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Second time round, this 80s spy drama is still watchable – if you can get past the ridiculous wigs
When The Americans (ITV) arrived on UK screens last year, it promised to be another addition to the pantheon of watercooler Us dramas. It had the spy fun of Homeland and the tension of 24, with a dash of absurdity in the form of an increasingly preposterous rotation of wigs and an 80s Mor soundtrack. It was Rock of Ages without Tom Cruise but with a Kgb subplot. Yet somehow, it lost its grip on me quickly.
The second season feels like a good time to give it another go. It's acclaimed and enormously popular in the Us. In the UK, it remains in the Saturday-evening slot that it had for its first run, which means that for those watching it in real time, it awkwardly follows the weekend joviality of Ant and Dec »
- Rebecca Nicholson
The Voice UK: BBC One, 7pm
The first rounds of the knockouts begin tonight in a double dose weekend extravaganza.
As the competition heats up, Ricky starts to channel will.i.am's quirky catchphrases and Kylie tries to put Sir Tom Jones in his place.
Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway: ITV, 7pm
The geordie duo prank Holly Willoughby in their latest undercover job.
Appearing on Surprise, Surprise, they convince Holly that she is reuniting charity worker Annabel with her boyfriend Richard.
Annabel's favourite band Blue also feature and perform live as part of the prank.
The Americans: ITV, 9:20pm
In this opener, Elizabeth is »
The Americans is many things — an espionage drama, a domestic drama, a period piece. And it does many things well — those perfectly timed eighties music cues, those dazzling hand-to-hand combat scenes, the painfully real moments of marital bickering. But there is but one thing in particular that we can't stop thinking about: the wigs. Wigs, wigs, wigs, wigs, wigs — The Americans is a wig bacchanalia, disguising its leads week to week in different (sometimes garish, sometimes sexy) hairdos. Good Lord, this show loves its wigs. Here's every wig we've seen so far on Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, from vixen to doofy bureaucrat. »
- Margaret Lyons,Paolo Lorenzana
One of the most immediately attractive things in the first season of The Americans was the period soundtrack. Just in the pilot, the story was structured in a way to get the most out of what many people might have considered overplayed songs. Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” and Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” book-ended the beefy [&hellip
The Americans 2.03 Review: “The Walk In” »
- Sean Colletti
The Americans aired its first great second-season episode last night, "The Walk-In." With its intricately arranged scenes of espionage and domestic distress, plus some characteristically clever use of flashbacks to beef up characters who were killed off before we really got a chance to know them, this was very close to a perfect hour, capped with one of the show's trademark Deep Cuts montages, this one set to Peter Gabriel's "Here Comes the Flood."The episode also distributed its attention almost evenly between every major character — including Paige, who snuck away, hopped a bus, and went on a mission to locate Aunt Helen (a mysterious and undefined character who is most definitely not related to the Jennings). The Aunt Helen business was one of the eerier one-episode subplots in the show's brief history. It crossed the domestic and spy aspects of the series in a series of moments that »
- Matt Zoller Seitz
We’re now sixteen episodes into The Americans and the one thing that we’ve never been privy to is Philip and Elizabeth’s life before we met them proper. We’ve had bits and pieces like Elizabeth’s horrifying rape or Philip’s past life with the agent but its been intermittent and overall, that’s never been the focus of the show, and it’s sad because there’s so much gold to mine there. And the writers have decided that now’s the perfect time to start that ball rolling. There’s insight into the past of Elizabeth and Philip when they make that milestone decision to start their family or little moments between Elizabeth and Leanne talk about their children while spying on a target.
The season seems to be more or less »
- Nathan Smith
Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Phillip (Matthew Rhys) are still grieving the death of their spy friends, Leanne and Emmett, not to mention their daughter Amelia, and it is certainly taking its toll on their work. When the couple infiltrates a naval shipyard, Elizabeth is faced with hurting a worker, Derek (David T. Koenig). Crowbar in hand, she should hurt him or kill him, but she doesn’t. He shows her a picture of his three children, and she decides to take a photo as a threat to him instead of resorting to physical harm. She doesn’t want to make his children orphans.
