If you tune into FX on a regular or even just a casual basis, you have by now seen at least one of the handful of TV spots the network has stitched together to promote The Americans, their Cold War espionage period drama, after its successful debut season last year. What you haven’t seen, of course, is a set-in-stone launch date for the series’ second installment; each teaser for the show simply states that it’s coming in February, supplying no further information to allay fan anxieties over the Jennings family’s return to television.
Now, the day after Christmas, there’s good news for fans of The Americans: FX has announced that the program will beginning airing once again on Wednesday, February 26th, at the same 10PM ET/PT time slot as before. That’s a pretty nice little belated holiday gift for the many viewers who made The Americans such a hit during its maiden outing; now, at least, we know how much longer we have to wait before seeing the continuation of the unfolding drama between KGB sleeper agents Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Phillip (Matthew Rhys) as they struggle with their dual identities as American suburbanites and Russian spies.
That still leaves a lot to be desired in terms of plot details, obviously, but it’s better than nothing. If you followed along with the last season, then you’ve probably spent a lot of free time in the interim speculating on what directions the series might take following season one’s finale; if, on the other hand, you never got around to watching The Americans at all, well, you’ll have to stop reading here and content yourself by catching up on the narrative once the first season arrives on Blu-Ray and DVD January 14th.
What we do know for the time being is that all of the show’s major cast members will be returning. That list includes not only Rhys and Russell, but also Noah Emmerich, Holly Taylor, Keidrich Sellati, Annet Mahendru, Alison Wright, Margo Martindale, and Susan Misner. We also know that showrunner Joe Weisberg has moved a ton of pieces across the proverbial chessboard; Elizabeth and Phillip’s daughter Paige (Taylor) might be onto her parents’ double lives, Martha (Wright) has married Phillip (more like the other way around) and therefore put further strain on his marriage to Elizabeth, while FBI agent Stan Beeman’s (Emmerich) relationship to his informant, Nina (Mahendru), has grown more perilous following her decision to play double agent. (To say nothing of Beeman’s fracturing relationship with his wife.) Try saying all of that four times fast.
And that’s just scratching the surface. There’s a lot Weisberg can build off of to keep the plot moving from this point forward; the most significant challenge he has to contend with is figuring out how each of these relationships will evolve as these characters entangle themselves even more in the show’s many webs of intrigue. The best guess for now is that things are going to get much worse for the Jennings, their allies, and their enemies before anything gets better – if they get better at all.
We’ll see where The Americans goes this February. One final question hanging over its imminent air date: can the show top itself not only in terms of content and storytelling, but also in terms of ratings? The series premiere drew 5.1 million viewers, making in the most-watched drama premiere in FX’s history. Time will tell if season two has the muscle necessary to shatter that record.
The Americans premiers on FX on February 26th, 2014, 10PM PT/ET.