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'The American's Recap: 'Do Mail Robots Dream Of Electric Sheep?'

March 26th, 2015 1:11pm EDT
'The Americans' Recap: That Time Keri Russell Killed An Old Lady
Previously - Martha falls for "Clark's" line. The Jennings' South African colleague brutally murdered the apartheid guy with gasoline and a tire. Frat boy turned bungling political activist Todd was allowed to go free.

The Americans is the series that you assumed would never involve an Artificial Intelligence. When you assume it makes an...anyway,I give you FBI Mail Robot! I kid, I did glean a little bit more from this stark, disturbing episode. Guest star Lois Smith brought it all, and her scenes with Keri Russell were like a really intense play. They should have just handed these two Emm...

'The Americans': Stop Drop And Roll Doesn't Always Work When On Fire

March 20th, 2015 8:30am EDT
'The Americans' Season 3 Episode 8 Recap: Wheel Of Fire
Previously - Joan Jett...I mean Phillip and Elizabeth captured the Apartheid Two. Martha realized that her husband "Clark" is in now way who he says he is.

Two important things happened on The Americans last night. The first being that Martha figured out that Clark is in no way who he says he is, and that their entire life together is a damnable lie. The other is my discovery that FX must have some sort of quota imposed upon the show. The quota requires one hugely disturbing scene per episode. They tire necklaced a dude last night. For those of you at home who are not up on your brutal exe...

'The Americans': Someone Is In Grave Danger!

March 12th, 2015 10:34am EDT
'The Americans' Recap: Martha, You In Danger, Girl!
Previously - Phillip learned that his long-lost son is a soldier in the Soviet Union's paratrooper division. Elizabeth began laying the groundwork for recruiting Paige. I realized that Season 3 of The Americans has upped the wig game SO HARD.

Martha hasn't been around much this season. There's been a noticeable absence, because she's an intriguing character. Allison Wright (the actress portraying her) is talented enough to make us root for her even as we shake our collective head at her gullibility. The producers made up for Martha's absence this season by making last night a virtual Marth...

Keri Russell And Matthew Rhys Are Killing It!

March 5th, 2015 10:26am EST
'The Americans' Recap: Keri Russell And Matthew Rhys Are Killing
And killing it hard! Rhys' portrayal of Phillip's moral confusion over whether or not to bed Kimmy is subtle but intense. Keri Russell's Elizabeth is parallel with his crisis as she tries to get up the nerve to indoctrinate Paige into the spy game. You can see the love for her daughter vs. the love for her country playing out across her face, as she desperately sneaks cigarettes in the garage. I love The Americans.

Paige wasn't playin' about getting dunked for Jesus. Phillip and Elizabeth sit stoically amongst the congregation as creepy Pastor Tim dips her in the holy bathtub. Phillips' fa...

'The Americans' Recap: Phillip's Job Crisis

February 26th, 2015 1:45pm EST
'The Americans' Recap: Phillip's Job Crisis
In this episode, we learn that Phillip is as screwed up as his wife. Sure, Keri Russell’s Elizabeth character was separated from her family, brutally raped by a superior, and forced into a fake marriage with a guy she didn't know. But Phillip had to do the dirty with a guy with manboobs as part of his training. He’s straight. And did I mention manboobs?

His seduction of the CIA program head’s underage daughter Kimberly (and how far he might have to take it) is torturing him. It’s especially squicky because she’s around the same age as his daughter. Isn’t turning her to the cause almost a d...

'The Americans' Star Noah Emmerich On His Journey To Television

February 25th, 2015 12:07pm EST
'The Americans' Star Noah Emmerich On His Journey To Television
Noah Emmerich wasn't looking for a television show when The Americans came calling. With movies like Cop Land, Frequency, Miracle and Super 8 to his name, his longest TV role was doing a four-episode arc as shady FBI agent Garrett Fowler on USA's White Collar. The idea of a series regular part just didn't appeal to him.

