• The Americans - TV show on Amazon Prime

    I am a big 'binge' TV series watcher.  The only things I watch in real time are local news, Dancing with the Stars, and American Idol.  Everything else I pick up on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

    My latest obsession is The Americans on Amazon Prime.

    Here is an online description of the show.

    Philip and Elizabeth Jennings are two KGB spies in an arranged marriage who are posing as Americans in suburban Washington, D.C., shortly after Ronald Reagan is elected president. The couple have two children, teenager Paige and preteen Henry, who are unaware of their parents' true identities. The complex marriage becomes more passionate and genuine each day but is continually tested as the Cold War escalates. As Philip begins to warm up to America's values and way of life, his relationship with Elizabeth becomes more complicated. Further complicating things is the arrival of the Jennings' new neighbour, FBI agent Stan Beeman, who is part of a new division of the agency tasked with fighting foreign agents on U.S. soil. The drama series was created by former CIA agent-turned-author Joe Weisberg.

    I am most definitely not into spy movies, TV shows or books.  I  skipped passed The Americans when I was brousing at least 20 times, before I became desperate enough to give it a chance.  

    Boy, I am glad I gave it a chance.  It is great!  I was sucked in on the very first episode.

    Photo Credit: Amazon
    The characters are well fleshed out and you find yourself caring about them even though technically they are the enemy (Russian) on American soil posing as normal American citizens - and we (the actual Americans) are wearing the 'white hats.'  But the 'white hat hero' label depends on whose side you are on.  If you are Russian, the Russians are wearing the white hats.  It is worth noting that we probably have our own 'plants' in other countries as well.  Right or wrong, I suspect it is how the intelligence community works on both side of the ocean.

    The Russian spies are believable and likable - but, boy, are they skilled at what they do.   I love the fact that the wife doesn't need a man to defend her.  She is as dangerous as any man.  And they are patriotic to Mother Russia, just like are to our homeland.  

    Other things I liked:
    • There are 5 seasons available for viewing - and the 6th season is set to be aired this year.  This kind of track record means the show has something going for it.  Crap usually doesn't go that many seasons.
    • It takes place in DC - and surrounding areas - which has been my home since age 6 - so it is fun to know the areas they talk about.
    • The show is described as a period piece ... the Ronald Reagan era.  I like period pieces. Fun, because I lived through that time and remember it well.  Not fun, because they called it a period piece and I lived through that time and remember it well. 😀
    • Although Phillip and Elizabeth are the enemy (from our point of view), they have values and a code they live by that is strongly influenced by Russia.  Just like we do.  They aren't so different from us.  In a time of political polarization - it is good to remind ourselves that Russia thinks 'they' are the good guys.   It is also interesting to see them secretly settled in our culture and how they managed it.

    Things that I question
    • You have to suspend disbelief somewhat with their family life.  The children are age 14 and preteen.  They are good kids.  Both I think are young enough to need oversight!  When you are a spy - it is not a 9 to 5 job!  Many scenes take place with both parents out of the house overnight.  There is no sitter at home for the kids.  The fact that these children are not monitored well is a bit unbelievable to me.  What if one kid got sick over night?  What if there was a fire?  There would be no one there for them.  Really ... I don't see that part of the story entirely believeable.
    • Since many scenes take place at night - and they have day jobs, when do they sleep??
    • There is a fair amount of violence.  I don't mind violence in my shows if it is appropriate to the story, and I think this violence is.  While I think that being a spy leaves you open to those possibilities, I doubt it is as prevalent as this show portrays but my spy knowledge is pretty rusty - being I don't know any spies and I don't read many spy books.
    • (If you are squeamish, don't read this bullet.)  Some violence was actually informative.  A woman was killed in a hotel room.  Phillip and Elizabeth are tasked with removing the body ... but how.  You can't just wrap it up in a sheet and carry it through the hotel lobby.  Elizabeth brings in a suitcase - and she and Phillip break the limbs of the body down (on camera) into a size that can be contained in the suitcase.  Sounds gruesome but less than if the body was chopped up - and less mess too.
      I am working my way through Season 2.  I give this show a Thumbs Up!!

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