The Americans - Tuesdays in the US. Penultimate Season returns in the US.

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Monkey Man
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PostThe Americans - Tuesdays in the US. Penultimate Season returns in the US.
by Monkey Man » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:46 pm

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The Americans is a period drama about the complex marriage of two KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C. shortly after Ronald Reagan is elected President. The arranged marriage of Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell), who have two children – 13-year-old Paige (Holly Taylor) and 10-year-old Henry (Keidrich Sellati), who know nothing about their parents’ true identity – grows more passionate and genuine by the day, but is constantly tested by the escalation of the Cold War and the intimate, dangerous and darkly funny relationships they must maintain with a network of spies and informants under their control. Complicating their relationship further is Philip’s growing sense of affinity for America’s values and way of life. Tensions also heighten upon the arrival of a new neighbor, Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich), an FBI agent. Stan and his partner, Agent Chris Amador (Maximiliano Hernández), are members of a new division of Counterintelligence tasked with fighting against foreign agents on U.S. soil, including KGB Directorate S illegals, Russian spies posing as Americans.

http://stage.fxnetworks.com/theamericans/
https://www.facebook.com/TheAmericans
https://twitter.com/TheAmericansFX

Very long recap of Season 2's finale -
In the finale of the first season of The Americans, Elizabeth took a bullet to the abdomen, a wound from which she had finally recovered when season two began. In last night’s second-season finale, multiple bullets flew, but this time neither Elizabeth nor Philip was struck. Instead, three U.S. citizens who, at different points, were working for the Russians — Fred, Larrick, and Jared — got shot and killed, implying that Americans who pledge their allegiances to the Russian flag, even temporarily, as in Larrick’s case, run a high risk of losing their lives. That’s a sober reality Stan Beeman seemed to grasp and one that, based on the orders relayed by Claudia in the episode’s biggest plot twist, Paige Jennings may soon have to confront as well.

Claudia’s revelation of Russia’s Second Generation Illegals program — the effort to recruit the American-born offspring of KGB agents, including Paige, in order to more effectively infiltrate U.S. intelligence agencies — delivered the biggest gasp in a finale that certainly contained some tense moments, but wasn’t quite the explosive shocker three consecutive weeks of Larrick-hovering suggested it might be. I was prepared for a season-two closer that, narratively speaking, would drive the audience up a steep cliff, place the front wheels of the car just over the edge, then leave us teetering there, Breaking Bad near-cardiac-arrest style, until the show resumes in 2015. Instead, The Americans ended its very strong second chapter by confidently executing several of the classic moves in its repertoire — a chase scene set to a rollicking '80s song (Golden Earring’s “Twilight Zone” as opposed to Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk”), moments of angsty uncertainty involving the Stan/Nina relationship, more awkward conversation between Martha and Clark, a Jennings mission (Operation Extradite Jared) that went heart-stoppingly south — while making an obvious effort to begin laying the foundation for season three.

The most significant mystery that got resolved in this episode was the identity of Emmett and Leanne’s murderer. It turned out it wasn’t Larrick. The killer was the Connors’ own son, Jared, who had been groomed as a second-generation illegal behind his parents’ backs, and decided to homicidally fight them when they objected to his attempt to follow in their stealth footsteps. It was Kate who converted Jared to the cause, at the Centre’s insistence, sans the signing of any parental permission slips, which also explains more clearly why Claudia got booted from her post and Kate was installed in her stead. The Centre knew that the best way to win over a teenage boy was by assigning a young, pretty blonde to do the persuading.

At this point, it only seems right to pause for a moment and start a slow clap for Owen Campbell, the actor who played Jared and had to do an insane amount of heavy explaining while he lay dying on the cold, hard, woodsy New York ground. That death scene was essentially a race to see what would gush out of Jared more rapidly: neck blood or exposition. I honestly think it was a tie.

While Campbell handled the moment with an impressive sense of control, all that Jared information dumpage, while necessary, dragged on to a degree that was almost comical. (Elizabeth! Philip! Stop listening so intently and do something to staunch the jugular flow, for God’s sake!) That was one of a couple of quibbles I had with this season finale. Here’s another: Man, did they get rid of Larrick awfully quick. This guy has been stalking Philip, Elizabeth, and Jared for the last four weeks of the season. He finally tracks them down, handcuffs them, and announces he plans to turn them in, and then, with their arms tied behind their backs, mind you, Elizabeth and Philip manage to fight him off and kill him, just like that. I didn’t necessarily expect Larrick to succeed in his attempt to turn the Jennings over to U.S. officials, but after all the buildup, I wanted to watch the potential for their unmasking play out a little longer. (Side note: I also really wanted Henry to be a little more irritated about having to go to some junky hotel in the middle of the night, sit in the room alone, spend an afternoon eating sad sandwiches in a park, and then come home. But not Henry. “I had a good time,” he said cheerily when the Jennings family returned to Falls Church. Kid: You really need to set higher vacation standards.)

