Just four episodes into its inaugural season, FX has already granted its spy drama series The Americans a 13-episode order for a second season. The show has garnered a lot of critical acclaim and is backed by strong performances from its leads, Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Noah Emmerich. According to the network, the series premiere was the most-watched debut in FX’s history, with 5.11 million viewers tuning in. The network is also reporting ratings gains every week, making The Americans a bona fide hit.
The show, created by Joe Weisberg (a former CIA agent), takes place in 1981 just after Ronald Reagan’s election, and follows two embedded KGB spies, Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, (Russell and Rhys) who spent years preparing to become “typical” Americans so they could help out their government from U.S. soil. Though Elizabeth struggles with the emotional aspects of assimilation, Philip seems to be developing some positive feelings for the land they were bred to hate. In addition to the spy elements, the show also focuses on the newly budding relationship between the two leads, who were forced into a marriage for appearances sake, but have only now begun to see each other as more than business partners. Hit the jump for more on the series, and click here to catch up on my recaps.
The Jennings also must hide their true identities (and also attempt to get information) from a new, highly perceptive neighbor: FBI agent Stan Beeman (Emmerich), who is working in counterintelligence. Margo Martindale (Justified) also recently joined the cast as another KGB agent who the Jennings’ report to (bless her presence).
If you haven’t caught up with the series yet, fear not — FX will be airing a marathon of the first five episodes back-to-back on March 1st beginning at 10pm (so set those DV-Rs!) Though it took me a few weeks to really get into the series (I’m all aboard now), marathoning it is a great way to get instantly engaged. The Americans is a tough and smart series that asks a lot of viewers — you need to pay attention and probably take a minute to refresh yourself on Reagan-Era politics with the U.S.S.R. But the bottom line is that frankly, it’s just a damn cool new show (that, for once, doesn’t air on Sundays).
The Americans airs Wednesdays at 10pm on FX