The Americans is a show that I stuck with sometimes in spite of myself, a show that has a lot going for it but struggled at times with believability. I don’t think I quite liked it as much as most critics and fans, but I did end up finishing it, despite having the ending spoiled for me by Firefox’s pocket tool, which showed a description of climax of the final episode of the show in its preview of an article. Sigh.
On the positive side of things, the show has an excellent cast and an excellent sense of place.
The cast is pretty much uniformly excellent, and I’m not sure there’s a weak link, certainly later in the series once some of the actors who might have been weaker links get eliminated. I appreciate that the Russians are Russians, and it’s about time that an American show with so many foreign characters trusted its audience to tolerate subtitles.
The sense of place is also incredibly excellent. I’m not sure I ever doubted the time period once throughout the show. That’s a pretty great accomplishment for a show that ran as long as this.
There are moments of extreme tension that are often done very well, not Breaking Bad tension, but pretty great tension nonetheless.
The biggest problem for me is how the show stretches credulity at times, particularly early on. It’s been so long now, I can’t quite remember, but either the season finale of Season 1 or Season two is utterly ridiculous and the kind of thing that would have made me quit a show normally, only everyone kept saying “It gets better” as it goes along.
And, unfortunately, the tension I should have been feeling in those final episodes was undercut by the internet spoiler I accidentally read while trying to navigate to a new site.
Still, there were moments throughout that tested my patience, and some storylines got difficult to believe or take. There were times I thought about quitting but figured I was too invested.
On the whole though, this is pretty well done. And I’m mostly glad I spent the time to watch it.
The show is ultimately about how personal relationship triumph over national interests, which is a lesson that we all need to remember a little more every day.