"For a long time, I thought I wanted to avoid doing a series," Noah explained when we sat down with him at FX's Television Critics Association. "I thought I'd get bored by the repetition. One of the main reasons I wanted to become an actor was to try on so many different ha...

'The Americans' Recap: Elizabeth And Phillip Argue About Paige Some More

February 19th, 2015 8:40am EST
'The Americans' Recap: 'Dimebag' - Elizabeth And Phillip Argue A
Early 80s electropop duo Yaz ,and their seminal debut album Upstairs at Eric’s, figure heavily into this week’s episode. Kimberly, the CIA chief’s daughter whom the Jennings have decided to turn, is listening to Yaz when Phillip first insinuates himself into her life. He later buys the album for his daughter. Is he trying to win Paige's favor from Elizabeth? Or is he softening the blow for when Paige finally finds out who her parents are? He’s using one child and trying to protect another. The spy game is really not a place for parents. The late nights alone! Mom has to go recuperate in som...

'The Americans' Star Annet Mahendru: Nina Is 'Going To Face Her Own Fate'

February 18th, 2015 12:02pm EST
'The Americans' Star Annet Mahendru: Nina Is 'Going To Face Her
On The Americans, Nina Sergeevna may be gone, but she is definitely not forgotten. The foreign agent who moved two men to fight for her life was finally glimpsed last week incarcerated in a Russian prison, having been convicted of various crimes.

But Nina's far from done, and last week Annet Mahendru joined us to discuss what's going on in her character's mind and what could lie ahead now that Nina's storyline is starting to be put in motion.

SPOILER ALERT - This interview contains references to events in the current season of The Americans. If you are not caught up with the series, proce...

'The Americans' Recap: Danger Continues To Mount In 'Open House'

February 12th, 2015 9:26am EST
'The Americans' Season 3 Episode 3 Recap: Danger Continues To Mo
Previously - Phillip and Elizabeth are still at odds over Paige's potential recruitment into the family business. They tailed and photographed a group of CIA agents who are affiliated with the CIA's prescence in Afghanistan for further identification. Oh, and it's important to note that Elizabeth is still having a dental issue from when she got her face slammed off a car in the premiere.

This episode is all about the unspoken things that hang between people, whether they be a couple, friends, employees, co-workers, or complete strangers. In the case of Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings, it's...

'The Americans' Star Matthew Rhys: Television's Unheralded Leading Man

February 11th, 2015 12:15pm EST
'The Americans' Star Matthew Rhys: Television's Unheralded Leadi
There's a certain amusement in the fact that Matthew Rhys, bona fide star of The Americans, is not actually from America. He's originally Welsh, now playing a Russian impersonating an American, who then pretends to be countless other people. If that sounds like a lot, remember that he's pulling it off every week for now three seasons - so why aren't more people talking about this guy?

We sat down with Matthew at FX's recent Television Critics Association press tour to talk about the intricacies of playing Philip Jennings, the very emotionally thorny road ahead for Philip, and the other spy...

'The Americans' Recap: Elizabeth And Phillip Don't Pack Lightly

February 5th, 2015 10:15am EST
'The Americans' Season 3 Episode 2 Recap: Elizabeth And Phillip
Previously - In our third season premiere, Elizabeth trounced Frank Gaad and another agent, but lost an important CIA asset list. Phillip is way leery about Paige being recruited into the KGB. Stan is trying to get Sandra back. Oleg is trying to get Nina back. Speaking of Nina, where is she?

There's a scene in this episode of The Americans that rivals that of most horror flicks in content. The truly nausea-inducing action in this scene is made even worse because of the almost nonchalant way in which it's carried out. You get the impression that Elizabeth and Phillip have done this before. ...

Why Is 'The Americans' Star Keri Russell Television's Toughest Woman?

February 4th, 2015 12:03pm EST
'The Americans' Star Keri Russell: Television's Toughest Woman
Is there an actress on television doing more than Keri Russell? As Elizabeth Jennings on FX's The Americans, she delivers a stunning portrayal of a woman who's devoted to her country, trying to be a good mother and partner, and getting into violent brawls with FBI agents. It's the role of a lifetime for any actress, and Keri is making it look easy.

