Brent Bozell wrote a column about the shows on FX where we as viewers root for the anti-heroes. In The Americans for example, I would be sympathetic as a viewer to the Russian spies and hope that they will accomplish their missions. I don’t have to agree with the views of Bozell or the views of TV guide. As an example, during the second episode of The Americans, one of the spies told the maid that if she didn’t plant a bug in Casper Weinberger’s office, then they would kill her son. At one point, they nearly did it. Then there was the third episode when they found out that one of the Russian spies married an an American and had a baby. By the end of the episode, the Russian spies promised to help the woman and her child after her husband was killed. In the end of the third episode, the mother was murdered and the baby would be brought back to Russia. Yet, as Bozell and TV Guide put it, I should be rooting for the Russians. To be quite frank, from the outset, I was rooting for the Americans and I hope they capture these spies. I don’t see why anyone else wouldn’t feel the same way. They’re not sympathetic characters.
Moving in to Season 2, the plot moved to where there was fake plans for propellers that was used by the Russians and hundreds of people were killed aboard a submarine. Now Kerri Russell and Matthew Rhys are out for revenge. Again, I'm not rooting for them.
I think you can say that this is the kind of show where there are a lot of characters with flaws. You have Noah Emmerich, who plays an FBI agent who is having an affair with a Russian spy and we know that he's being mislead but he's not a sympathetic character either. In addition, you see the Jennings daughter, Paige Jennings, who is going to church and we're wondering if she is going to be part of this religious cult. Her parents are upset that she gave them money. All in all, The Americans have characters in the show with flaws. I'm not sure of the history that's discussed here so I don't believe that at this point. But it's still an interesting show with memorable characters and a great plot. It's worth five stars. Ron Hummer