Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"The Americans" (as in, a TV show by that name)

(Note: this post contains no spoilers.)

We don't watch as much television as we used to, and we almost never watch shows from the beginning. But I thought FX's new show The Americans sounded interesting. Basic premise: Russian spies living as incredibly convincing undercover Americans in the early 1980s.

I guess I've always had a kind of infatuation with the Cold War era. I'm too young to have lived it (mostly), so it's strictly history to me, and I'm kind of curious from a historical perspective what things like were then with the Soviet Union, compared to today with countries like Iran, or something. Russia also has this "mystique" about it - maybe it's just their wacky alphabet - that interests me in a strange way. So, it's refreshing to see a Cold War drama where the Russians are the main characters, rather than the other way around.

The series is two episodes in, and so far, I like it. This show is kind of like Breaking Bad where the main characters are the bad guys, but not completely, because they're humanized far more than your typical villians. So, it's tricky: are we supposed to be rooting for these guys, or not? With Breaking Bad, do we want Walter White to get caught, or live happily ever after with his millions of dollars? Same thing with The Americans - do we want the Russian spies to be successful, or do we want the U.S. Government to win?

Thinking long term for where this show might go, here's the most likely scenario: the Russian spies eventually defect, and everybody wins! (Except for the big bad USSR, of course.) Of course, that's not going to happen for a while, or else there's no show. Well...I suppose the the show could evolve from "Russian spies versus America" into "former Russian spies versus Russia", but I hope that doesn't happen for a long while, if ever, because I think the current premise is far more interesting and unique.

Here's another Breaking Bad parallel: while Walter has his brother-in-law Hank, the DEA agent who has been trying to catch Walter (unbeknownst to him, of course) for the better part of five season, the Russian spies have a neighbor who happens to work for FBI Counter Intelligence. How long before the FBI agent figures it out? Will it take him as long as it took Hank? ... Actually, here's something: why don't the Russian spies, you know, move? Not right away, of course, because that would be suspicious - in fact, the FBI agent is already a little suspicious of the undercover Russians - but maybe after a few months?

So, anyway...Wednesdays at 10 PM on FX. Yeah.

1 comment:

amber said...

Breaking Bad stopped being tricky for me after the first season - I want Walter to get caught. Maybe that's why I eventually stopped watching :)