We sat down with her at FX's Television Critics Association press tour to discuss the banner year she had in 2014 with the series and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, what Elizabeth's life looks like in season three, and what it's like for her to...

'The Americans' Premiere Recap: Keri Russell Is Everything

January 29th, 2015 11:01am EST
'The Americans' Season 3 Premiere Recap: Keri Russell Is Everyth
Previously - Claudia informed Elizabeth and Phillip that Paige will be groomed to be a spy like them. Elizabeth was for it, Phillip against. Stan was forced to betray Nina, and she was arrested by her embassy. Paige got heavily into her church, and protesting societal ills. Frank Gaad was annoying.

The recap's titled that because the Season premiere of The Americans opens with this audacious sequence wherein Keri Russell's steely yes sensitive KGB spy Elizabeth Jennings throws down with two FBI agents. One of the agents she battles is Richard Thomas' terminally annoying Frank Gaad. He gets...

Interview: Joe Weisberg And Joel Fields Talk Building 'The Americans'

January 27th, 2015 12:02pm EST
Joe Weisberg And Joel Fields Talk Building 'The Americans'
Wednesday brings back one of the best shows on television: FX's The Americans. The Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell-led series looks like a spy thriller, feels like a character drama, rings true as a Cold War period piece, and has all the right stuff to make its own place in history.

What makes it so great and where is it going in season three? We posed those questions to executive producers Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields when we met them at FX's Television Critics Association presentation in Pasadena, and here's what secrets we could get out of them as to how they've built such an unbelievably...

The Best TV Finales Of 2014

December 27th, 2014 3:00pm EST
The Best TV Finales Of 2014
All things must end- a film, a book, a refreshing, low-calorie Diet Dr. Pepper- but TV's different. On TV, a story grows over months (years, even), letting you build up a real, regular connection with those onscreen.

Then, when the ending hits, it slams into you with the impact of all those devoted hours that came beforehand.

It just feels so final, you know? Maybe that's why they call it a "finale."

2014 had its share of massive finales- maybe nothing on the level of "Breaking Bad" last year, but solid enders nonetheless. Shows that capped off their seasons with ridiculous cliffhangers...

Best TV Shows Of 2014

December 17th, 2014 2:03pm EST
Best TV Shows Of 2014
Last week, we brought you the Best TV Moments Of 2014. But what about the best TV shows - the ones that didn't have just one or two good moments, but that impressed us all year long? What was going to make up for the end of Breaking Bad or the absence of Strike Back?

Here now then, is our list of the Best TV Shows Of 2014. In alphabetical order, we present to you the eight small-screen series that were at the top of their class, that were appointment television in our book and the reasons that lists like these are made.

SPOILER ALERT - If you're not caught up on the current season of tele...

Costa Ronin Talks His Role On ‘The Americans’ And His Upcoming Part in ‘Extant’

June 13th, 2014 12:03pm EDT
Costa Ronin Talks His Role On  ‘The Americans’ And His Upcoming
Costa Ronin is not unlike the character he plays on FX's The Americans. He's not a KGB officer, but like Oleg Burov, he's disarmingly charming and incredibly smart. It's not surprising that Oleg went from the character we loved to hate, to the character we kind of loved. We had the opportunity to chat with Costa recently about joining The Americans, his upcoming part in CBS's big-budget sci-fi show Extant, and the journey of an actor to watch out for.

What was it like for him to be a part of the most intrigue-laden show on TV? Unpredictable might be a good word for it. "You never know what...

