The Americans, Season 1 DVD
Some background, my family and I emigrated to the US right before the fall of the Soviet Union and I was old enough to remember the news coverage yet not old enough to really grasp the way of life before the move. I heard stories though, lots and lots of stories (from very disenfranchised family members). And so I grew up in the US all throughout the 90s gobbling up and loving the pop culture of the 80s and so on. At the time, all villians in everything were Russians, and while it made my parents grown, I loved it. But I must say this is the very first piece of pop culture to portray the Soviets as a worthy adversary, and not only that, it actually sets the story from their perspective.
There are no blatant good or bad guys, just shades of grey in a world where the two biggest kids on the block are too proud to work together and may just annihilate the whole neighborhood if one pushes the other too far.
The scope of the setting is amazing, early 80s… the cars, the hair, the clothes and the quaint spy gear. The show is realistic so you won’t be seeing any James Bond style shenanigans but that doesnt make it any less mesmerizing. Any spy fan will love this drama.
As for the show format, it is a somewhat outdated story telling method where not every episode ends in a cliffhanger and the episodes are not just 1/10 of a story written to span 10 hours. There is some of that, definitely but this more reminds me of the X-files years after the show hit it stride where you still had self contained episodes but an overarching plot began to develop in the background. Thats how this show works. Each episode (at least in the first season) has it’s own little crisis which the spies battle against and overcome all while building towards a larger narrative. The show starts really slow for those who are used to the way HBO or AMC does things, it took me 6 episodes to get my girlfriend interested (through much pain and suffering I got her into it). However once things start rolling, they don’t stop and the stakes get higher and higher.
To all history buffs out there, there’s lots of real events which impact the show, as they rightfully would have back in the day… ie the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan left the Soviets paranoid they’d be blamed and urged them to mobilize a first strike team just in case. If you’re a fan of period dramas, this show is a gold mine of “the way things were” and really reminds me of the first season of Narcos.
I can’t recommend this show highly enough, if you’re not getting hooked immediately, do yourself a favor and try to watch (and I do mean WATCH, this is a pay-attention type of show) the first season, guaranteed you’ll be hooked before it ends.
Actors: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Maximiliano Hern¨¢ndez
Format: Color, Dolby, Widescreen, PAL
Region: Region 4 for Australia
Number of discs: 4
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release in: 2013