Then there was the resolution of the whole Stan Beeman/Nina Sergeevna affair, which ended with a disappointing whimper, but a whimper that seemed completely in character with Stan’s inability to fully wrap his arms around any aspect of his life. Despite all his promises to Nina that he would do whatever it took to save her, when it finally came down to dropping the Echo code into Soviet hands, he couldn’t go through with it. After gazing intently at the image of Ronald Reagan on Agent Gaad’s wall, and the Washington Monument, and the look on Sandra’s face while she was having an orgasm on Gaad’s desk during Stan’s highly disturbing federal-agency sex dream, Stan realized he could not betray his country. All he could do was leave a note that said, “Tell Nina I’m sorry.” One could argue Stan made that call because he’s an American with principles. One could argue it’s because he’s a wimp who’s living his life like an FBI zombie. I would argue that it’s a combination of both.

As for Nina, she was escorted out of the Rezidentura and the U.S. by her comrades, but her knowing glance at Oleg implied she fully intends to take his money and run as soon as she can. Something tells me that wasn’t the last we’ll see of her.

Despite any issues I may have had with Jared’s bleedsplaining, the dispatching of Larrick, or the quiet way the Stan/Nina story ended, I still can’t complain about this finale, which overall was solid. If it didn’t feel like quite as much of a knockout as some other recent episodes, that only speaks to what a tremendous, breakout season this was for The Americans. During season one, the FX series proved it was a really deft, compelling spy thriller. During season two, it revealed itself to be a truly excellent drama, capable of keeping multiple plotlines chugging forward while also burrowing more deeply into its characters and staging glorious setpieces and montages often (I’m still trying to emotionally recover from the use of Peter Gabriel’s “Here Comes the Flood”), which make an impact without showing off excessively. I am hopeful that season three will dart into more interesting, shadowy corners of the Jennings’ story. That seems like a certainty now that Elizabeth and Philip are faced with revealing themselves to Paige and convincing her to fight their anti-American battle.

If season one of The Americans asked whether a marriage can survive when it’s based on falseness, and season two asked whether a family can remain intact when outside forces continually disrupt its stability, it seems like the question of season three will be simply this: What is the greater good?

The notion of serving a higher purpose was mentioned multiple times in this episode. Jared spoke of it: “What we do is for something greater than ourselves,” he told Elizabeth and Philip. Claudia did, too, when she attempted to convince Elizabeth and Philip that they must turn their daughter to the red side. “It could give their life a meaning and a purpose they could never get in this country,” she said of the opportunity presented to next-gen illegals, adding of Paige, “She’s not just yours. She belongs to the cause. We all do.” And Paige used similar language when she got home from that no-nukes protest and spoke about Pastor Tim’s arrest and the generosity of Jesus Christ. “He was willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good,” she told her parents, “and that inspires me.”

Clearly Elizabeth and Philip define greater good differently. “I wish I could tell her about the real heroes,” Elizabeth said, “the people sacrificing themselves for this world, not some stupid children’s story about heaven.” (Did you notice how, as soon as Elizabeth said that, the scene quickly flashed a mirror image of her in which she was bathed in a borderline heavenly light? Perhaps that was a subtle way of refuting her children’s story claim?) “If she said one more thing about nonviolent resistance,” Philip said, in the night’s best line, “I was going to punch her in the face.”

What is really worth sacrificing yourself for: your church? Your country? Your fellow man? (Clearly not when it came to poor Fred; when Elizabeth and Philip knew he was dying, they went straight for the Dumpster with his paint-sample shoes and didn’t even bother trying to make it to the phone booth where Fred drew his last breath). Your family? And if someone else’s greater good doesn’t sync up with your own, how can you convince that person to cross over to the place where you live? These are questions The Americans will undoubtedly grapple with when it returns severals months from now.

“It would destroy her,” Philip said when Elizabeth argued in favor of revealing themselves to Paige.

“To be like us?” she responded. The nature of the question implied that Philip and Elizabeth share the exact same values about serving Russia, rejecting the comforts of the U.S., and raising their children as Americans who, somehow, will grow up to be something other than American.

