The Americans: Best Show on Television?

I wouldn’t say that, but Hank Stuever at The Washington Post apparently would … and did. That’s not to say that I don’t think The Americans is some damn good drama, because I do (as evidenced here and here) and it is. Matthew Rhys gave me all kinds of chills last season in his emotionally raw performances as torn-between-two-lovers (family and country) Phil Jennings.

In the first official promo for season 3 (above), published today to FX’s YouTube channel, the spies next door are taking a polygraph:

“Are you committed to your country? Would you sacrifice everything for it? Even your own children?”

It’s that last that brings a loaded pause. Continue reading

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I finished “The Americans” in less than 24 hours

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I hooked my laptop to my TV last Saturday night and hunkered down to binge The Americans. Skipping the pilot (which I’d already seen twice), I got through episodes 2-7 by 3 a.m., and then finished the rest Sunday afternoon. I knew there was going to be no other way to do it than to gorge on what I knew would be a kick-ass series. I was right. By the end of Gregory, I was doing that little internal happy dance you (or maybe just I) do when you realize that yep, you did just discover an awesome show and there is nothing in the foreseeable future that will stop you from devouring episode after episode for the next few hours. It’s like looking forward to something that’s already happening. So, some thoughts … Continue reading

Analyzing “The Americans” | Pilot

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As promised, I re-watched the pilot of The Americans—and took three full pages of notes (front and back)—so that anyone still debating whether or not this is a show they would enjoy can come to a final decision. Plus as I mentioned, I love analyzing and not just watching. If you want my opinion (which you should, if you’re reading), just cough up the $25 like me and settle in for a long weekend on iTunes. Need more convincing? Well, I’ve never seen the merit in recaps, although I’m sure there are instances where they come in handy, so rather than give a full synopsis, I’ve chosen to go with bullet points. The pilot alone is only a couple bucks, so if you have any level of interest, just suck it up. Obviously, be prepared for SPOILERS! My view on spoilers has always been thus: If the show has already aired, it’s fair game—I may be behind on this one, but I know I’m probably not the only one, so you’ve been warned.

Here’s what you need to know: Continue reading

To watch or not to watch: “The Americans”

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I like TV that makes you think. Too often shows just pander to their lazy audiences, especially comedies. After all, who wants to come home from a long hard day at work and think? I, however, have always been partial to shows with a heavy-hitting undercurrent. I want to be taken for a ride.

As a senior in college, I took a course in television criticism. It was the first journalism class that actually allowed me to feel like I was doing something other than just taking notes on lectures about AP Style and the difference between slander and libel. We watched pilot episodes of several shows and analyzed them. I wrote term papers of ten or more pages on shows like Gilmore Girls and Boy Meets World. It re-wired my brain by giving me a fresh perspective on one of my most beloved “hobbies.” It helped me in the long run, particularly where entertainment journalism is concerned, into really letting the theme of a scene kick in and noticing nuances in character development. This isn’t to say I spend every moment dissecting the plot of what I’m watching—it just means that when I want to, I can flip a switch and really delve into the heart of a storyline with a keener eye.

Something tells me this will come in handy when watching FX’s new spy drama “The Americans.” Continue reading