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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2014 Emmy Award Nominations

Emmys

Technically award season never ends, what with obscure music awards scattered throughout the summer months and the ever-dreadful VMAs in August, but I always look to the Emmys to kick off another year. They’re not my favorite award show, but they’re more official than even the Golden Globes (think EGOT).

I’m a severe television addict, which should mean I get excited for this particular golden statue, but I’ve admittedly grown very tired of seeing the same names year after year. Shows that aren’t even funny anymore continue to win Best Comedy (I’m lookin’ at you, “Modern Family”) and phenomenal performances are overlooked in favor of more famous faces (Monica Potter was so painfully snubbed last year for her ugly-sob inducing work on NBC’s “Parenthood.”)

So imagine my surprise this year when some new talent was finally recognized on July 10 with the announcement of the 2014 Emmy noms. Continue reading

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

Fam

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”

The Americans

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

I Wish I Was A Walker

One of my favorite scenes from Brothers & Sisters. You know it’s good TV when a mere 120 seconds makes you want to jump through the screen and pull up a chair.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m still suffering through the 5 stages of binge-watching (think Kübler-Ross). This is totally a thing. When you gobble up an entire series in such a short amount of time, it messes with your emotions. You’ve become so engrossed in this world and the people that inhabit it that to not spend hours of every day with them feels like you’re doing something wrong. Watching anything else feels like cheating. This is the first time I’ve truly experienced this hell and I believe it’s because 1. I fell hard for this show and 2. I finished watching it at warp speed.

Brothers & Sisters was an ABC drama that aired Sunday nights from 2006-2011. Centered on the Walker family, it starred Sally Field as Nora, mother of five adult children (Rachel Griffiths, Calista Flockhart, Balthazar Getty, Matthew Rhys and Dave Annable) all living in or around Pasadena, CA. I started watching on June 13 and finished all 5 seasons by July 1. I love ensemble casts and I love family dramas, so I don’t know why I was surprised that I enjoyed it so much. It actually reminded me quite a bit of Parenthood at times—which is another show you should be watching if you’re not already—the daughter who comes back to live with her parents, the adorable backyard dinner scenes, the cancer, the fighting, the love. Plus, hello, Sally Field. She’s brilliant. In anything. I was talking about the show at a BBQ a couple months ago and someone asked, “Who’s Sally Field?” Damn near broke my heart. Continue reading