|Originaltitel:||The Americans – Season 1|
|Genre:||TV series, Thriller, Drama|
|Regie:||Gavin O`Connor, Adam Arkin, Thomas Schlamme u.a.|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 600 min.|
|FSK:||From 16 years|
|Anzahl der Disc:||4|
|Sprachen:||German, English (Dolby Digital 5.1)|
|Extras:||Missed scenes, audio commentary, fun on set, 3 featurettes|
|Label:||Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment|
Film: The USA in the 1980s, the era of Ronald Reagan and the Cold War: here the married couple Phil (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) with their two children Paige (Holly Taylor) and Henry (Keidrich Sellati) lead a completely normal life in a suburban settlement near Washington DC. But Phil and Elizabeth are not the showcase Americans they pretend to be. The two are Russian KGB spies who were recruited in the 1960s to lead a spy ring in the USA. And they have been doing this so well for many years now that no one suspects anything - not even their children. But then the events come to a head: the kidnapping of the former KGB agent Timoshev goes mightily wrong and costs not only an ally, but also the traitor his life. It's not a good time for Phil to think about running over himself. And as if that wasn't bad enough already, Stan (Noah Emmerich), the Jennings' new neighbor, turns out to be an FBI agent working for the counterintelligence. When there is also an attack on President Reagan, the situation finally becomes worse and the air becomes dangerously thin for Phil and Elizabeth. But who actually poses the greater danger for the two of them? From the American secret service or from their own people?
With "The Americans" series creator Joseph Weisberg has landed a real direct hit. The former CIA agent, together with experienced producers such as Graham Yost ("Justified") or Darryl Frank ("Falling Skies") and outstanding authors such as Joshua Brand ("Alaska of all people") or Joel Fields ("Rizzoli & Isles"), a gripping mixture of political thriller and drama created from the very first scene, which largely does without the usual black-and-white painting and blurs the boundaries between good and evil. Phil and Elizabeth are spies, they lie to their own children and have to kill for their beliefs. These aren't exactly qualities that make a lot of sympathizers. And yet the creators manage to dive so deeply into the inner conflict of the characters and reveal their motivations, that a much more multi-layered character drawing is created, which doesn't allow the couple to be immediately called "the bad guys".
The same is true for the FBI agent Stan. To make the main characters Phil and Elizabeth more likeable, it would have been easy to portray the US government, embodied by the agent and his colleagues, as the real villain. But even here, the series doesn't make it too easy. Stan, who has been undercover for three years in the right-wing extremist scene before working for the counterintelligence, is a man with noble motifs, but also with very dark sides. Like the two spies, his character walks somewhere on the border between good and evil, between right and wrong. Of course there are also figures where the assignment is much easier. But the fact that the protagonists, who are at the centre of the series, are depicted rather split in two and can't easily be pressed into one category makes the series particularly appealing.
Many tension also arises from the fact that the story takes place in a time when there was no quick dissemination of information via the Internet and easy contact via mobile phone. Instead of relying on technology, the spies have to use their ingenuity - and that is what always creates really exciting moments of tension. In some scenes these are intensified by enormous brutality, for example in a episode in which Phil and Elizabeth are captured and tortured. A basic atmosphere filled with paranoia and many well-constructed plot twists ensure that the series always remains stirring, even when the production itself strikes a quieter note.
"The Americans" doesn't take long to make viewers addicted. A very well played, harmoniously equipped and grippingly staged espionage thriller, which lovers of more demanding series entertainment shouldn't miss. In anticipation of season 2, there is a very clear one: Absolutely worth seeing!
Picture + sound: The audiovisual implementation of the series corresponds to good to very good TV level on the DVD. The image is absolutely clean and has a good overall sharpness in most moments. Only in dark moments are there slight weaknesses in the detail display and with faster camera pans, slight drag effects are noticeable. Otherwise, however, a good overall impression prevails, which can also be left behind by the sound. The Dolby Digital 5.1 Mix is pleasantly lively in the more action-packed scenes. In the quieter dialogue scenes, the actors' voices are transported out of the boxes in a way that is easy to understand. All in all, there is a more than satisfied one for it: Good!
Extras: The first three DVDs each contain dropped scenes (DVD 1: 6:59 min., DVD 2: 0:48 min., DVD 3: 4:07 min.). More extras on the last disc. Here the viewer gets an audio commentary on the episode "The Colonel" by Joseph Weisberg, Joel Fields and Noah Emmerich as well as some outtakes (ca. 3:37 min.) and featurettes on the true background (ca. 12:47 min.), the research for the series (ca. 5:59 min.) and on the special challenge to let the series play in the pre-internet and mobile phone era (ca. 4:54 min.). Very interesting and revealing bonus material, for which there is a deserved "very good"!
Fazit: "The Americans" is an extremely exciting series that perfectly understands how to blur the boundaries between good and evil. The first season features thirteen episodes full of surprising plot twists, gripping paranoia and captivating espionage thrill. Very well played and excellently staged, this series is again a good example of the high quality that television currently has to offer in the area of series. The DVD box presents the episodes in good picture and sound quality and also has some interesting extras to offer. absolutely recommended!
Ein Artikel von Frankfurt-Tipp