Our 5 Favorite Wigs Keri Russell Wore In Season 2 Of 'The Americans'

May 25th, 2014 2:00pm EDT
The Americans Season 2 Keri Russell wigs main
The second season of FX's Russian-spies-undercover-in-the-80s drama The Americans has come to a close. And what a season! I won't go into specific spoilers here but last night's finale revealed who killed Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Phillip's (Matthew Rhys) fellow suburban spies way back in the premiere. And in other developments, Paige might be getting a whole different type of education next season. *shiver*

All due respect to talented thespian Keri Russell, but the real stars of the show are those hilarious wigs she wears for her undercover ops. To quote a number ("Wig In A Box") from...

'The Americans' Season 2 Finale: Second Generation

May 22nd, 2014 8:42am EDT
The Americans Season 2 Finale
The Americans Season 2 finale stunned us with unforeseen twists and surprises at just about every turn, and the most powerful and long-reaching at the end.

First, in a breathtaking scene in the woods, we find that Jared killed his parents and sister. Totally unexpected, but, like all good twists, makes perfect sense once explained. Jared was a teenage boy with a gun, who couldn't brook his father's opposition to what the Centre was bestowing on him: the manhood of being an operative in the cause. Tragically, his mother and sister just got in the way. And all of that was preceded by a sma...

Matthew Rhys Looks Back On Season 2 Of FX's 'The Americans'

May 21st, 2014 2:09pm EDT
Matthew Rhys Looks Back On Season 2 Of FX's 'The Americans'
FX's The Americans has been charging along all season long, and tonight the Cold War spy drama is poised to go out with a bang. Before the finale, we sat down for a second time with series star Matthew Rhys to look back on season two and maybe even a little ahead to season three.

How has he continued to brilliantly add layer after layer to the character of Philip Jennings in season two? Matthew told us it's a team effort. "It feels, to me, it’s an amalgamation of a number of things," he said. "Sometimes writers take from what they see and steer a character in that way. The evolution can be...

'The Americans' Season 2 Episode 12: Espionage in Motion

May 15th, 2014 6:05pm EDT
The Americans
Lots of motion in the excellent episode 2.12 of The Americans, mainly and literally involving Jared, son of the Soviet spy couple slain at the beginning of the season.

Elizabeth needs to get him out of town, and quickly, lest he fall prey to the killer who murdered Kate and likely murdered Jared's family. Larrick, the killer, proves to be formidable indeed. In one of the best sequences of the series, Elizabeth keeps one step ahead of Larrick - barely - as she stops at a place where Jared can leave his clothes and bag (which turns out to have a tracker), and then a train station where h...

'The Americans' Season 2 Episode 9: Gimme That Old Time Religion

April 24th, 2014 10:09am EDT
The Americans
An unusual and memorable The Americans 2.9 in which, though there was plenty of physical violence, the story hinged on psychological violence, and the mental health and self-control of the usually well-grounded Phil.

The trigger is the quick series of deaths Phil meets out at the beginning of the episode on a mission. As he later tells Elizabeth, such killings on behalf of their work are easier for her than for him. She takes some exception to this, but we've seen this to be manifestly true.

The accelerant, which nearly pushes Phil over the edge, is daughter Paige's immersion in her new...

'The Americans' Season 2 Episode 7: Embryonic Internet and Lie Detection

April 10th, 2014 8:15am EDT
The Americans
The Americans 2.7 was better than usual - which is to say, very good indeed - with an episode that had our Soviet anti-heroes putting a "rat"-sized bug into the ARPANET, and the best we've seen so far about Nina caught between Oleg and Stan.

Who knows if the Soviets really tried to hack the precursor of the Internet in the early 1980s, but it's a certainly plausible and makes a good story. The Americans handled this all with its customary aplomb, including Phil not really getting the virtual highway jargon, though he's able to speak it. What is undisputed in our real history is that our g...

'The Americans' Season 2 Episode 3: Family Versus Mission

March 13th, 2014 9:53am EDT
'The Americans' Season 2 Episode 3:  Family Versus Mission
The Americans 2.3 continued its strange, compelling mix of family life and edge-of-your-seat spy drama. It's like no other show on television, and in fact is on the edge precisely because love of family is always in the passenger seat as the driver completes a mission.

