The Americans: Season 1 [Blu-ray]
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And what an ambitious premise it is: Set in 1980's Washington D.C., the "Americans" in question are in fact not Americans at all, but Russian sleeper-spies, sent to the U.S. in the 1960's but only being activated (at least for the more dangerous capers) in the 1980's time-frame.
Of course, the first question I asked myself was if they would be able to pull off the 1980's Cold War 'feel'. Personally, I think they were successful at this - the show definitely has that 80's aura, and the period clothing, technology, and mind-sets of the characters is spot-on.
I also really love the way these "Americans" have their own struggles, in addition to the work itself. The characters deal with such issues as their true feelings inside an arranged 'marriage' of long standing, the impact of those feelings on their work, their relationship to their two children (who do not know that their own parents are in fact KGB spies!), the relative levels to which Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Phillip (Matthew Rhys) have been assimilated into the evil capitalistic culture of America, and perhaps the best part of all - their struggles in dealing with their new KGB 'handler' Claudia, played magnificently by Margo Martindale.
The characters are very likeable and appropriately conflicted, if flawed, and not since Tony Soprano have I found myself 'rooting for the bad guys' to this extent. The acting on the part of the entire cast is great, the writing tight, and I don't feel as though things are being dragged out endlessly - the show moves along, which is good.
Here's hoping that S2 will be as good as S1. If so, we are in for a wild ride indeed!
Astutely written, immaculately cast from top to bottom and always directed with the utmost flair it's impossible not to marvel at the sheer cleverness of the whole enterprise. A cynic might proclaim how unbelievable is its premise but to them I would simply say, go look at the credentials of its executive producer (a former CIA officer) or do some rudimentary research into real-life spy Anna Chapman. If you still feel you can't suspend your disbelief, d'you know what? It simply doesn't matter (because you soon will.) The ingenuity of the plotting, the confidence of its execution, and not least the mesmerising performance of Keri Russell makes it impossible to look away. Drama this good improves the quality of your life.
Oh, and the wedding in the penultimate episode is worth the admission price alone.
This show is very well done.
When I missed an episode and couldn't wait for it to pop up on on Demand, I went the Amazon route and it was a good experience.
Combining elements of a domestic drama with that of an espionage thriller, "The Americans" is set in the Reagan administration eighties when the Cold War was in full affect. On the surface, Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings and their two children are the ideal suburban family. Living in a tranquil Washington DC neighborhood, they run a successful travel agency and do all the things that happy families in America are supposed to do. There's just one catch, though. The Jennings are really Soviet agents implanted into the United States, their marriage is just an assignment, and they use their business to cover for their information gathering missions. One of the show's most successful elements is in developing this central relationship.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Terrific show FOR binge watching. Pilot leaves a lot of questions, but all becomes sort of clear as season proceeds.Published 19 minutes ago by Barry
Interesting concept to tell the story from the Russian's perspective.Published 1 hour ago by Donna Dayton
This is a wonderfully disturbing show. I love it can't get enough.Published 1 hour ago by Amazon Customer
Very good twists... Makes you wonder about spies in America!Published 2 hours ago by Dominoes player
This show had a lot of promise... Has a great idea.... but it doesn't really go anywhere. Very anti-climatic..... Read morePublished 2 hours ago by Mrizvi
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