Picture yourself as a KGB operative; slaving for the motherland, soldier of Moscow, spying on the American people and preparing for a possible WWIII. Joe Weisberg, creator and producer, captures just that in FX’s new original series “The Americans.” Weisberg himself is an ex-CIA officer, offering rare insight on the subject matter.
The story kicks off in the heat of a war that was to be fought quietly and swiftly behind enemy lines, the Cold War. Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings, played by Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell, are some of the USSR’s best ground operatives living just outside our nation’s capital. It would seem that they were just boring travel agents with boring children in a boring town with little bustle, but this couldn’t be any farther from the truth for these suburban killers. In the first episode a thick plot feeder is introduced; the new neighbor Stan Beeman, played by Noah Emmerich, is a counterintelligence agent. In layman terms, Phillip’s new drinking, and racquetball buddy Stan wants him executed.
The show is based in the 80’s so sex appeal is obviously present, the main characters are trained killers so yes there is heavy violence, but this story is as much about the precedent as it is about family. Elizabeth and Phillip are raising two children, as a part of their “cover”, they love them dearly but they can never tell them the truth of who they really are. These are two communists born in the Union, that are raising democratic Americans, an internal conflict occurs in nearly every episode regarding this elephant in the room.
For me, this show is just right on so many levels. The show is historically accurately, which makes it predictable, but still I find myself in anticipation for the premier of every episode. The show is well balanced in subject matter, allowing for a broad audience. Even the music in the series is impressive with a definite taste of the 80’s helping set the scene. I hardly pay notice to the score in films and television but in this show I can’t help but drool over its setlist. The shows cinematography is also breathtaking, using a modern technique where several refreshing angles are shown, keeping the mind at work. I pray this show expands and receives the recognition that it currently deserves. Until then I’ll be tuning in every Wednesday at 10 on FX, and remember “all’s fair in love and in cold war”.