There may be many reasons to either watch tonight’s second season premiere episode of The Americans (if you were lucky enough to experience season one last winter) or to make the sound and enlightened investment to DVR tonight and catch up on season one over the next several weeks through an iTunes or an Amazon Prime purchase, but there is really only one definitive source to find out exactly why you should. Mr. Andy Greenwald, Grantland’s extraordinary television commentator, conveys his sentiments on The Americans with such eloquence, such insightful passion, and such beautiful prose. This is a master writing about a masterful show and I can only aspire to both of their collective standards of excellence.
His summation at the end best conveys an already realized central conceit – The Americans is a great television show and deserves a look:
“Nothing else on TV can match The Americans for the dizzying highs of its suspense or the unsettling depths of its emotion. But the reason it’s become the best show on television is more simple: In spite of its radical premise and perilous plots, the most discomfiting aspect of The Americans is its familiarity. All long-term relationships, whether between nation-states or lovers, involve delicate negotiations. They all demand loyalty. And they all require sacrifice. Recognizing this doesn’t make us American. It makes us human. The glorious struggle is our own.” Amen.
To summarize: Watch The Americans. Read Andy Greenwald. You will be the better because of it.
The Americans airs Wednesday nights at 10:00 PM on FX. Andy Greenwald is a staff writer for Grantland.