Showtime has struck gold with its CIA drama-thriller series Homeland, and soon FX will unveil its entry in the secret government ops sub-genre: The Americans, a show revolving around a pair of KGB agents (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) who pose as an average suburban couple living in Reagan-era America.
Americans was created by former CIA agent Joe Weisberg, who has previously written for the TNT alien invasion series Falling Skies and former FX legal drama Damages (which moved to Audience Network in 2010). Co-showrunners include Graham Yost – who developed the hit FX series Justified – as well as Falling Skies alum Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank and Katrin L. Goodson (Falling Grace).
Russell, of course, kicked her career as an adult female actor fully into gear with her starring role in J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves’ Felicity TV series, which ran from 1998-2002. She has since stuck mostly to dramatic roles in smaller films (passing over her brief appearance in Abrams’ Mission: Impossible III), but Americans sees Russell once again returning to her television roots – after her not-so-successful attempt with the short-lived Running Wilde.
The first trailer for Americans mixes some archival footage from the 1980s (plus a Ronald Reagan speech excerpt) with a rapid-fire montage of Russell and Rhys as highly-trained operatives attempting to navigate the web of fellow spies, enemies such as their FBI agent neighbor (Noah Emmerich), and the increasingly-thin line between their fake relationship and genuine intimacy between the two.
While the teaser allows all that to unfold in an intense and serious manner, we’ve speculated that the actual Americans show could also strike a darkly-comical tone at times (based on the contrivances of the setup). That it could combine satire and drama doesn’t look too far-fetched an assumption, given this series is premiering on the same channel that airs American Horror Story (among other convention-bending shows).
Look for the first season of The Americans to begin airing on FX in January 2013.