For as long as The Americans has aired on FX, there have been two salient “facts” about: It’s a great, great show that’s loved by TV critics and by its own rabid fanbase, and that its ratings are mediocre at best.
The confluence of these facts has led many fans of the series, currently in its fourth season and showing no signs of age or decline, to worry that the show might get cancelled prematurely, especially since it’s one of those shows in which knowing how the story ends is going to be important. Those fans have had their concerns eased, thanks to an announcement by FX.
FX has now announced that The Americans has been renewed for two more seasons, and the series will come to a close after Season 6 in 2018. The fifth season will consist of 13 episodes and the sixth will have ten. In addition, the co-creators and show runners of the series, Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields, have agreed to a deal with FX to develop their next series for the network as well.
Here is a statement on the matter from Eric Schrier, co-Presidents of Original Programming for FX Networks and FX Productions:
“Through its first four seasons, critics have lauded The Americans as one of the best shows on television and, remarkably, a series that keeps getting better every year. All credit for that achievement goes to everyone who has worked on the show, and especially Co-Showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields, Graham Yost, our brilliant stars Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Noah Emmerich, Allison Wright, Holly Taylor, Annet Mahendru and the ensemble cast for their incomparable performances every season.”
Set in the early 1980s, The Americans tells the story of Philip and Elizabeth Jennings (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell), a seemingly typical suburban couple in the Washington, D.C., area who are in fact spies for the Soviet Union. The two get involved with intrigue and adventure, of both the violent and sexual variety, often with the characters in elaborate disguises.
The show continuing for two more seasons is important for a simple reason: The series’ endgame will likely somehow involve the collapse of the Soviet Union, which remains 5-to-6 years ahead of the show’s current storyline. How will the series handle that? What happens to the Jennings family with the rise of Gorbachev, perestroika and glasnost? It will likely take at least two more seasons to sort all of that out.
Sure, the bar for cancellation is much higher than it used to be; these days, if a show has a small but rabid audience, it’s usually safe at least for awhile. Still, fans of The Americans are sure to be thankful that they’ll get to see their series end on its own terms.
The Americans, which airs Wednesday nights on FX, has three episodes remaining in its fourth season.