Top 35 Shows of 2013: No 8 The Americans

I made a terrible mistake. Terrible mistake. So many things have gone wrong for us

In The Americans we know our central duo, the married Russian spies Elizabeth and Philip will ultimately lose their battle against the US because history tells us how the Cold War ends. Yet there is something really compelling about watching them on their missions every week and I ended up caring for the characters. By the time The Americans ended its first season I was rooting for those spies to fix their once fake marriage and keep on surviving another day.

What I really love about the show other than the superb acting, the amazing 1980s soundtrack and those endless wigs is how both sides of the war are equally interesting. Whilst I often want the Jennings to win I also want the same for FBI Agent Stan Beeman. He has his own storyline and intrigue with Russian embassy spy Nina and his own marriage problems.

It would be easy to make the show very black and white, but the bad guys are never clear cut. Even Claudia who at first seems like real trouble for the Jennings has layers and depth, she may fight for the Motherland and trick her agents but she has her own need for revenge and perhaps even cares for them.

In the end The Americans is about both sides struggling to survive, questioning their loyalties and it doesn’t matter what happened in reality, it matters than maybe Elizabeth and Philip can get out, that maybe Stan can stop one of their plans, that they all live another day even as everything around them slowly falls apart.

Favourite episodes: Only You / The Colonel

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