THE AMERICANS Recap: “New Car”

by     Posted 18 hours ago

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The Americans continued to dissect its major theme of loyalty in “New Car.”  An early conversation between Martha and Philip/Clark set it all up: when she objects to continuing to spy on her co-workers, even though those were the circumstances under which they met, he replies, “don’t put me in a position of having to choose between the security of the country and you.”  But both Philip and Elizabeth have been dealing with these issues of loyalty and choice all season, not only in regards to their own family versus their job, but also within their job as well.  In “New Car,” they were confronted with difficult decisions that went against earlier choices, but all of which added to the complexity of the situation, and their emotional responses to it.  Hit the jump for why “it’s nicer, it’s easier; it’s not better.”

FX Renews THE AMERICANS for Season Three

by     Posted Yesterday

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FX has ordered a 13-episode third season of its excellent drama series The Americans.  While I enjoyed but wasn’t over-the-moon about its first season, the current second season of the period spy drama has turned the show into one of the very best on TV—and in this current Golden Age of Television, that’s saying something.  Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys star as sleeper KGB agents living in America as a married couple with two kids during the Reagan-fueled early 1980s.  While on the surface the show is a thrilling spy series, at its heart The Americans is really a portrait of a marriage as told through the incredibly complicated lives of two individuals, with Russell and Rhys regularly turning in brilliantly nuanced performances.  Suffice it to say, I am very much looking forward to The Americans season 3.

Hit the jump to read the full press release, and click here to catch up on Allison’s recaps.  The Americans currently airs on FX Wednesdays at 10pm, with six episodes remaining in the second season.

THE AMERICANS Recap: “Arpanet”

by     Posted 8 days ago

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In “Arpanet,” The Americans really highlighted its time period, more overtly than perhaps ever before.  “Arpanet” itself references what’s considered “the first internet,” a Department of Defense project that used TCP/IP to create an information network for use by scientists, academics, and the military.  In The Americans, Philip uses “a bug the size of a rat” (also known as, essentially, a USB the size of a Mac LC) so that the KGB can monitor American communications, another clever way the show marries its fictional world with the real one.  Hit the jump for why you should always squeeze your anus before you answer a question.

THE AMERICANS Recap: “Behind the Red Door”

by     Posted 15 days ago

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This season, The Americans incorporated a central mystery (“who killed Emmett and Leanne?”) that has driven most of the spy action.  While the show’s greatest strength continues to be the depth and complexity of the emotions of its leads, having them all converge (more or less) under this central mystery umbrella has done wonders for both the plot and character arcs (and a general interest in both).  Now, the Jennings’ day job and their home life are connected in an even deeper way, and its leading to complications on both ends.  But the lesson for all of the characters this week was that emotions have consequences — sometimes deadly ones.  Hit the jump for more.

Executive Producers Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields Talk THE AMERICANS Season 2, Finding the Season Themes, How Far Out They’ve Planned, and More

by     Posted 15 days ago

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The FX period drama The Americans 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, executive producers Joe Weisberg (who also created the show) and Joel Fields talked about looking back at Season 1 before setting out on Season 2, their process for taking walking to talk and reflect on the story, how they find the themes of a season, how much nearly dying will continue to affect Elizabeth, how paranoid Philip and Elizabeth will continue to get, how dangerous Paige’s snooping will be for both her and her parents, and how far ahead they have things planned out.  Check out what they had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.

THE AMERICANS Recap: “The Deal”

by     Posted 22 days ago

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The season, The Americans has been setting up mirrors for Philip and Elizabeth in their personal and professional lives (often both at the same time, since they overlap).  They aren’t always liking what they see.  This complicated confrontation manifested in “The Deal” as a series of conversations Philip had with an Israeli Mossad agent, and some revelations Elizabeth learned about Philip through Martha about “Clarke.”  Often subtle regarding its themes of identity, “The Deal” went whole-hog in expressing the struggle to define it.  Hit the jump for why “we are better at vodka, they are better at tobacco.”

THE AMERICANS Recap: “A Little Night Music”

by     Posted 29 days ago

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“A Little Night Music” (which sounds like it should be the title of a Bob Seger song) brought another narratively and emotionally twisty hour of The Americans.  There are several things that are haunting Philip and Elizabeth, and potentially affecting their work — something Claudia notes.  But Claudia is also a little off, and like everything on the show, suspicion abounds.  Emmett and Leanne’s deaths set off a chain reaction that resonates from the Jennings to Claudia to the Center, Arkady, Stan and everyone.  No one is above the potential for treachery, but the emotions behind each case are bubbling to the surface in a way we haven’t seen before.  Hit the jump … unless you need a higher security clearance.

THE AMERICANS Recap: “The Walk In”

by     Posted 36 days ago

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“The Walk In” was an episode of The Americans steeped in the past.  Past actions, past decisions, and past mistakes defined everything that took place in this hour.  The story surrounding the Jennings family still remains a lot more interesting than what’s happening with Stan — the two elements of the show (the spy story and the family drama) sometimes have difficulty coming together.  However, the dark portends at every turn did create a unifying factor.  Hit the jump for why “Ronald Reagan doesn’t care!” 

Keri Russell Talks THE AMERICANS Season 2, Reacting to the Events of Last Season, Bad-Ass Fight Scenes, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, and More

by     Posted 43 days ago

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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.   

THE AMERICANS Recap: “Comrades”

by     Posted 50 days ago

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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.

New to Blu-ray: THE JUNGLE BOOK, SHERLOCK Season 3, ENDER’S GAME, and More

by     Posted 65 days ago

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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:

AFI Announces Top 10 Films and TV Shows of 2013; List Includes GRAVITY, 12 YEARS A SLAVE, and WOLF OF WALL STREET

by     Posted 129 days ago

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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 Announces 2014 Premiere Dates for ARCHER, JUSTIFIED, THE AMERICANS, and CHOZEN

by     Posted 163 days ago

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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.

GAME OF THRONES, THE AMERICANS, and NEW GIRL Score Critics Choice TV Awards Nominations; MAD MEN and MODERN FAMILY Shunned

by     Posted 330 days ago

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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.

Creators Joseph Weisberg and Joel Fields Talk THE AMERICANS Season Finale, Crafting the Cliffhanger, Season 2, and More

by     Posted 350 days ago

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.

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