The Americans: We Take a Sly Look Back and Anxiously Wait for 2018’s Final Season
Shows that take place in the past are always a tricky situation. You have to get the hair right, the clothes right, and tell events in history as if the viewers are truly experiencing it in the moment.
“The Americans” isn’t just a show about spies, it’s so much more. This is a show about family, teamwork, loyalty, betrayal, morality, love, and hate. It encompasses science and religion and questions if secrets really are ever secrets.
If you aren’t familiar with the show, it takes place during the 1980’s during Ronald Reagan’s term as President. Although the show does briefly hit on the administration and what it was like at that time, for the most part, it focuses on the Counter Intelligence Agency and its effort to combat Russian spy tactics. Today, we know that Russia would send KGB agents (Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti translated in English as Committee for State Security, was the main security agency for the Soviet Union from 1954 until its break-up in 1991) in to the U.S. and have them pose as Americans. They would talk, dress, and act like Americans, seamlessly blending in.
I can understand why there might be a slight hesitation to watch the show for those who don’t want to see the U.S. deceived or maybe think it encourages Communism, however, let me assure you that the show, in my opinion, seeks only to show BOTH sides of the story. There are even some situations where there is overlap and the two work together. Ultimately, the viewer realizes that history isn’t so black and white, and that the truth really depends on where you’re standing.
The premise of “The Americans” isn’t the only thing that makes it worth watching. The cast is as rock solid as they come. Keri Russell who plays Elizabeth Jennings is impressively convincing as a cold embittered mother who struggles to understand Americans whom she perceives to be weak. Meanwhile Philip Jennings (played by Matthew Rhys) comes to grip with the fact that he is slowly starting to empathize with Americans and a part of him longs to actually assimilate into the culture. The two are married as part of the mission, not because they love each other, but soon they realize that their homeland and family is what draws them together at the same time as it pushes others away.
The chemistry between these two actors is undeniable. They ended up getting together in real life and have a child of their own, and if you watch the two of them on camera, you can see why. The spark they have in real life translates onto the show.
The supporting cast is nothing short of miraculous as well. The Jennings’ best friend is also their worst enemy. CIA agent Stan Beeman moves in next door and befriends the Jennings, not realizing that they are secret spies for the KGB-the threat that his own agency is trying to eliminate. Stan Beeman, played by Noah Emmerich is one of my favorite characters. Although the Jennings outsmart him a few times in the series, they struggle to do so.
When you first start watching the show, you might think to yourself “Oh yeah, this is a situation where they pull one over on some dimwitted guy.” Not so at all. Stan demonstrates his worth time and time again as he contributes his theories and talents to the CIA team. We see him come to conclusions with only the use of tiny clues. Elizabeth and Philip view him as a threat and rightly so, but keep him close so that they can keep an eye on him.
Another notable character is their daughter Paige, played by Holly Taylor. She is a nice foil to the other characters. Paige has the natural instincts of both her father and mother, but she wears her heart on her sleeve. She struggles to understand her parents as she senses that they are hiding something from her. As Paige slowly begins to uncover more signs that could reveal her parents’ true identities, we see an evolution in her character. Paige is a teenager, which bears its own coming of age problems, but how would she deal with the fact that her parents are involved in the espionage world?
I’d also like to give a “bravo” to the minor characters that pass through the series. It would take me awhile to go into detail about each one and the clear contribution they make to the story lines, so I won’t go into detail. Plus, I don’t want to spoil anything for you.
Although I will share one little tidbit that I was excited to learn from reading an article on the “Variety” website. Actor Costa Ronin who plays the character Oleg (and does an excellent job by the way, he will easily become one of your favorites) is set to play a role in Season 7 of “Homeland” (another amazing show). No news on who he will play on the show, but I’m whole heartedly hoping he’s a love interest for the main character, Carrie Mathison who is played by actress Claire Danes.
If I were to give the TV show a rating of Sister Geeks shields, I would give it 4.5 out of 5 shields.
That’s right folks, that almost never happens. I never give 5 shields because as I’ve said before, that indicates a show that appeals to all audiences. However, to me it is a show that is great enough to get as high a mark as a 4.5. I’m not going to lie, I love this show because there’s nothing else on like it. It’s an 80’s show about Russian spies. I love it because the actors are good and the story lines are good. This show is not for people who are impatient. Although I do think there are very few “filler” episodes (meaning episodes where nothing significant happens), it is a gradual build show, as it should be in my opinion since it deals with espionage.
“The Americans” airs on FX. Its sixth and final season will air in 2018, but an exact release date has yet to be announced. Wanna catch up before the new season airs? You can view Seasons 1-5 on Amazon for free if you’re an Amazon Prime member.
Are you a fan of “The Americans”? If so, share with us what you like about the show.
Never seen it? Then click the video on this article for the trailer from Season 1.