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Category:    Home > Reviews > Spy > Espionage > Thriller > Mystery > Cold War > Cable TV > The Americans - The Complete First Season (2013/Fox Blu-ray set)

The Americans - The Complete First Season (2013/Fox Blu-ray set)

Picture: B Sound: B Extras: A Episodes: B

The thirteen episode first season of Fox's The Americans is a tour de force of action and suspense. Focusing on two undercover Russian spies in 1980s Washington D.C., Phillip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) who on the surface seem like a normal everyday family with loving children are really plotting to bring down the American Government. As the show progresses so does the Cold War, and Philip and Elizabeth must do whatever it takes to succeed in their mission without blowing their cover.

Starting off Disc One is the Pilot episode where we are introduced to our characters and their mission. Tensions get thick when they get a new neighbor, Stan Beeman, who is also an FBI Agent. Episode 2 The Clock gives Philip and Elizabeth an urgent task to plan a bug in Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger's office. At the same time, their neighbor Stan is starting to realize that something is fishy about his neighbors.

Episode 3 is entitled Gregory, where Philip and Elizabeth discover that a mutual murdered colleague had a wife they never knew about. Meanwhile, their neighbor Stan Beeman is hot on their trail and close to uncovering their secret identities. In Control is Episode 4, when an assassin attempts to kill President Ronald Reagan. Philip and Elizabeth scramble to handle the fallout in the KGB while Stan pressures his source within the Rezidentura to find out if the KGB was involved in the failed attempt at killing the President. All in all, disc one sports four episodes are is a great hook into the series. The more familiarity you have with the time period and these events, the more you will enjoy it.

Episode 5, Comint brings us to disc two where Philip and Elizabeth are tasked with infiltrating the FBI's new communications encryption system. In this episode, they realize that being a spy isn't exactly a glorious walk in the park. Trust Me is Episode 6 where a mole hunt within the KGB causes suspicion amongst allies and shatters trust within the false marriage of Philip and Elizabeth.

Duty & Honor is Episode 7 where Phil is given a mission to discredit a Polish Pro-Democracy leader who ends up reunited Philip with an old flame. Mutually Assured Destruction ends out the disc with Philip and Elizabeth having to stop a pesky Assassin from killing key United States Scientists.

Disc Three ends out the season with Episode 9, Safe House, where Philip and Elizabeth are given a routine mission that goes horribly wrong and the FBI are stressed when one their own goes missing. And finally, Episode 10 Only You where Stan pushes a lead that links him to a member of Gregory's team and reignites a huge confliction between Philip and Elizabeth's relationship.

The 1080p high definition widescreen 1.78:1 image is crisp and clear and above standard for many new television shows. The English DTS-HD Master Audio (MA) 5.1 lossless mix intensifies your home surround system and pits you on the edge of your seat with our protagonists.

Special Features include Deleted Scenes, Commentary on The Colonel by Joseph Weisburg, Joel Fields and Noah Emmerich, Gag Reel, Executive Order 2579: Exploring the Americans, Perfecting the Art of Espionage, and Ingenuity Over Technology.

All in all, the show is full of cool action and great performances and is definitely worth a watch on Blu-ray. Fox has done a great job with this release and packaging and is a must see for fans of intense Political drama. The highlight of the show for me is Keri Russell's performance; she looks great on screen and it's nice to see her stepping back into the spotlight. Season Two of this show just started up in February on FX.

- James Lockhart


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