Consider, for example, what happens when the guy in the parts plant realizes that Elizabeth is not who she says she is, and Elizabeth sees this in the guy's face. The smart thing to do would be to kill this guy, after Elizabeth and Phillip get what they want from him. He shows Elizabeth pictures of his family, in a last dit...

'The Americans' 2.1-2: The Paradox of the Spy's Children

March 8th, 2014 1:58pm EST
The Americans
Good to see The Americans back in swing for its second season - off to the series' customarily excellent start of surprises, intrigue, and sudden death waiting around the corner, and one of the best openers in television.

The most brutal deaths actually took place in a hotel room in the first episode last week, and the execution of this family - father, mother, and daughter - provides a wake-up call not only for the Jennings but the audience. The slain family is almost in every respect an alternate of the Jennings - Soviet spies in Washington, with a real son (who is not killed, because ...

'The Americans': Memorable Moments From 'Cardinal'

March 6th, 2014 9:20am EST
'The Americans': Memorable Moments From 'Cardinal'
What do you need to know about last night’s episode of The Americans? What were the best moments? Everything you need to know is here.


After the mysterious murders of fellow spies, Emmett, Leanne, and their daughter Amelia, things are tenser than ever with the Jennings. Elizabeth is on the constant look out for threats, even from the supposed safety of her home. She distrustfully eyes everybody, from maintenance men across the street to cars following her on the highway. While Phillip is away, she is forced to do double duty as mom and spy. A green Nicaraguan spy calls for help afte...

'The Americans': Memorable Moments From 'Comrades'

February 27th, 2014 9:14am EST
'The Americans': Memorable Moments From 'Comrades'
Plot: Elizabeth returns home after recovering from the gunshot wound she received at the end of last season. She is immediately thrown back into the fray, attending her child’s birthday party and having sex with a target for a mission during the course of a single day. She and Phillip work together with another spy couple, Emmett and Leanne, who are strikingly similar, set with a fake marriage, two children, and a convincingly perfect life.

During what should be a standard pick up at a carnival, the spy couple is killed in their hotel room, along with their teenage daughter. Their deaths ...

Matthew Rhys Reveals Secrets Of 'The Americans' Season 2

February 26th, 2014 2:34pm EST
Matthew Rhys Reveals Secrets Of 'The Americans' Season 2
FX's critically acclaimed The Americans is back tonight, and before we get into another season of Cold War intrigue, BFTV had the chance to chat with star Matthew Rhys - who plays the Russian spy we know as Philip Jennings - to ask him about sophomore spoilers and the one thing about the show that still makes him nervous. SPOILER ALERT: This interview contains discussion of themes in the second season of The Americans. If you don't want to know anything going into tonight's premiere, don't read this interview until after you've seen the episode.

"This season, as opposed to last season wher...

5 Reasons Why You Should Watch 'The Americans'

February 26th, 2014 2:32pm EST
The Americans
FX currently airs some of the best shows on television. With Justified, Archer, Sons of Anarchy, American Horror Story, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Louie, it really is an embarrassment of riches for a single network. FX is the rare network that allows show runners to do their own thing, with minimal interference. That alone should be a glowing endorsement for The Americans, a series that follows two KGB spies during the Cold War.

Elizabeth and Philip Jennings have been undercover as normal US citizens for over a decade. By day they pretend to be the perfect married couple and pa...

Joe Weisberg And Joel Fields Talk 'The Americans'

February 11th, 2014 4:06pm EST
Joe Weisberg And Joel Fields Talk 'The Americans'
FX's spy drama The Americans, starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as Cold War-era Russian spies, has arrived on Blu-Ray and DVD, plus there's a second season just around the corner. To see what we could figure out about the hit show, we enlisted series creator Joe Weisberg and his co-writer Joel Fields to answer some questions for us. (You can also check out our interview with executive producer Graham Yost.) Here's what we learned from Joe and Joel.

Firstly, you're not going to get them to name a favorite installment from the show so far. "We particularly like the first thirteen episod...