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viewpoint

‘The Americans’

| Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The average American of today has an overwhelming amount of TV shows to choose from when taking a break from everyday life. With many television providers offering packages that include nearly 500 channels and with somewhere around 400 original series being produced each year, it is a difficult task to find a television show worth following these days. Granted, one solution to this problem is to get Netflix, for it’s the ideal route to binge watching Gossip Girl until 7 a.m. instead of finishing that philosophy reading that you had a week to do.

Nonetheless, there is still hope for television shows to watch this upcoming year to fill up the one-hour break from school you need each week. After all, with the exception of some great series such as House of Cards, all the shows you are streaming online originally aired sometime on television.

Traditionally, the “worthwhile” original series to follow were limited to the major US broadcasting networks such as ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, but times are changing. In 2008, AMC released a show unlike any other – Breaking Bad. Anyone who has watched the series, will confirm that it is one of their favorite TV series of all time, and it rightfully won 111 awards over its five-season lifetime. Breaking Bad’s incredible success proved a minimum of two things: first, that chemistry can be pretty valuable after high school, and secondly, that TV series with remarkable writing can be found off the traditional major broadcasting channels.

This brings me to The Americans, an FX original created and produced by a former CIA agent, Joe Weisberg. Taking place in the Cold War Era, the show follows a seemingly standard American family who happen to be two Russian spies helping “The Motherland.” The show is everything you could imagine in a spy thriller and then some. Personally, I won’t lie, I only watched the first episode two years ago after I saw in the commercials that the female lead was the smoking hot Keri Russell. But after 10 minutes of viewing, I was hooked on the show’s premise.

As the series progresses, the spy couple has to balance carrying out their duties as spies via a myriad of alternate personas, appearing to be a typical American family to all their neighbors and being parents to their two kids who are unaware of their parents’ alternate lives. Filled with enough action for any macho man and enough emotion for a girls night in, the writers of the series strike interesting chords within any viewer. An unexpected effect begins to take hold: you begin rooting for Russians who are trying to undermine America. The result is a captivating moral dilemma that can only be solved by waiting until the next episode to maybe cheer for the US for once… or maybe not.

The third season should air in January 2015 and should most definitely be your favorite drama of the spring semester.

Contact Emmet Farnan at Emmet.W.Farnan.5@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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