But Philip’s non-response suggested he does not see himself in that us, a prospect that seemed to leave him stricken. In the closing moments of this season finale of The Americans, as the still-intact Jennings family prepared to sit down to dinner, all the bullets that were going to be fired in this episode had already hit their targets. Yet there was Philip, looking like he’d just taken another one right in the gut.


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Cast

• Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings
• Matthew Rhys as Phillip Jennings
• Noah Emmerich as Agent Stan Beeman
• Holly Taylor as Paige Jennings
• Keidrich Sellati as Henry Jennings
• Annet Mahendru as Nina
• Susan Misner as Sandra Beeman
• Alison Wright as Martha Hanson
• Richard Thomas as Special Agent Frank Gaad
• Lev Gorn as Arkady


Critics



Throughout its stellar first two seasons, FX’s Cold War spy drama “The Americans” has been incredibly adept at creating tension. Whether using spy-craft action set-pieces or more human conflicts among characters, “The Americans” is often an edge-of-your-seat series. With that said, the early episodes of Season 3 ratchet the tension up another level.

http://www.columbusalive.com/content/st ... -ever.html
The juxtaposition of domestic banality with covert, often erotic peril has never been more unsettling.

The Americans returns for a third season packed with tension, raw-nerve melodrama and enough levels of ambiguity, moral and psychological, to satisfy the most gluttonous appetite for the stuff. With, in short, all that has distinguished this series from its beginning.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-america ... 1421979234
This might be a philosophical season of The Americans, but like any good countercultural force, it still gets its thrills from sex and violence. B+


3rd best show on metacritic's 2014 Critic's poll - http://www.metacritic.com/feature/tv-cr ... ws-of-2014
6th best show on Hitflix's 2014 Critic's poll - http://www.hitfix.com/news/tvcriticspoll/

Season 1 -

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Wednesdays in the US.

The Americans is a period drama about the complex marriage of two KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C. shortly after Ronald Reagan is elected President. The arranged marriage of Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell), who have two children – 13-year-old Paige (Holly Taylor) and 10-year-old Henry (Keidrich Sellati), who know nothing about their parents’ true identity – grows more passionate and genuine by the day, but is constantly tested by the escalation of the Cold War and the intimate, dangerous and darkly funny relationships they must maintain with a network of spies and informants under their control. Complicating their relationship further is Philip’s growing sense of affinity for America’s values and way of life. Tensions also heighten upon the arrival of a new neighbor, Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich), an FBI agent. Stan and his partner, Agent Chris Amador (Maximiliano Hernández), are members of a new division of Counterintelligence tasked with fighting against foreign agents on U.S. soil, including KGB Directorate S illegals, Russian spies posing as Americans.

http://stage.fxnetworks.com/theamericans/



Q) When's it on in the UK?
A) 1st episode is on Saturday June 1st at 10pm on ITV1
Q) Has it been renewed?
A) Yes, for a 13 episode 2nd season.

Critics Choice Awards Nominees

BEST DRAMA SERIES
Matthew Rhys BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Keri Russell BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Noah Emmerich BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Based on the admittedly small sample size of two episodes, The Americans feels like it could very comfortably slot in with the upper tier of FX dramas. That's about as good as it gets. A-

The Americans is outstanding television: It pops and crackles like only expert genre entertainment can.

The Americans enthralls with its complexities, simplicities and overall derring-do. GRADE: A-

The Americans might take a while to find its footing — most shows do; but it already has a personality, a pulse of life. I have no idea how long it can sustain its premise without seeming repetitious, but for now, I’m hooked.

It’s a fresh, compelling story about a couple of KGB operatives pretending to live the American dream as a married couple with kids in suburban Washington, D.C. 3.5 out of 4 stars.

The Americans isn't just a heart-pounding action drama; by presenting heroes who are also villains, it also confronts viewers with TV's deepest moral dilemma since "The Sopranos."


83% average on metacritic - http://www.metacritic.com/tv/the-americans

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Just finished watching the premiere which was easily the best of this TV season.


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Last edited by Monkey Man on Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:38 am, edited 39 times in total.
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fathom
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PostRe: The Americans, Wednesdays in the US - 1st ep out now
by fathom » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:32 pm

Just watched the first episode, and definitely agree it's easily the best pilot I've seen this year, excellent stuff.

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Crimson
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PostRe: The Americans, Wednesdays in the US - 1st ep out now
by Crimson » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:49 pm

Pretty good first episode, I'll be sticking with it.

