The Americans


Well-Known Member
Nov 20, 2020
Has anyone hear seen The Americans? I've just finished the final season and i thought it was great, very enjoyable with lots of high tension alongside an interesting character arc.
It's in my top three series of all time, absolute belter. I agree with you on the tension - slowly starts ramping up from the very first episode, and doesn't let up over the course of the entire show. I did a rewatch over the first couple of weeks of lockdown, and the tension was just as effective, despite knowing how it all played out.

*For those who haven't seen the show, who might want to give it a go, but hate having themes highlighted before they watch something, maybe give this post a miss - I'm not convinced there's enough here for a spoiler tag, but it does touch upon the whole series, so continue at your own discretion*

For a show with a cheesy elevator pitch ("So, it's about two KGB spies posing as Americans during the Reagan administration. Oh, they've got two kids. And their new neighbour works for the FBI"), it quickly becomes much more - I've heard it described as one of television's most raw and close to truth explorations of marriage, and that just scratches the surface of a story that is about relationships of all kinds, from friendships, marriage, and family, to a person's relationship with themselves, and even their country.

Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are incredible as the lead couple, Elizabeth and Philip Jennings (Russell particularly so - whilst both have their moments, Elizabeth consistently intimidates and even terrifies me), and their journey over the six series is believable. Something I really appreciate is how you can clearly trace behaviour in later episodes all the way back through previous episodes. The supporting cast are just as terrific, whether they're the recognisable Noah Emmerich, Margo Martindale, and Frank Langella, or faces you might not have seen in other things, like Annet Mahendru, Costa Ronin, Alison Wright, and Holly Taylor.

I've got to mention, as well, the cinematography and the soundtrack. It's not quite there in the first series, but the camera work comes into its own from the second series, with shots and sequences that become as much of the DNA of the show as the story and characters. Whilst the long shots, and chases, and the framing are all beautiful, to me, the show is often at its best when the camera is tightly focused and up close on the action, and as a viewer you become almost intimately involved. And the soundtrack side, can you really say that a show set in the 80s is set in the 80s if it doesn't include a range of 80s hits? The music is used to great effect, sometimes to set the scene, sometimes to enhance scenes, and occasionally it even drives the scene - there are a few examples of songs that are so core, that whenever I've heard them over the past seven years, I've been able to picture the scene playing out clearly. What's more, the team held themselves back from using certain, big name songs until they would have the most impact (and boy, do they have an impact!), so it's not all the same songs you'd usually hear.

Highly recommended. In this era of top-notch television drama, The Americans more than holds it own against shows like Breaking Bad, The Wire, and Sopranos, and often surpasses.
I think it's one of the best TV shows of the past few years. I had felt the penultimate season was maybe starting to get slightly stale but then the final season finished very strongly and I think it's got one of the best final episodes of any show I've seen.

I agree it made great use of music. The dialogue-free With or Without You scene in the finale was particularly memorable.

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