I just watched the pilot episode of The Americans, and I really liked it.
The new series is a period drama about the marriage of KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington DC. Set during the Reagan presidency, the show follows Phillip (Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Russell), two spies who are in an arranged marriage. The couple have two children who know nothing about their parents true identity. Phillip and Elizabeth must balance their relationship, along with the network of spies and informants that are under their control. Emmerich will play an FBI agent — and new neighbor — who works in counter intelligence. The first season will be 13 episodes.
Since Homeland became “CIA High School”, this humble experiment in alt history might just give Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, or The Walking Dead a run for the ratings. Matthew Rhys‘ character is very recognizable.
He’s a sort of gift of a part in that he’s very sort of layered and multi-faceted. And when you meet him, he’s at this great turning point in his life where everything’s changing for him. You just get to do everything. You get to do the Kung Fu, and you get to do the emotional scenes, you get to do the disguises. It’s the full package for an actor. It’s a dream.
And, in the context of a relationship between two “socialists”, the wife is a strong lead.
I know they’re fighting about American values and Russian values and all, but to me, it’s just a metaphor for marriage — how much do you really know somebody? You can’t really 100 percent know the other person’s mind and heart and you will constantly battle. And then, in this specific complicated marriage, you’re allowed to go have sex with other people. [Laughs.] It’s part of your job and you have to do it well. And you have to pretend to enjoy it. I just think it’s interesting and to be set up with someone and then after all of these years, 15 years, finally start really falling in love with them … I think hers is a much more emotional journey about self-acceptance. And I think also, it would make sense to be separated from your sexuality if you have to use it constantly. It’s a tool. And you’re good at it, and that’s what you do.
But, if it doesn’t work out, I hope the show isn’t brought back for a second season.