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 for a bit of this season, and why she loves working with director Thomas Schlamme. She also talked about her experience making Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and how she owes her casting in the film to director Matt Reeves, who created the TV series Felicity with J.J. Abrams. Check out what she had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
Sometimes a good drama takes a turn that makes it a great drama. With its explosive premiere, The Americans seems poised to make that leap. After a good inaugural season, the show still had some problems, mostly related to its quasi-procedural aspects. But its strongest point was always the interpersonal relationships, particularly between Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip (Matthew Rhys) Jennings. This new season of the show has already capitalized on that in a huge way, and while there are some things about it that are still deeply tied to the spy genre, the show has now opened itself up in ways that look to change it forever. Hit the jump for more.
This week’s new Blu-ray releases include a Diamond Edition of Walt Disney’s last film, the latest season of one of the most engrossing shows currently on television, a Best Picture winner, a current Oscar nominee, and more. Briefly:
This weekend we saw three more critics groups announce awards for the 2013 movie season, and now it’s the American Film Institute’s turn. Today, AFI unveiled its Top 10 films and TV shows of the year, and the film list includes Oscar frontrunners Gravity and 12 Years a Slave as well as burgeoning contenders like American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Her. Over on the TV side of things, usual suspects like Mad Men and Breaking Bad made the cut, but so did Netflix’s original series House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black as well as Showtime’s Masters of Sex and ABC’s smash hit Scandal. The sole comedy on the list of HBO’s excellent Veep.
Hit the jump to check out the full Top 10 lists for movies and television.
FX has announced winter premiere dates for a few of its series. As previously announced, Ali G: Rezurection will premiere in February on FXX. Briefly:
- Archer – Season five of the hilarious animated comedy series will debut on Monday, January 13th at 10pm on FX, and it will remain on the new night for the duration of its 13-episode season.
- Justified – Season five of the beloved drama series will premiere on Tuesday, January 7th at 10pm ET on FX, kicking off 13 all new episodes that revolve around Timothy Olyphant’s Raylan Givens confronting the Crowes, “a deadly, lawless family from Florida intent on settling in Harlan with new criminal enterprises in mind.”
- Chozen – The new animated comedy series centering on a gay white rapper fresh out of prison will have its series debut on Monday, January 13th at 10:30pm on FX after Archer. The show features the voices of Bobby Moynihan, Hannibal Buress, Michael Pena, Nick Swardson, Kathryn Hahn, and Method Man.
- The Americans – Season two of the excellent drama series will return to FX on an unspecified date in February. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys star.
Hit the jump to read the full press release.
Nominations for the 2013 Critics’ Choice Television Awards have been announced, and along with plenty of welcome surprises there are a couple of snubs that are likely to have people talking. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the highlights:
- Best Drama Series nominees include Game of Thrones, Homeland, Breaking Bad, and FX’s excellent new series The Americans. Conspicuously absent is Mad Men, which only scored one nomination overall for Elisabeth Moss as Lead Actress.
- Best Comedy Series nominees include Louie, New Girl, Parks and Recreation, and Veep, with Emmy favorite Modern Family failing to land a nomination along with last year’s winner Community. Instead, ABC sitcom The Middle made the cut.
- Netflix’s House of Cards scored two nominations for Best Actor (Kevin Spacey) and a very deserved Best Supporting Actor nod for Corey Stoll.
- David Lynch landed a Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series nom for his excellent work in Louie, and Happy Endings alums Casey Wilson and Adam Pally were recognized in the supporting categories.
- The love it/loathe it HBO comedy Girls didn’t get a Best Comedy Series nod, but received acting nominations for Lena Dunham, Alex Karpovsky, and Patrick Wilson.
- FX’s American Horror Story and CBS’ The Big Bang Theory scored the most nominations with six each, topping all other programs.
Hit the jump to check out the full list of nominees, and sound off in the comments with your thoughts on the lineup. The awards will be handed out on June 10th.
The Americans is FX’s period drama about the complex and complicated marriage of two KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington, D.C., shortly after Ronald Reagan was elected President. Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth (Keri Russell) have a network of spies and informants under their control, while their two children – 13-year-old Paige (Holly Taylor) and 10-year-old Henry (Keidrich Sellati) – know nothing about their parents’ true identity. Even though Philip’s growing affinity for America’s values and way of life leads to tension with Elizabeth, the two must work together to keep the FBI from discovering who they really are.
During this recent interview to look back on Season 1 and ahead to Season 2, executive producers Joseph Weisberg and Joel Fields talked about the origin of the series, finding the perfect lead actors, determining how much of a cliffhanger they wanted to end on, where they’re hoping to take Season 2, their possible plans for the kids and their inevitable suspicions, and that they’ll have to get to work pretty quickly on the second season. Check out what they had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
This is how The Americans ends / This is how The Americans ends / not with a bang but a whimper. The Americans was renewed for a second season, which is good since pretty much everything that was happening before is still in play. “The Colonel” could technically have worked as a series finale I suppose, though the only thing that made it feel like a season finale rather than a regular episode was that several subplots were wrapped up neatly and nicely — “nice” being the operative word. For a show that has been so languid and complex, things in “The Colonel” moved rather rotely. As it was, the big build up to the “is it or isn’t it a trap” moment was as predictable as anything the show has ever done. Hit the jump for why “you know you’re not allowed to wake up mom.”
