I don’t mean I dislike them as one might dislike an opossum, as in, “Jesus, honey—those spies got into the trashcans again last night and shit all over the sidewalk. We need to set some spy traps.” I mean, I dislike them because they’re not interesting to me.
There’s nothing about a spy—the intrigue, the danger, the cool surveillance tools masquerading as household objects (A MUSTACHE COMB-CAMERA? COOL)—that holds my attention. James Bond stuff is boring, and I’d be more interested in the Rosenbergs if they opened a really authentic delicatessen in my neighborhood.
I feel like less of a man admitting this, trust me. For the most part, spies are an inherently masculine interest, falling somewhere on the continuum of youth between dinosaurs and girls. But like outer space and racecars, they just never became a “thing” to me. That said, I’m looking forward to FX’s January 30th premier of The Americans, a show about two Russian spies (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) and their children living as a normal family in a 1980’s Washington DC suburb. I’ll explain why.
1) It’s FX. Though the channel primarily started out life as a dumping ground for Fox reruns, it has grown into a highly-acclaimed source of competent—and even compelling—television. People loved The Shield, Nip/Tuck, Damages and Rescue Me. Lots of people still love Sons of Anarchy. I’m partial to Justified and American Horror Story, even when the writing on AHS is so full of plot holes that it makes me want to Elvis my television. As the channel has grown, its programming has become nearly as sophisticated and addictive as anything on HBO. And, barring some gross misstep, law of averages would indicate that The Americans will be no different. Especially because of executive producer:
2) Graham Yost. Yost—who won an Emmy for the HBO miniseries The Pacific, an Emmy AND a Golden Globe for the HBO miniseries From the Earth to The Moon, and a Peabody Award for the critically acclaimed (though short lived) NBC series Boomtown—is executive producing The Americans. He is well-versed in working within the confines of FX’s parameters, too, as current acting showrunner for the aforementioned Justified. Yost seems to have the golden touch, which bodes well for the new series.
3) It takes place in the 80’s: I grew up in the 80’s. I love the 80’s. I was too young to care about the big, nasty things—the Cold War, the excessive cocaine use, Iran-Contra, the Saving and Loan Scandal, Joe Piscopo— but I’ll forever remember it fondly for MY memories. The Ninja Turtles. Hair bands. Pizza Hut, when Pizza Hut was actually decent. Really obnoxious neon clothing. Hulkamania. To me, the 1980’s were great for all of the same reasons that the 1930’s were great for Hearne—the nostalgic warmth associated with a childhood well spent.
4) The previews look great: It wasn’t a wise man who said, “never judge a book by its cover,” but someone who had a lot of expendable income to blow at Barnes and Noble. See, my time is valuable. There are already a lot of decent shows in my regular rotation and a fistful of programs still on my “to watch” list. So if you can’t suck me in with a 30 second clip, I probably won’t take the time to watch. The previews for The Americans are just the right amount of cryptic: you’re confused, but intrigued enough to want to know more. A fine example of short-form marketing.
5) Keri Russell is pretty hot. First of all, I always confuse her with Rebecca Gayheart, which really isn’t fair to the former, as all signs seem to indicate that the latter is probably a little insane. Here’s how they are the same:
A) Both have advertised skin-related products; Russell became a CoverGirl spokesperson in 2006, and Gayheart got her first break in early 90’s ads for Noxzema.
B) They both had super curly hair at one point in time.
Here’s how they are different:
A) Russell has never struck and killed a 9-year-old Mexican child with her car. (I’m guessing.)
B) Russell’s most recent turn in the spotlight didn’t involve a leaked sex-tape starring her, her husband and former Miss Teen USA contestant Kari Ann Peniche. (Probably, I mean.)
Aside from that, SAME PERSON! But seriously, Russell is pretty and seems to be talented, and the same cannot really be said for her more murderous, sexually uninhibited curly-headed counterpart.
So there it is. Quality station, great behind-the-scenes production, funky clothes, captivating previews and an attractive actress who probably didn’t kill a small Mexican boy and shame her parents with a videotaped three-way.
I don’t think there are five finer reasons to watch any program.
The Americans premiers on FX, Wednesday, January 30th at 9PM CT.
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