Elizabeth Visits Jared
To the casual observer, Elizabeth Jennings is still a paragon of Directorate S: During this week's rather mundane mission, which was to steal propeller schematics from a factory mid-move (thank you, Brush-Pass Fred for the heads up), all she needed was to fondle a crowbar and pocket the photo of a low-level cog's youngest son to ensure his silence. There was no physical harm, there were no threats – yet Keri Russell gave off such a menacing vibe with her understated mannerisms that I wasn't so sure Derek was going to »
A review of tonight's "The Americans" coming up just as soon as I find Polaris... Music montages have become a dramatic crutch for many dramas. Though some shows still use them well, others use it as filler, or as the simplest way to wrap up any episode. "The Americans" has been very smart in its overall musical choices so far, and judicious in its use of montages, and the one that closes "The Walk-In" is a marvel. It presents the work and personal sides of the Jennings family all sliding against one another, as Philip and Elizabeth keep finding their role as Kgb spies and their roles as American parents in conflict. Philip has just had to play both parts at once in scolding Paige for lying to them and looking for "Aunt Helen" — a frustrating thing for a dad, a terrifying thing for a sleeper agent — and now he »
- Alan Sepinwall
CBS has set up a site for fans of How I Met Your Mother to send a farewell message through various social media sites. The collection of sentiment is enough to make me stop muttering about how the comedy should have ended seasons ago.
Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss tell EW that they see a seven-season run for the fantasy drama. “Seven gods, seven kingdoms, seven seasons. It feels right to us.” I’d find that comforting, but that also leaves a good amount of time for things to go wrong.
Then again, how wrong can things get as long as Lady Olenna keeps dropping the quips.
Based on my experience with The Vampire Diaries, my reaction to hearing about the surprise departure on The Originals was a shrug, but that’s based entirely on how irritating the character was on The Vampire Diaries. For »
- Lyle Masaki
Not to sound paranoid, but I’m convinced my phone’s been tapped. Not on an ongoing basis, you understand, just a one off, but it’s hard to shake off that nagging feeling. I suppose that’s what I get for having a pre-arranged, transatlantic phone call with a former CIA agent.
Ok, maybe that’s a little crazy, but the agent in question, series creator and show runner of The Americans, Joe Weisberg is still very much in contact with the Agency, and still has to submit scripts for security approval before they’re shot. A fact that amuses and interests his writing partner, Joel Fields.
“We write our scripts together so it’s always amusing,” Weisberg explains, “Whenever a script comes back from that and they just write the script has been approved, he wants to know what they think, ‘did they like it? Can’t you »
- Ben Mortimer
Paranoia is swallowing The Americans. At first it seems odd that you can feel it so keenly in every scene, given that this is a show about spies, and spies are by nature paranoid. But here Philip and Elizabeth are, looking nervously at everyone and everything, because they fear that in the next moment they could lose their children.Elizabeth seems to have been hit especially hard; throughout "Cardinal," which was written by series creator Joe Weisberg and executive producer Joel Fields and directed by Daniel Sackheim, she keeps looking out of the windows of her house, staring at the maintenance van across the street and wondering if it contains assassins. Does someone want them dead? Who killed fellow Kgb agents Emmett and Leanne in the hotel at the park? Why did they kill their daughter, too? There's a disquieting suggestion that the sole survivor of the massacre, a teenage boy, »
- Matt Zoller Seitz
You know how it is - you're trying to plan your telly watching for the coming weeks but the upcoming schedules have more holes than a doughnut factory.
When will The Americans be returning to ITV?
Soon, comrade! Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell are back to remind us of a time when Russia was really scary, as opposed to just quite scary in season two of The Americans on Saturday, March 15 at 9.20pm.
In the premiere, our favourite Kgb agents in disguise get the jitters after their son Henry's 'birthday weekend' turns into a mission that leaves a few people dead. And to think, we declared our last birthday a disaster just because we were given the wrong colour iPhone 5c. »
The Americans Season 2, Episode 2 “Cardinal”
Directed by Daniel Sackheim
Airs Wednesday nights at 10pm Et on FX
With everyone reeling from the climatic events of “Comrades”, there really isn’t a lot of progress made in “Cardinal”; in the narrative sense, this hour represents the time in between chess moves, with each side re-gathering and assessing their current situation. However, there is a lot more at stake than a few glass game pieces, a fact “Cardinal” refuses to shy away from, forcing Elizabeth and Philip to face the one fear they’ve never experienced before: fear for the lives of their children, now undeniably a part of the shit storm that ended the season premiere.
