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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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