Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Americans on FX: are you watching it?

Are you guys aware of the new FX channel show The Americans? Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys play two Soviet spies pretending to live regular suburban American lives as a married couple in a Washington, DC suburb in 1981.

The show premiered last week and even though I love the concept, I didn't necessarily love *it*. However, I liked it enough to want to keep watching. Apparently, one of the creators of the show (Joe Weisberg) was an FBI agent in the 80s so I trust that the show is not entirely exaggerated.

As you can probably imagine, I was least interested in the typical, spy action scenes. I don't know if we live in different times or simply have seen too many movies, but I am no longer surprised that some people among us are trained killing machines. What grabbed me the most in the first episode and what I look forward to from the series, are the less bombastic moments when we are faced with the humanity of these people: carrying on their shoulders the weigh of a regime that we, as viewers, know is about to collapse AND balancing that with the day-to-day business of being married in a world that is not entirely their own.

Let me know if you guys are watching it and if you liked the first episode so far. Also, do you have favorite Cold War themed movies, TV shows and books?


  1. I hadn't heard of it, but now I want to watch it!

    1. I think you can watch it online a couple of days after the show airs. I haven't seen the second episode yet but I am excited!

  2. I'm always sceptical about americans trying to depict russian characters. They look so devoid of the original spirit.

    I remember a book about the Cold War named "Aquarium" by the former USSR spy Victor Suvorov, who later was sentenced to death for sharing secrets with the West. He was an agent of the Soviet's CIA (GRU) - an organization, which unlike KGB had been completely unknown by the public until the end of the regime and the sole mentioning of its name could lead to your demise.

    I can't remember any guns at all in the story, only pure madness. It was a story of power, betrayal of friends and total lack of human values. Also about certain change in one's reasoning. I remember a small episode of his "private" life. He was lying naked on a forest anthill, bitten by thousand ants, so their poison (formic acid) would preserve his skin and he can continue to look young for a long time...

    I don't know about the american agents, but when you read this book you understand that there's no place for humanity in a system based on the belief in the eternal State.

  3. I just started watching it yesterday. I was intrigued for the same reasons as you Petya- wanted to see how the human drama of these two misplaced characters will eveolve.

    I too didn't "love it" but liked it enough to continue watching. I have to admit I didn't miss watching "Nashville" at the same time though. And Nashville has been all the rave for us "Nashvillians" for the past two seasons ;)

    What I find most fascinating about "The Americans" is that history has moved so much just in my lifetime (which in less than 40 years I still consider short) that Americans have allowed themselves to portray Russian spy characters with endearment and the FBI guys as the bad guys.