There really isn’t much going on but some table-setting in “Cardinal”; Paige is growing more suspicious (even calling to look up the name and address on one of »
- Randy Dankievitch
There's nothing like an incredibly satisfying denouement to a TV episode: The creation of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce at the end of "Shut the Door, Have a Seat" (Mad Men); Jesse Pinkman calling 911 to rescue a little boy from his neglectful meth-head parents in "Peekaboo" (Breaking Bad); and now, Elizabeth Jennings admitting, out loud, that her chosen profession has put her children's lives at risk in "Cardinal" (The Americans). There was plenty of tension throughout the episode – it's impressive Elizabeth found the time to play a board game with her kids, »
The FX period drama The Americans is back for Season 2, as it follows the complex marriage of two Kgb spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C., shortly after Ronald Reagan is elected President. The arranged marriage of Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell), whose 14-year-old daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) and 11-year-old son Henry (Keidrich Sellati) know nothing about their parents’ true identity, is becoming more genuine, as the escalation of the Cold War makes everything more dangerous. During this exclusive interview with Collider, actress Keri Russell talked about the endless complications for characters living in a spy world, how Season 2 gets more layered and rich, that Elizabeth is really knocked off of her center after the events of last season, where things are at now between Elizabeth and Phillip, how much she enjoys the bad-ass fight scenes, how happy she was to get Margo Martindale back »
- Christina Radish
The notion of Keri Russell, still fixed in the minds of so many as the namesake star of small screen college drama “Felicity,” playing a deep-cover Russian operative in a period piece spy drama like “The Americans” always seemed like something of a stretch. But, opposite costar Matthew Rhys, Russell reliably helps anchor FX’s chess-game serial, returning this month for its second season. Created by Joe Weisberg, an ex-cia agent of four years and the brother of Slate Group editor-in-chief Jacob Weisberg, “The Americans” is a meat-and-potatoes show whose classic conflict set-up and intriguing explorations of moored (and unmoored) personal identity amidst chronic, ingrained deceit win out over some occasionally soapier instincts. As such, it seems [ Read More ]
The brand new and critical acclaimed series The Americans follows the lives of Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) – a seemingly normal, suburban couple living in Washington DC with their unsuspecting children. To celebrate the Home Entertainment release on March 3rd, we’ve got an exclusive deleted scene to share with you!
However, behind closed doors there is a different story of espionage and deception. The Jennings are actually undercover soviet Kgb officers, aiming to lead an outwardly inconspicuous life while secretly waiting for their cues from the Russian government. What ensues is an edgy and sexy tale of lies as they continue to convince their children, as well as their new and suspicious FBI agent neighbour Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) who specialises in cracking down on Russian spies, that they are the wholesome family they appear.
Let us know if you’ve been watching the show and »
- Dan Bullock
Michelle Obama is reportedly taking her charm to Parks And Recreation for the show’s season finale. How do we think Leslie Knope will fare alongside the first lady? [Splitsider] We know you watched (or at least DVR’d) last night’s premiere of The Americans’ second season. So now that you’re in full ’80s mode, check out the show’s star, Matthew Rhys, recite the intro from his favorite TV series of the decade, The A-Team. Ever wonder how Sarah Jessica Parker stays so positive? The former Sex And The City star revealed that she doesn’t Google herself and stumble across negativity from her haters. We’re glad Sjp knows better than to give in to the folks »
- Rahsheeda Ali
The Season 2 premiere of FX’s spy drama “The Americans” held both bad and good ratings news for the series Wednesday night. The premiere dropped off heavily from last year’s season premiere, but landed on a par with the show’s Season 1 average. According to preliminary numbers, the Season 2 premiere of “The Americans” — which stars Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell as a pair of Reagan-era Russian spies going undercover as a suburban American couple — drew 1.9 million total viewers, a 41 percent decline from last January’s series premiere. Also read: ‘The Americans’ Review: Cold War, Slow Burn In the 18- »
- Tim Kenneally
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