The Americans on FX

I wasn’t planning on writing about this show, or at least doing a regular review of it. I don’t review everything I watch and you would be horrified if I did.  Or at least as horrified as my wife is at some of the crap I watch.  But this show, The Americans, isn’t crap.  At least of the shows I’ve seen this season, this is the best new drama to come out of TV in a while.   And yes, that is high praise considering how the quality of scripted dramas has improved over the past couple of years, due in part to the rise in original programming on basic and premium cable (sorry networks!).

My wife had wanted to watch this show when it premiered, and I agreed to watch it with her in the hopes that this would be a show that we could both like and watch together.  Because couples have to do things together, right?  However she was asleep before the opening scene.  I decided to stick it out and was glad I did. The basic gist of the show is that it’s about two Soviet KGB agents under deep cover in the US during the early 1980’s.  Living as man and wife, they speak perfect English; they have established cover identities, and to friends and neighbors appear to be a typical, middle class American couple.  A middle class couple that responds to orders from Moscow, kidnaps defectors, and kills if necessary to keep their secrets.  All the while driving their kids to after school activities and playing catch.  What could be more American?

Events in the pilot episode lead the KGB agents into trying to make their fake marriage a real one and the way the parent their children, who of course have no idea of their parents real identities or purpose, makes for some fascinating family drama.  Adding to the mix is an American FBI agent who works in counterintelligence who moves in across the street.  Not exactly the type of new neighbor these spies want.  Did he move there because the FBI is on to them?  Is he suspicious?  It all adds up to make a tense, neighborly relationship.

So why am I writing about this show now if I didn’t intend to review it?  Last night’s episode was fantastic.  It follows the day that Reagan was shot, following both the FBI and the KGB spies, forcing both to take big risks to get information that their respective governments need urgently.  I was blown away by the episode and thought to myself, “Self, shouldn’t others know about this show?”

Unsurprisingly I agreed.

So we’re only 3 episodes in so there is time to catch up with the show either online or on demand.  Frankly, there are plenty of ways to catch up, and I would do it before Moscow finds out.