The Americans, also known in some circles (i.e. mine) as The Best Show Currently on Television, just hit the halfway point of it’s third season. I’m not a scientist so I have no clue what the ratings are for this show but the show’s audience could very well consist of myself, my wife, our dog, my friend Pete and numerous TV critics. Why is no one talking about this show? Are people talking about this show? How come it’s not trending on The Twitter like every single episode of Scandal is?
Oh wait, it’s because The Americans doesn’t end it’s shows with relevant hash tags splashed across the screen.
This season has easily been the show’s best. Every episode is better than the last one, as if the bar keeps getting higher and higher and regardless of the height, the show leaps over it with ease- donning a fierce wig and rad 80’s clothes in the process.
So really, how is this show not more popular? Why are so many people talking about House of Cards when The Americans is so much better?
I can’t answer these questions because as previously mentioned- I’m not a scientist. What I can do is list twenty things about The Americans– why it’s great, why you should watch and again, why it’s great.
1. Because it’s about spies and spies are never not interesting.
2. Because it takes place in the early 80’s and does so realistically- meaning it’s not cheesy and forced and instead, spot on with it’s historical accuracy.
3. Because the show’s co-leads, Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell, are doing some of the best acting on television right now and the fact that they have yet to be nominated for an Emmy is criminal.
4. Because they will be both nominated for Emmys this year and barring something crazy, will walk away with at least one of them. It’ll probably be for Best Actress because Rhys will most likely lose to Jon Hamm, who deserves some love for his Don Draper.
5. Because it effs with your emotions in the best way possible.
6. Because no really, it does. Rhys and Russell are Russian spies, posing as Americans. Conventional wisdom would have you rooting for them, and more often than not, you are. But then you realize that they are actually kind of the enemy and actually trying to bring down America and actually just killed some dude or gal who didn’t deserve to die and you think yourself, wait, should I be rooting for them? So then you momentarily stop rooting for them. Then you feel guilty and start rooting for them again. This delightful back and forth happens at least five times during one hour long episode.
7. Because in the upside down world of The Americans, you find yourself rooting against the FBI and the show’s third lead, Stan the FBI agent and neighbor of Rhys and Russell.
8. Because yeah, the FBI agent tasked with tracking down and catching Russian spies lives ACROSS THE FREAKIN’ STREET from Russian spies. Dude, he goes to dinner at their house.
9. Because Rhys’ Phillip and Russell’s Elizabeth are bad ass spies and as previously stated, spies are inherently interesting.
10. Because Phillip is married to one of his assets, a loveable, but clueless lady named Martha, who is a secretary at the FBI. Dude, she works with Stan. Martha thinks she’s married to Clark, who is actually Phillip, who is actually a Russian and who is actually…well, you get the point.
11. Because poor Martha is one of the few legitimately sympathetic characters on the show. She really has no clue.
12. Because Phillip and Elizabeth’s two kids are the other legitimately sympathetic characters on the show.
13. Because one of those kids, Paige, is being subtly recruited by Elizabeth to become a spy. You know, Elizabeth…her mother.
14. Because half the show is in Russian and you A) don’t mind and B) find yourself talking in a Russian accent while watching the show.
15. Because it’s fun to ask your significant other if they are a spy or do so in a more clever way like- man, it’s good thing we’re not spies. Then you eyeball them suspiciously to see how they react. (Fact: neither my wife or my dog are Russian spies.)
16. Because every other serious hour long drama has a huge cast and it’s kind of cool to see a show operate so well with such a short bench. It feels like Breaking Bad in that sense. Both shows revolve around a relatively and comparatively small main cast.
17. Because the fact that having such a small main cast would lead you to believe that none of the leads will ever die isn’t a problem. The show is still able to make you think it’s a possibility, if not an inevitability.
18. Because again, The Americans effs with you like no other show is able to. It makes you question right and wrong, allegiances, the idea of trust and so much more.
19. Because it does action without actual action better than most shows do actual action.
20. Because you probably didn’t listen to me when I recommended The Bridge and then that got cancelled. You owe it to yourself and me to watch The Americans so it doesn’t suffer a similar fate as The Bridge and gets cancelled prematurely.
So, yeah…watch The Americans. One episode and you’ll be hooked. Don’t worry. House of Cards will be there when you are done.