When TV hit Breaking Bad ended after five seasons the world collectively shat itself with fear over where their lives would go from there. Where would they find a weekly dose of meek family man with terrible criminal secrets? Luckily for them there’s a great show to fill that gap in their lives. The Americans has all of the elements that made Breaking Bad unforgettable plus lots of ugly 80s sweaters. What more could you want?
If you have already seen it, The Americans is a TV series about a married couple with two kids living in suburban America in the early 1980s. We get to see the drama of life in a world without mobile phones, Playstations, and Fifty Shades of Grey. Oh and did I mention this couple are members of the KGB spying for Russia at the height of The Cold War? What follows is a game of spies and counter-spies operating in a period of history where everyone was suspicious and paranoid about the threat from both of the huge global superpowers.
It’s this world of espionage juxtaposed with middle-class suburbia that allows The Americans to get its (bear) claws into you. The main characters of Philip and Elizabeth Jennings are fascinating as they attempt to live the good life of bringing up their children while carrying out assassinations, recruiting spies, and other shady shit. The couple are played by Welsh actor Matthew Rhys and the always excellent Keri Russell and it’s their performances that give the show its heart. Both are fantastic – Rhys as the loving father who might be liking life in the US a little too much, and Russell as the harder of the two who is much more dedicated to ‘the cause’.
Much of the fun of the show is to be had from the period. The fashions and technology seem at once both funny and warmly nostalgic. It also means that history buffs can watch as major world events are affected by the characters including the shooting of Ronald Reagan, the training of CONTRAs in Nicaragua, and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Each of these events directly affect Philip and Elizabeth and we get to see how they have to respond on behalf of the Soviet government. This usually involves lots of shagging, wearing of wigs and fake mustaches, and kicking the crap out of people. Sometimes all at once.
The Americans is televisual crack meaning you’ll want to watch the next episode right away. Where Breaking Bad was about an ordinary person starting out good and slowly being corrupted by circumstance, The Americans portrays main characters that start out as villains (depending on your political outlook, comrades) while we watch to see how much their communist ideals will be corrupted by life in America. It’s fascinating stuff bolstered by perfect performances from the cast, and brilliant writing. Its probably my favourite TV show right now so gets the Screenkicker Seal of Approval, which isn’t actually a thing but this show deserves it. отлично!!!
The Americans is currently in its third season and can be seen on FX in America. Those of you with Netflix in The Netherlands and Germany can catch season 1. Everyone else can probably attain the show through more covert means.
Have you watched The Americans? Are you a Russian spy? If so, are you one of the sexy ones or are you… Actually I’ll just repeat the question. Are you one of the sexy ones? Let me know in the comments below! Dosvedanya Tovarisch!