the trouble with season two.) Instead, series creator/writer/executive producer Joe Weisberg, who worked for the CIA before turning to writing, allows the show to breathe. He is a.ssisted by the steady hand of Graham Yost (Justified, The Pacific, Band of Brothers) as executive producer and Joel Fields (Ugly Betty, Rizzoli & Isles) as exec producer/writer.

Homeland turned out to be determined to get all the spy stuff out of the way so a love story could bloom. On Americans, the love story has a wealth of incredible emotional layers, but the emphasis always is on the spying.

It's too early to really judge Americans against Homeland, but if the latter is getting away from what hooked you in the first place, then you might find what you're missing on Americans. Here's to more episodes, more espionage and respect for colluding against the enemy instead of merely canoodling with them.
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '06 - away - #7
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '06 - away - #8
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '06 - away - #9
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20 minutes in and Im already hooked
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '06 - away - #10
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decent pilot, nothing special though
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '04 - away - #11
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Definitely will continue watching.

at beating that dude's a.ss then taking a hot dog.
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '06 - away - #12
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '09 - on now - #13
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So is no one here because they didn't watch the show, or because they dislike SM that much?

I'm on westcoast time, I still got 30 minutes to go til showtime.
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '04 - away - #14
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This sh*t was legit. Im hooked already, some of it because I wanna fu*k Keri Russell, but mostly because its a dope show.
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '09 - on now - #15
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C.R.I.P. said:
This sh*t was legit. Im hooked already, some of it because I wanna fu*k Keri Russell, but mostly because its a dope show.
Yessssssss... I haven't been this excited for a pilot in a years. FX got another one on there hands.


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Unread 2 years agoclass of '12 - away - #16
JBAL NY 46 heat pts46 space
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wasnt all that hype going into it but figured i'd give it a shot cuz FX usually got them quality shows



sh*t got me by surprise. i got high hopes for this sh*t


[spoiler - click to view]

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Unread 2 years agoclass of '07 - away - #17
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FX is k!lling it. great pilot
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '07 - away - #18
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JBAL NY said:
wasnt all that hype going into it but figured i'd give it a shot cuz FX usually got them quality shows



sh*t got me by surprise. i got high hopes for this sh*t


[spoiler - click to view]

i thought he was CIA? but anyway dude was really on his sh*t if he already suspects them being KGB agents
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '06 - away - #19
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[spoiler - click to view]

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Unread 2 years agoclass of '04 - away - #20
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JBAL NY said:
wasnt all that hype going into it but figured i'd give it a shot cuz FX usually got them quality shows



sh*t got me by surprise. i got high hopes for this sh*t


[spoiler - click to view]

I don't think they're going to have to. Stan looked in the trunk, saw nothing then had that, "The fu*k am I doing here, I'm just imagining sh*t" look on his face.
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