Thursday, February 27, 2014
THE AMERICANS Season One was terrific. I think it should have been all over the Golden Globes and Emmys.
Season Two (Wednesdays at 10 on FX) started tonight with a great show: tense, violent, suggestive, complex.
at the Hamptons International Film Festival 2005
Photo by Eric Roffman
Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys play Elizabeth and Henry Jennings, a married couple, raising their two children in Washington DC. This nuclear American family is living the American Dream during the later years of the Cold War. Except this dream is something of a nightmare.
They are actually deeply implanted Russian KGB agents. They conduct lethal anti-American operations, while maintaining a perfectly normal life in the suburbs across the street from an FBI counter-intelligence officer, Stan Beeman (played by Noah Emmerich) with whom they socialize.
This season, Stan is trying to identify and eliminate two deadly KGB operatives, and Elizabeth and Henry's young-teenish daughter is getting curious about her parents.
Every operation they take on is high-stakes, exciting, and the possibility of being discovered seems to escalate with every episode. In addition, the premise of the series itself, with the two lead characters being vicious anti-American killers, constantly teeters on the edge of exceeding acceptable limits of sympathy. How do you maintain empathy -- even root for -- characters who in most shows would be the villains, not the heroes?
This series is on a level with RAY DONOVAN and BLACKLIST. Those shows feature great actors leading the action. Keri Russell, I think is brilliant in her complex role. (In fact, I would love to see her focused, strongly motivated (but evil) energy create Lady Macbeth in what could be a breath-taking production.)
THE AMERICANS ON WIKIPEDIA
THE AMERICANS ON IMDB
KERI RUSSELL ON WIKIPEDIA
MATTHEW RHYS ON WIKIPEDIA