(This is a post I wrote a year ago but for some reason did not share. I have since seen seasons one and two and think they are excellent but I like the simpler point made here by…me. What a guy!)
I would like to discuss the television show, The Americans. Now it may seem silly to try and discuss a show that has not finished and it will seem even sillier when I add that I have not finished the first season. So why discuss this show? Because it is one of a handful that gives the impression it was fully realized before they started making it.
This is a big claim and it is entirely possibly that the rest of season two might make what I am writing absurd. I will take that chance. In particular I want to say a little something about the pilot episode of The Americans.
What I feel sets a pilot episode like this apart from so many others is that you get the sense that they characters are fully formed. You meet your central characters, their relationship is not immediately explained and then through a series of events you come to know who they are. It is interesting and arresting television. The story is intriguing, it is engaging and what I enjoyed most is that the little details are simply put out there for viewers to either notice and understand or to be lost.
Making a show set in the early eighties that does not stop and point at each and every detail of clothing, hair, music etc., but rather attempts to recreate the world as it was without having a character stop and say, “Isn’t this earpiece absurdly large? We can’t hide the fact that we are wearing earpieces. If only someone would make them smaller.” allows the viewer to be swept up in the story being told. It is refreshing and rewarding to watch a show that does not call attention to itself, that does not feel the need to point and say, “Don’t you see now, thirty years on, that Regan was a bit of a …” but rather have the characters be as they should be and do as they do?