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Garth
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PostRe: The Americans, Wednesdays in the US - 1st ep out now
by Garth » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:50 pm

Interesting, will give it a go.

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1cmanny1
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PostRe: The Americans, Wednesdays in the US - 1st ep out now
by 1cmanny1 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:44 am

It was very good. The only thing I am worried about is them being too anti Russian and pro Merica.

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Alvin Flummux
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PostRe: The Americans, Wednesdays in the US - 1st ep out now
by Alvin Flummux » Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:22 pm

I want to download this, but the torrent files aren't working with BitTorrent. In fact, none are.

Jupiter is in your sun sign this week, making it pretty crowded in there, what with Jupiter being the largest of the planets and all.
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PostRe: The Americans, Wednesdays in the US - 1st ep out now
by Crimson » Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:27 pm

1cmanny1 wrote:It was very good. The only thing I am worried about is them being too anti Russian and pro Merica.


Seeing as it's an American made show I think that's unfortunately inevitable.

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PostRe: The Americans, Wednesdays in the US - 1st ep out now
by 1cmanny1 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:16 pm

Alvin Flummux wrote:I want to download this, but the torrent files aren't working with BitTorrent. In fact, none are.


The one I tried did.

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PostRe: The Americans, Wednesdays in the US - 1st ep out now
by Alvin Flummux » Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:30 am

1cmanny1 wrote:
Alvin Flummux wrote:I want to download this, but the torrent files aren't working with BitTorrent. In fact, none are.


The one I tried did.


I might just need to re-install BitTorrent, because it no longer recognizes any Torrent files at all. Chrome used to open them up in BT upon request, but now doesn't know what program they belong to.

Jupiter is in your sun sign this week, making it pretty crowded in there, what with Jupiter being the largest of the planets and all.
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Garth
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PostRe: The Americans, Wednesdays in the US - 1st ep out now
by Garth » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:43 pm

Enjoyed it, chase sequence at the start with the Fleetwood Mac track was fun:


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HSH28
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PostRe: The Americans, Wednesdays in the US - 1st ep out now
by HSH28 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:41 pm

Yeah music was excellent, can't beat a bit of Fleetwood Mac.

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Monkey Man
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PostRe: The Americans, Wednesdays in the US - 2nd ep out now
by Monkey Man » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:25 pm

Very good 2nd ep. A nice mix of short, medium and long-term storylines. A good mix of spying, family and Feds as well.

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Crimson
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PostRe: The Americans, Wednesdays in the US - 2nd ep out now
by Crimson » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:17 am

It was good although I'm finding it a bit hit and miss with some of the dialogue and tone. It's been very procedural so far which worries me but I'm sure they'll start getting the arcs in place soon.

Also, having been burning through House of Cards, weekly TV viewing is already starting to feel archaic.

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PostRe: The Americans, Wednesdays in the US - 2nd ep out now
by tomvek » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:16 am

Really enjoyed the first episode :)

Some cool cast members, I'll definitely have to watch the rest of the series now.

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Memento Mori
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PostRe: The Americans, Wednesdays in the US - 2nd ep out now
by Memento Mori » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:32 am

Episode 2 had 40% less viewers than episode 1. I liked it though.

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Alvin Flummux
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PostRe: The Americans, Wednesdays in the US - 2nd ep out now
by Alvin Flummux » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:41 pm

Memento Mori wrote:Episode 2 had 40% less viewers than episode 1.


It's doomed.

Jupiter is in your sun sign this week, making it pretty crowded in there, what with Jupiter being the largest of the planets and all.
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1cmanny1
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PostRe: The Americans, Wednesdays in the US - 2nd ep out now
by 1cmanny1 » Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:59 pm

It wasn't as good, for example who the strawberry float was this blond chick?

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PostRe: The Americans, Wednesdays in the US - 3rd ep out now
by Monkey Man » Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:30 am

Good ep, great to see Margo Martindale join the cast.

Ratings from the record breaking debut to the 2nd episode only fell 27% after +3 data so all looking good - http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2013/0 ... ta/169286/

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PostRe: The Americans, Wednesdays in the US - 3rd ep out now
by Garth » Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:06 am

Really liking this show so far, I find the good guy/bad guy conflict with characters like Philip to be very interesting.

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PostRe: The Americans, Wednesdays in the US - 3rd ep out now
by tomvek » Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:54 am

It a very enjoyable little series so far, wasn't expecting to like it this much. Also loving the casting.

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