It’s like the Gods of Television heard my thoughts.
After my two favorite hour-long shows ended in the last couple of months, “Homeland” and “Parenthood,” my tube-watching has been a little incomplete. I needed a new, fresh, challenging show that would entertain and keep me excited and force me to look at something from a whole different perspective.
And lo and behold, last week FX debuted a brand-new show that is dynamite. It’s called “The Americans,” and it stars the formerly adorable Keri Russell (she was adorable on “Felicity,” at least) and Matthew Rhys, who star as two Russian spies living in America in 1981, raising a family and acting for all intents and purposes like a perfectly normal Virginia couple.
Except instead of working at a travel agency, which everyone else thinks they do, they sleep with people to get secrets, they plant cameras in high-security places, and take all kinds of crazy risks.
The backstory of how these two, who may or may not even love each other, came to be spies in the U.S. is told brilliantly in the 90-minute premiere (available online), and the story develops even more in Episode 2, which is re-airing tonight on FX.
I won’t go so far as to say the show makes you root for “Phil and Elizabeth Jennings,” as Rhys and Russell are known, but it gives you a totally new perspective on the Cold War.
“The Americans” is very well-written, filled with great 1980s-era touches (in one of the episodes everyone marvels at a recording device that was revolutionary back then, and today would be laughed at), and the acting is great, too. (Noah Emmerich, one of the classic “That Guy”‘s in movies, stars as an FBI agent who just moved next door to the spies.)
It’s only two episodes in, so I don’t want to get too giddy about the show. But I strongly urge you to check out “The Americans.” It could be on its way to being one of the great ones.
**In case you were looking for a new American hero, here’s one who might fit the bill. His name is “Kai,” and well, this is the first sentence of a story involving him:
“A homeless hitchhiker with a hatchet in California reportedly “saved the day” after a man claiming to be Jesus went berserk and rammed his car into a stranger, before assaulting a woman who ran over to help.
The hitchhiker, identified only as “Kai,” was picked up by the driver shortly before the crash. He says the man, now identified as Jett Simmons McBride of Tacoma, Washington, was making wild, racist remarks in the car.
Read more about the story here, and how Kai attacked him with a hatchet, here. Or, better yet, watch the above video (language not safe for work), the greatest TV news interview yet.
**Finally today, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a high school hockey team do a commercial. But if you’re only ever going to watch one, this is the one to watch. It’s from Clarkstown High School in Michigan, and it’s designed to get people to come out to a recent game.
Just fabulous. My favorite part is at :34.