Things really picked up this week on The Americans as we barreled towards next week’s finale. It’s hard to believe we’ve spent twelve weeks with the show, but the payoffs are finally coming, and, meanwhile, they are developping in very strange ways. Philip, as Clark, takes things to a whole new level with Martha, leaving both him and Elizabeth wondering what went wrong in their marriage, while Nina finds out the information she has been seeking, even if it wasn’t offered. Many have died for the cause so far, both American and Russian, but The Americans was quiet on the action this week, though high on emotion. Hit the jump for why if she sounds like Pat Benatar, she probably is righteous.
The Americans has its flaws, but the one thing it gets really right — and that it dedicated almost all of “Covert War” to — is its bleak deconstruction of marriage. The Americans has always been dour, and it’s not a show I ever get excited about watching. But once I’m in the show’s world, I’m interested to see how things play out. “Covert War,” though, highlighted some of the best things about The Americans, and in the process, made everyone feel like crap. Hit the jump for why “I only have fear … and you.”
“We’re in a war, even if it’s a secret. Blood gets spilled. It’s the way it goes,” Gaad tells Stan this week on The Americans, and how true it is. But unlike other shows that depict violence, The Americans always makes it personal. The show has gone from being a little sterile to being very emotional, all in the same muted tones of the Cold War it depicts, but those smothering feelings, whispers and quiet anguish make it all the more visceral. A lot of The Americans is built on issues of trust — Elizabeth and Philip need to be trusted by everyone, but they themselves trust no one (not even, sadly, each other; at least, not fully). Stan lies to his wife and to Nina, but they are also forced to trust him whether they want to or not. In war there are always sacrifices, and as we experienced this week, martyrdom. Hit the jump for more about how “we’re not monsters.”
The Americans took a break last week — something FX never does with its dramas — because of filming delays, but “Safe House” was well worth the wait. Things got messy thanks to one personal mistake that lead to a Cold War crisis, and it was handled with controlled chaos. What was great about the confusion and fallout that happened throughout “Safe House” was that it wasn’t arbitrary. On some series, miscommunication and mistakes happen because people don’t speak or are unwilling to ask basic questions or confirm anything (Lost comes to mind, a show where almost no one asked anyone anything obvious). The Americans pulled off an amazing feat of plotting this week by allowing things to happen realistically in turn, and following a situation until its natural, though most extreme, end. Hit the jump for more on why “we should have fried chicken every day!”
The title for The Americans really said it all this week, didn’t it? There is a secret war going on that no one wants to become full-fledged combat, regarding both the U.S. and the Jennings’ marriage. Parallels! That being said, the Jennings’ marriage (one of the strangest yet most honestly portrayed ones on TV) went to some dark, sad places this week whereas the rest of us got a history lesson. I said early on in The Americans that the show presumed probably a little too much from the audience in terms of a deep knowledge / understanding of that time period and the political motivations within it. This week, the show did a good job of having the characters ask some pretty straight-forward questions about why the U.S., if it knows but doesn’t “know” that the Russians are targeting the country, retaliate? “We do not want to start a war,” was the straight-forward reply. Hit the jump for why we just have to “act like nothing happened.”
The subject and nuances of marriage were again at the forefront of this week’s The Americans, and this time it seemed to focus mostly on loyalty (and also, you know, “Duty and Honor”). The Jennings’ uneasy marriage can sometimes be a reflection of their own complicated feelings about their lifelong mission for their country, of which their marriage is an integral part. After several weeks of seeing Elizabeth’s side of things, from her affair with Gregory to hints from her childhood and her initial hesitations at being with Philip in the first place, we finally got to see some of Philip’s background, including a former love, Irina, with whom he is now reuniting. The two were coming together to enact a scheme that would help to discredit a Polish resistance leader who was being sheltered in the United States during his Polish exile. And that was just the beginning — hit the jump for more on why “I’m sorry I didn’t kill you.”
Dobry den, my comrades – The Americans got real tonight, da? Philip and Elizabeth’s story took a surprising turn (quite a few turns, though not quite how I expected), but even they were overshadowed by the tricks Stan pulled to keep Nina from harm, not to mention that haunting interlude where Paige and Henry decided to hitchhike. This was a pretty flawless episode from top to bottom, building off of what we have experienced in the last five weeks (Elizabeth and Philip’s relationship, Stan’s protectiveness towards Nina) and rewarded us for staying true to the cause. Things are coming together as much as they were split asunder this week, and per usual I’m not sure what to expect going forward (one of the series’ greatest traits). But for now, hit the jump for why “I believe in God, not coincidence.”