A new season of The Americans starts tonight and I couldn’t be more excited. Despite the fact that no one seems to watch it (probably because F/X decided to stream the show with Amazon Prime instead of the much more ubiquitous Netflix), The Americans is quite possibly the best show on T.V. I like to think of it as being a mix between Alias (it’s a spy show with amazingly bad wigs), a period show with great attention to details (a la Mad Men, though The Americans is set in the 1980s), and a straight up action/drama (think: 24, Homeland, etc.). The acting is always good. The story lines are complicated, filled with tension, and almost always emotional. And the concept is fascinating: Two Soviet agents are groomed to pose as an American married couple in order to go deep undercover in the suburbs of Washington, D.C…. and they have two American children who know nothing about mom and dad’s spy games. It’s a brilliant set up!
I think the comparison to Alias highlights what’s best about The Americans. It’s got all the crazy undercover, wig-wearing, secret-identities-in-the-suburbs kinda thing that Alias did so well, but it’s also much more serious, more grounded, and ultimately more political than Alias ever was or ever tried to be. The Americans is as much a show about loyalty, patriotism, marriage, family, country, violence, and government as it is about spies spying. And even though it’s set in the 80s, it’s still dealing with relevant political and moral issues.
Also, did I mention the bad wigs? They’re hilarious.
Season three starts tonight, and I can’t wait.