Monday, February 17, 2014

The Americans: A Brief Intro

With Season Two of The Americans fast approaching us, I decided it was about time to watch Season One.  I doubt I will make it before Season Two premieres, but the concept of The Americans intrigued me, and I want to see it and see if it is worth our time. 

As a child of the Reagan Revolution, I have foggy memories of a television miniseries named Amerika.  In this series, the Soviet Union managed to conquer the United States, and what followed after the States fell to the Russians.  I never believed this scenario and always felt the United States would triumph.  I was proven right.  Thanks, Ronnie.

The Americans not only takes us back to the early 1980s, but it also addresses a story we don't think of: the domestic troubles that accompany espionage.

Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, outwardly average and happily married Americans with two kids, are actually deep-cover agents for the KGB, dangerous and murderous Soviets spies.  However, it isn't just working for the Ruskies and trying to both stay alive and one step ahead of the FBI that they have to deal with.  They also have to deal with the issues of protecting their children, being parents, balancing work and home, and whether they are simply too much in character, whether the pretense they carry can actually work much longer. 

Curiously, in what I think is an intelligent role reversal, it is Philip who is the more sensitive and questioning of the two, while Elizabeth is the more steely and determined.  Philip hasn't so much grown accustomed to the American lifestyle as he has with the role of husband and father.  Elizabeth is similarly struggling to maintain her focus on her mission while also wondering about how to be a real mother to her real children, conceived not out of love but out of duty for Mother Russia. 

This I think will make for fascinating watching.

I am intrigued by Keri Russell.  I never watched Felicity (and frankly, doubt any man has), so while I'm aware of the reputation, I don't know enough of her work to dismiss Russell as the generally sweet young girl discovering the world.  I know nothing of Matthew Rhys but I think it is highly interesting that this Welshman is playing a Russian playing an American.  He has to not only keep a straight American accent but through the series has to play many characters, the disguises Philip (and Elizabeth) have to create to deceive everyone.  I also am interested in seeing Margo Martindale in her supporting role as their KGB supervisor.  I know of her, but am not too familiar with her work.  I have heard great things about her, so she's another plus to see what she does with the role.

Granted, I want to also empty out my DVR and get ready for Season Two.  I trust The Americans will make me proud to be one. 

Well, I hope to start formal reviews of each episode, which should start in late February or March. 

Premiere Episode 

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