Ranked Top TV Show Synopsis with Reviews on The Americans
Written and Ranked By: C. A. Ponch
As a reminder – To qualify for the list I followed these basic guidelines:
- I watched at least three to five episodes of each show finishing most first seasons of every series on this list. Some shows were so bad that it was not worth watching more than three to five episodes. I gave them a chance. For the majority of the series, I have seen every episode.
- Each of the top TV shows could not have more than 30 episodes a season. That eliminated all late-night shows like “The Tonight Show”, variety of programs like “Sports Center”, and singing competitions like “American Idol” and “The Voice”. Also, I didn’t include morning shows like “The Today Show”, etc. If it were a series that aired more than once a week, it was unfortunately just too much content for me to review.
- Each series had to have at least three episodes air/stream per season to qualify. This eliminated event TV and made for TV movies but did include some great mini-series.
- No reality competitions or junk reality TV. That is not acting, and they show no real craftsmanship to judge. Those series are almost impossible to review. Variety shows with actual writers like SNL were included.
- Documentaries were accepted, but only if they were season-long documentaries with more than three episodes. I decided the difference between what qualified as a documentary series and a reality series. Reality series generally create situations and observe those situations for the entertainment of the viewer in an on-going manner much like life itself. A documentary series attempts to educate the viewer by presenting facts through a series of observations that are a full product having a beginning, middle, and end. It’s a fine line, but documentaries tend to inform or educate while entertaining.
- Each program had to have at least three episodes air during the past decade (2010-2019) that I actually saw, but I ranked TV shows from their full body of work of which that I have seen since their inception. This eliminated anything that didn’t have an episode air after 2009 but it also eliminated a few shows like “The Simpsons”, and “NCIS” which although I have seen more than three episodes of; I haven’t seen enough episodes of those shows in the past ten years. In fact, a few series on this list would have been ranked higher, had they just ended earlier before the quality of the show deteriorated.
- Lastly, there is one exception on this list of the shows I have watched this decade but can’t rank: “Sesame Street”. It’s still one of the greatest children’s top TV shows of all time. If you have young children, “Sesame Street” should be #1 on this list, if you don’t have young children, why are you watching “Sesame Street”? That’s strange and you may want to seek help.
3. The Americans (FX – 2013 to 2018): Ponch 10/10
“The Americans” is an American “Cold War” spy drama set in the 1980’s. Philip (Mathews Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) are two Soviet KGB spies in an arranged marriage who are posing as Americans in suburban Washington, D.C., shortly after Ronald Reagan is elected President. They have a family. A teenage son and daughter, neither of which knows their parents are Russian spies. They tell Paige (Holy Taylor) their daughter, after some time has passed. Philip begins to warm up to America’s values and way of life; Elizabeth does not share his feelings.
Plenty of accolades
As the Cold War escalates, their marriage and family core are tested, and they have tough decisions to make. Further complicating things is their new neighbor, FBI agent Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich), who is part of a new division of the agency tasked with fighting foreign agents on U.S. soil. The drama series was created by a former CIA agent Joe Weisberg. Nominated for 18 Emmys, winning four with Rhys finally taking home the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2018, and Margo Martindale winning twice for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series, “The Americans” is criminally underrated.
Deep plot and well thought out
This was the best dramatic acting on cable TV of the decade. The love story has a wealth of incredible emotional layers, but the emphasis is always on spying and the cold war. It is a little slower paced and nuanced than most shows, but with a much deeper plot and story. The interaction between Jennings family is surreal. “The Americans” was well thought out and planned, unlike most shows it knew exactly where it was going.
Underrated until now
FX dominated the decade with all of their original programming, but this show was the best drama they had to offer. With each season we get more and more out of Rhys and Russell as they go deeper and deeper into their mission. There are so many perfect intricacies to this series, but it’s Phillip’s internal struggle regarding his family and Elisabeth’s dedication to their mission that drive the drama. Russell especially is so captivating, and Rhys was so underrated until they finally recognized him for his work in the final season. They both should have been nominated for Emmy’s every year. The show’s final season was quite possibly it’s best, people will be talking about this show as one of the best dramas ever made for years to come and it will keep gaining more fans in retrospect. “The Americans” is the rare show, much like “The Wire” that will be more appreciated as time goes on and more people watch it. The series will age well and stay relevant. It will keep inching up critics and viewers best of all time lists year after year, easily landing in the top 10 of most people’s list.
IMDB 8.4/10 – RT 96% – Metacritic 89%
Streaming On: Amazon Prime Subscription
There are six seasons total.
All of ‘The Americans’ Is Now On Amazon Prime Video. While the sixth and final season of The Americans came to a close on FX in May, you can now watch seasons 1-6 of the spy drama on Amazon Prime Video
The Americans premiered in the United States on January 30, 2013, and concluded on May 30, 2018, after six seasons.
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