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The Americans - US Speed

 
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The Americans - US Speed - 31/1/2013 10:58:20 PM   
Captain Black


Posts: 6605
Joined: 30/9/2005
Just started stateside on F/X. It's 1981, cold war paranoia is abound, and our main characters are two undercover KGB spies, Philip and Elizabeth Jennings. And it's actually really good - the pilot, being a pilot, does feel a little overstuffed and oddly structured, but does succeed in establishing a world which blends the aforementioned cold war paranoia with a very interesting family dynamic (he's happy to take the money and run, she's in it no matter what) and doesn't forget to have some fun either (there's a great line about the relative successes of the two nations' space programmes).

Oh, and I'll more than forgive the generic title due to the quite excellent title card it results in.

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RE: The Americans - US Speed - 12/2/2013 9:57:30 PM   
Captain Black


Posts: 6605
Joined: 30/9/2005
No one else? Shame, episode 2 is also pretty strong and interesting, even if it's not quite lit the blue touch paper yet.

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RE: The Americans - US Speed - 13/2/2013 5:08:08 PM   
Shifty Bench

 

Posts: 15396
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Land of the Scots
I've got your back, Cap.

I wasn't really sure of the first episode but the second was pretty solid. I'll keep watching based on episode 2

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RE: The Americans - US Speed - 15/2/2013 2:30:41 AM   
Shifty Bench

 

Posts: 15396
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Land of the Scots
Yeah, I'm in for sure now, this is a pretty good show. Matthew Rhys is great, especially in the 'blind spot' scene. Glad to see another Brit acting well in a US show. And the ending, while expected, was still a bit of a gut punch. We should be rooting for the FBI, not the KGB and the ending reassured us that the Russians are not good people. Despite this, we can't help but hope Elizabeth and Phillip get the job done despite the fact they are not "the good guys".

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RE: The Americans - US Speed - 16/2/2013 9:09:06 PM   
Captain Black


Posts: 6605
Joined: 30/9/2005
The 'rooting for the bad guys' thing combined with the interesting take on their marriage are what I find most interesting about the show. I can't think of another show that's done that, so even though the 'spy show' isn't original, those aspects really are. The show hasn't yet put Elizabeth and Phillip into a position where they're clear anti-heroes; there have been opportunities in episodes 2 and 3 (to kill off two people to protect their cover); in each case the show's gone the more sympathetic route (though in this episode the KGB got their hands dirty).

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RE: The Americans - US Speed - 25/2/2013 9:53:54 PM   
Captain Black


Posts: 6605
Joined: 30/9/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: Captain Black
The show hasn't yet put Elizabeth and Phillip into a position where they're clear anti-heroes;


Boom! Headshot to the security guard. Portrayed very low key too; much like the rest of the episode. I did think they weaved in the Reagan assassination attempt into the storyline -- indeed, the whole approach to the real events inside the fictional show has been effective. That scene with Phillip and Elizabeth arguing about their perspectives was excellent, however it's notable that so far turned-American Phillip has always been portrayed as the one 'in the right', where Commie-sympathiser Elizabeth hasn't been. Will that continue throughout?

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RE: The Americans - US Speed - 25/2/2013 11:33:19 PM   
Shifty Bench

 

Posts: 15396
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Land of the Scots
If you think about it as a Russian, she is in the right and he is in the wrong. Also, it's interesting that if this was a US show about two Americans pretending to be Russian in Russia, he would totally be the bad guy as he'd be the Commie-sympathiser wanting to defect and betray his country.

That had nothing to do with your post but it was just something I was thinking about, setting is very important to how you perceive things. It was just going through my head as I watched last week's ep. I agree with your opinion on it

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RE: The Americans - US Speed - 28/2/2013 10:23:17 PM   
Captain Black


Posts: 6605
Joined: 30/9/2005
Really good episode. Packed a lot into its wow-FX-sure-do-show-some-ads brief 39 minutes. The opening bit with the quick meetings and talking on phones was very (appropritely) '80s spy film stuff. I like how the show pushes the 'what will they do for information' theme and how it's affecting their marriage. And that scene where Elizabeth gets out of one boot and into the other was awesome, as was the bit where she walked out and made sure she said hello to the security guards. Very impressed by Noah Emmerich as Agent Stan too.

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RE: The Americans - US Speed - 13/3/2013 5:42:32 PM   
Captain Black


Posts: 6605
Joined: 30/9/2005
I wonder if the running time last week was a trade off for this one, which was a cable-friendly 49. Last time I mention the running time, promise.

Another very fine episode. The best yet in fact, as it's added an element of energy and uncertainty to the viewer (rather than just the characters) with Elizabeth and Phillip's abduction. Closing line a killer too. This is just a really good show.

Really pleased the show's getting a second season, particularly after the big ratings drop off from the first wee to the second (I've not tracked it since then).

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RE: The Americans - US Speed - 17/3/2013 3:32:31 PM   
Captain Black


Posts: 6605
Joined: 30/9/2005
Come one Shifty, I hate replying to myself a bunch of times in a row. Remember Lights Out? No? Well no one else watched that either.

1.07

Anyway, a notch down, but still good. Sometimes the show makes me wonder if the stories are completely fictional or if they're 'ripped from the history books' types - clearly there was an appropriate Reagan speech they could integrate into this one. Maybe it plays better if you know what they're referencing.

I can see why they used the stock World Trade Centre footage, but the film grain was such an obviously different quality to the rest of the show that it took me out of it. Like all of those multi-camera sitcoms of the past.

The park bench scene was great. Elizabeth's plot was very much the B storyline, but that's the one which seems to forward the show's on-going narrative more (the laser defence system).

Finally, although the casting for Irina was a little off (she's far too young) I really did like that whole dynamic, what we learned about the past, Phillip questioning if the son was real (and the show not giving a definitive answer. Bastards - that'll keep me awake wondering!), and how that played into the last scene.

This week's episode gets a wig rating of 9 for that black one Elizabeth was wearing.

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